In August I ordered 100 small, wooden, hand carved spoons from Amadou; a basket, spoon, and shoe vendor in the market. I gave him a prototype and told him he could choose a design to burn on the handles. I intend to glue a magnet to the back of each spoon and give them to friends to hang on their fridges as a reminder to pray for us.
When we returned from our travels in late October, I went to the market to pick up the spoons. Since David had never met Amadou, he came with me. When we arrived at his booth, Amadou greeted us warmly, sliding over on his small bench so we could sit down. He was very happy to meet David and pulled out two tiny spoons he had carved with our initials on them; ‘B’ for Bella and ‘D’ for Daawuuda, our Fulbe names. They were really nice gifts that he took a lot of time making. As is culturally appropriate, we thanked him profusely and began counting out our 100 wooden spoons from a bag he retrieved from far under his dark booth.
As I began to count, Amadou gave David another gift; a hand woven, grass trivet that read “Daouda love Bela.” Again we exclaimed how kind it was of him to make such a wonderful gift for us. It really was touching. I continued counting.
Before David had time to hand me the trivet, Amadou pulled out the nicest pair of goat skin and tire- tread- soled shoes I have ever seen. Amadou said the shoes were a gift for me. David exclaimed, “Wow! You’re giving us a lot of gifts today!” Amadou explained that the last time he saw me; he looked at my feet and wanted to make me a pair of shoes. I tried them on. Of course, they were a perfect fit.
I was so very blessed by his no-strings-attached generosity. Amadou generously gave out of his talents to show his appreciation of our friendship. I wondered what we had to offer him. I didn’t buy any gifts in either France or Ghana to share with friends like Amadou. What could we give that would match his extravagance? When I returned home, I wrapped a Pular New Testament. I’ll give it to him the next time I go the market. I’m sure Amadou’s gifts to us cost far more than our gift to him, but ours has an eternal value to which no pair of shoes can compare.