when the dispersed maintain community through memories of place, when people move but find that they cannot stop moving
In Kenya a community of Digiri known for hunting begin living among pastoralist Maasai. They adopt agriculture and lose the mobility of their ancestors. Christian missions come to teach morality, NGOs preach gender equality, schools say give us your children and they will prosper. As they stop moving men and women take on distinct roles tilling the land, an elite few emerge to extract resources from those who harvest, a new social order takes hold.
The Wolof migrants from Senegal come to Europe for a better life, for adventure, or just because. Some don’t want to return to the old colonial power of France, so they turn their vision toward Spain instead. When they try to settle, to stop moving, they are denied papers. Selling on the streets, like their extended families of Wolof merchants in Senegal and now in Spain, they draw up the cords of their white blankets when they see police, pick up loose sunglasses and bags. They descend underground and ride line 1 to ascend new streets. They keep moving.
For the Skolt Sámi, relocating from the Kola Peninsula to foreign forests felt like the only way. So their children grew up speaking Finnish, went to state boarding schools. Then the roads were built south and the children followed. Now the people who live along those northern roads, they carve the forests into boats, the same boats as in Kola. They peel backyard pine to eat the inner bark, not because they are hungry, but because they want to survive. To nourish rootedness through movement.