by Jean Simmons, Diountou, Lelouma, Guinea
Each day my ears are filled with the musical laughter of children heading down to the river to bathe. "And wash your clothes, too!" a smiling mother calls after her running children, reminding them of their duties.
Here at the river, children gather to work. They wash their clothes by kneading them against large rocks that are nicely arranged to facilitate people scrubbing their clothes clean on the sandpaper surfaces. A quick wring and the clothes are hung to dry on surrounding tree branches or low bushes or are laid in grassy patches.
Starting on the second task of the trip to the river, the laughing children jump into the not-too-deep pond to bathe. Splashing, swimming, soaking, they only remember their chore when it is time to lather up with the locally made peanut-oil soap. Then, like little fish, they plunge again and come up, floating their way to cleanliness.
by Shad Engkilterra, Banko, Guinea
The scarcity of water makes it difficult for playing water games. When water is available, children splash through it and bathe.