Baya (waistbeads)

In Attire
Relationship: Im/migrant

I was born and raised in Guinea, Conakry.  In 2008 political instability engulfed my native country and I moved to the states with my mother and my older brother. That same year, my grandmother died, and my family was left devastated.  I spent many of my summers vacationing on the countryside where my grandmother lived, and her house was the setting of many memories. Despite my unwavering love for my grandmother, I couldn’t bring myself to tears when she died.  As I grew older, I noticed that I was growing to big for the waist beads she gave me when I turned six years old and one day I tugged too hard on it and the string broke.  I was heartbroken, and refused to dispose of the only thing I had left of her.  Now I keep the waist beads in a grey box, and store it in my chest of other memorabilias.  Whenever I am feeling lost, or whenever I feel like I am losing sight of my goals, I grab the silver box and I cry.  I cry because I couldn’t before, and the sight of the white and brown beads crammed together bring back all the memories I thought were lost in the crevices of time.  The beads help me remember who I was before I lived in America, and they are the most precious thing I own. 

Place(s): Guinea
Year: 2008

– Saran Toure

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant