It is an honour and privilege to introduce my friend and colleagues Daouda Maureen Keita(Da-ow-da More-een Kay-ta). This loveable charachter was an agent on the first team that I helped to supervise in Dialakoroba (one of the zones myAgro works in). Since working with him as an agent I have watched him grow professionally and personally to be a stellar agent and a reliable field supervisor. He’s good at what he does and he does it with a lot of heart.
A few weeks ago I went to our zones weekly meeting . As we were waiting to get started Daouda and a few other colleagues were talking about middle names. Largely a foreign concept, I explained that a lot of North Americans have at least three names and sometimes up to five; first, middle, and family name (and in some cases an extra middle name and a hyphenated last name). Daouda, like most Malians, officially only has two names – their first name and family name. After explaining the difference of naming between Mali and North America Daouda said “I want a middle name too then.”
To which I replied “Malians have only two official names but you guys give lots of nicknames just pick your favourite nickname and put it in the middle.”
“Well, what’s your middle name?”
“Maureen. Krystal Maureen Muise”
“Oh I see” he says. “Well if your middle name is Maureen I will also be Maureen”
“You want to be Daouda Maureen Keita?
Without hesitation he said “yes. I want to be Daouda Maureen Keita. If that’s ok with you?”
“Of course you crazy man! By all means you can be Daouda Maureem Muise, but just know that I probably won’t be able to say your name without laughing just a little bit.”
“Yes. I will be Daouda Maureen Keita”
So now this close to six feet tall, kind, teddy bear like Malian man is running around the country claiming my middle name as his own. Hilarious and touching all at the same time.