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August 15 or 16, 2008 La Vie en Rose

The caid (mayor/governor of the region) has decreed that all buildings along the main drag of Berberville should be red. Some variety of red, anyway.

Since the color wasn’t specified beyond “red”, residents and local business owners are enjoying lots of latitude in their paint jobs. One or two buildings are actually what I’d call “red” at first glance, but the vast majority aren’t. Most of the buildings are becoming a shade of pink (since colored paint is expensive, and white paint is cheaper), from a buff sort of sand-dunes-at-sunset pink to deep coral to a straight up cotton-candy-baby-girl pink to a deep lipstick-y rose pink.

Adding to the color confusion is the fact that Tamazight doesn’t have a large color vocabulary. Red, blue, green, black, white…if you want anything else, you need to borrow a word from a different language. Usually Arabic, but sometimes French.

But the result of all this is that Berberville is sprucing up dramatically. Most of town used to be the color of the mud around here, for the very logical reason that most of the buildings are made of mud bricks. There are a few red brick buildings, which I assume don’t have to be painted, several pale yellow ones, and a handful of dark grey cement structures. I’m actually really fond of the dark grey. The exterior of my house is that color, and it makes me happy. But I live on the main street of town, which means that it’ll be coming up rose-y pretty soon.

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Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps