I was celebrating Easter with my girlfriend, at her aunt’s house. Most of the people there were from Togo because she is from that country. The party had a lot of wonderful food and great African music. People were dancing, drinking and being merry.

I was speaking to a man from Sudan about several things. We were conversing in French and at one point a man in his fifties who was dressed in a beautiful colorful striped African shirt approached me and remarked that he was surprised I speak French. Well, I understand a lot more than I speak, I explained. I introduced myself and my girlfriend who was sitting next to me. I thought maybe they were relatives but they didn’t know each other despite the fact that this party was at her aunt’s. The man was pleasant. He was also surprised that my girlfriend is from Togo and he called me “Beau-frère.” In French it means “Brother-in-law.” The man from Sudan said it was a privilege to be referred this way by a stranger.  After greeting us he left us and joined the people he had come with to the party.

man playing percussion instrument

Photo by Craig Adderley on

Later on when we decided to go home and when we started to say our good-byes, this same African man came to bid us farewell. He was very polite and held my hand. Then he looked at my girl-friend and said: “This woman is my daughter. Please make sure you take good care of her. Take care of my daughter please. Treat her well. I trust that you will.”

I promised and assured him I would always treat her well. I thanked him for his concern. I was touched by this man’s good intentions and sense of fraternity towards his own kin.

Copyright © 2013 Jorge Luis Carbajosa

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