Everyday Art: Swept Yards

Every morning, my brother, who is a Peace Corps Trainee in Malawi, sweeps his host family’s yard. “The yard is a semi-public space,” he tells me. “Anyone can come in as long as they announce themselves.” But what’s up with the sweeping? I ask. Why not just plant the yard? The yard already contains a separate garden, he explains, but it’s important to sweep because of “the pattern it [sweeping] leaves. Gotta have the yard looking nice.”

Chicken in a yard
Yard patterns (and bonus chicken) in Malawi. Photo courtesy of Calvin Zehnder.

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