Festival des Divinites Noire!

I definitely don’t post enough.  The real problem with posting is that Africa gets kind of boring quickly.  Once you’re used to seeing goats in the road and getting called “chef” or “patron,” it’s hard to find motivation to blog.  And it’s not like I can post about work, because it’s mostly either 1) boring, 2) sensitive, or 3) both.    The most interesting things I’m doing these days probably are the speeches I’m giving, in front of NGOs, students, and religious groups.  But that’s interesting to me because it’s usually a good chance to stretch my French ability.  Not sure who else would care.

However, today I have something worth posting about!  The Teacher and I went out of Lome to the little town of Glidji for a traditional Vodun ceremony, “The Festival of the Black Gods.”  It was definitely worth sharing!

It was a good hour and a half away, along the ocean, so I first snapped a few pics of the beach.

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As with all ceremonies in Togo, it was about an hour late getting started. But it got off to a great start!

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Those are the “divinities” in the title, I think.  And I’m not sure the pictures (taken by a complete amateur from the second row) do any justice to the people, especially as they danced.  It was amazing.

This was followed by the traditional speeches, mostly thanking all of those who had helped make everything happen.  Ministers, NGOs, and corporate sponsors. (Yes, this Vodun festival had corporate sponsors.  Welcome to Togo!)

Next came stilt-walkers!

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After that, there was much more dancing.

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These dancers again represented divinities, though I’m not sure which ones.

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These little girls were so adorable.  Some were probably as young as 4, but danced with perfect grace and rhythm.  Unfortunately, people’s heads kept getting in the way of pictures, and so this is the best one I have.  They seemed to be in training to be initiates, and they were just before the women.

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We had to leave a little early, because we needed to be back in Lome be fore sundown (a safety precaution repeatedly insisted upon by our Security Officers, with whom I will not argue).  So, Teacher didn’t get to see the horned dancers  from Bassar (who were in the back of the line this time).  However, she agreed that the trip was definitely worth it, even if it did give her a migraine.  (Too much sound and stimulation.)

When we got home, we had some food delivered and just chilled.  Tomorrow, I give another speech, and Monday the work week begins anew.

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