Posts Tagged ‘Photos
Last week marked the 14th edition of Dédougou’s FESTIMA (Festival International des Masques et des Arts de Dédougou). The event is held every two years and while there are other mask festivals around, FESTIMA is unique in that it shows off many different styles of masks all at the same time in the same place. Masks were mainly from Burkina, but groups from Benin, Togo, and Mali were also involved. Most of the spectators were from the immediate area, but the festival did draw some groups of international (mostly French) tourists.
Griots, along with other musicians, would bring the masks to life with their music – usually drums or a flute-type instrument. Each group, composed of griots, musicians, three to eight masks and a few others would perform at a time. Most masks represented animals while others represented spirits from the bush. It is said that once the performer dons his mask (women are not permitted to wear masks) he becomes the animal/spirit he is wearing. Locals told us that it often helps that the performer is a little tipsy.
Check out some of my favorite images from the festival below (and thanks to Hayley, who borrowed my camera for a few of these shots as I was trapped in the office during parts of the week). I’ll get some of the great video footage up once I get suitably fast internet.
Each Friday I’ll serve up a photo and give you the story behind it. This week a few girls from Ouahigouya show off their woman’s day outfits.
Yesterday was International Woman’s Day, an official holiday here in Burkina. Each year a traditional pagne (fabric) is released to commemorate the day, and a few girls I passed on the road relished in showing off their new outfits. For more on international woman’s day and women’s importance in microfinance, check out this great post on CGAP’s blog.
Each Friday I’ll serve up a photo and give you the story behind it. This week, Moringa Man and Woman take on malnutrition.
PCVs dressed up in costumes at last weekends softball tournament to promote the use of moringa. As you can see, a healthy dose of moringa powder gets rid of that pesky malnutrition.
What are moringa’s benefits, you ask?
“Moringa is one of the world’s most nutritious crops. Ounce for ounce, the leaves of moringa have more beta-carotene than carrots, more protein than peas, more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than milk, more potassium than bananas, and more iron than spinach.” -AVRDC
Remember last year’s softball tournament? Well, I headed back into Ouaga last weekend to help defend our title in the 2012 edition. Sadly, we lost in the championship game, but the tournament was a lot of fun. There’s no other event in Burkina that feels so American, and it was nice to feel at home again. Check out some photos from the weekend:
Each Friday I’ll serve up a photo and give you the story behind it. This week, a voodoo fetish under my neighbor’s front door.
My neighbor hasn’t been in town for sometime and has as placed this voodoo fetish under his front door to protect his home from theives while he is away. I think it’s a chicken, though I’m not sure. Either way, it’s a bit startling to look at and caught me off guard when a visiting friend pointed it out.
It’s often said that Burkina Faso is half Muslim, half Christian and 100% animist. As a result, despite all of the churches and mosques, it isn’t rare to see many Animist traditions on display (such as the sand reader I wrote about earlier). Voodoo fetishes can be found throughout Burkina’s markets, though here in Fada it’s the weekly Sunday cattle market where I’ve seen the largest collections of items such as dried dried chameleon bodies and an assortment of other unrecognizable (to me) bones. Apparently the practice is even wider in Ghana, Togo and Benin.
Each Friday I’ll serve up a photo and give you the story behind it. This week, latrine covers in waiting.
Improving sanitation by building latrines is an important and necessary task in developing countries. However, this particular project illustrates some of the standard problems in development work. Hundreds of latrine covers were made, but have not been used. Instead, for whatever reason implementation has been delayed and they have been sitting in this courtyard for months.
For more on why sanitation is so important, here are a few reasons from Robert Chambers.
…[S]anitation and hygiene matter much more than most people realise. Where they lack, the effects are horrendous. Faecally-related infections are many. Everyone has heard of the diarrhoeas and feels outrage at over 2 million children killed by diarrhoea each year. We hear about cholera outbreaks. But who hears about the guts of 1.5 billion people hosting greedy parasitic ascaris worms, about 740 million with hookworm voraciously devouring their blood, 200 million with debilitating schistosomiasis or 40 to 70 million with liverfluke? And what about hepatitis, giardia, tapeworms, typhoid, polio, trachoma…?
With my computer back up and running, let me catch you up on the last few weeks:
- New business and health PCVs swore-in at the Ambassador’s residence in Ouagadougou.
- For Christmas, most of the PCVs from the east – plus Chad, Tana and Celenia from the distant southwest – made it into Fada to celebrate. In all, a group of 16. I took a group to visit the sand reader, we had a great white elephant gift exchange (I ended up with nice coffee (thankfully not the fish bones or live chicken), and had a group sleep over at Luis’. Check out Chad’s recap for more details/photos (the below photo is courtesy of Chad as well).
- On Christmas Eve, we headed over to Fada’s youth center for performances by local kids (we even performed “Deck the Halls” for everyone).
- We roasted two pigs for Christmas dinner.
- After Christmas I made a trip to the north for Post-Christmas/New Years celebrations, seeing big groups of PCVs in Ouahigouya and Kaya (plus a quick visit to David’s village, pictured below).
I sadly didn’t take as many photos as I would have liked during the holidays. And though not having my computer (and forgetting my cell phone charger during my travels) resulted in me being out of touch for most of this time, I actually kind of enjoyed it. I had more and better conversations, read more, and took a break from my usual day-to-day routine. I’m planning on forcing myself to take some more technology breaks every now and again, though hopefully by choice rather than having any of my things break.
I recently ran a liquid soap training as a promotion for a friend who recently opened up his own soap supply store (more on this later). After borrowing a few materials (three buckets and a spatula), all that was left was to buy a little salt, a chemical called Tansigex and add some water.
The process is dead simple: 7.5L of water in bucket 1, 7.5L of water plus with 1kg of dissolved salt in bucket 2, and 1kg of the mysterious Tansigex in bucket 3. I’d love to tell you what Tansigex is exactly, but Google searches only brought up references to other Peace Corps Burkina Faso blogs (obviously we’re in a self-reference loop here). Then just whip the Tansigex and alternate adding a cup of salt and fresh water while continuing to stir. Let it sit overnight and the melange will result in ~13L of soap. If you choose, add colorant (we chose green) and a cap or two of perfume to make it smell nice.
Total material costs, including bottles, was 2,650 CFA (~$5.90). Since this was a promotion, we gave the soap made during the training to the ladies for free. When they sell the soap, total revenues will be between 4,000-5,000 CFA (~$8.90-11.10) depending on the mix of large and small bottles (small 0.5L bottles sell for 200 CFA and large 1.5L bottles for 500 CFA (~$0.45-1.10). Not a bad margin, and a great way to help prevent disease. Wash those hands people!
Last month, my buddy decided it was time to pop the question to his girlfriend. Little did I know that here in Burkina Faso it’s not as easy as just buying a ring, getting down on one knee and asking. Instead, a long series of events must take place, starting with some negotiations between the two families. Negotiations, that I was somewhat inexplicably asked to attend.
My friend’s family lives mostly in Niger, so he instead gathered up his cousin, two older gentlemen he called “uncles” and me (Burkinabé often call what we would call cousins “brother” and family friends “uncle”). We headed over not to the girl’s parent’s house, but instead to her grandparent’s house instead. Age carries a lot of weight here, and it is the family elders who decide such matters. In fact, at 28, I was at least ten years younger than anyone else at the meeting. Those who were only middle-aged mostly kept quiet, and I sat solemnly in place until told to take photos (maybe this is why I was asked to come?).
So what was being discussed? I’m not entirely sure actually since it was all done in local language, but thankfully they threw a few French words in here and there, and eventually numbers. Numbers, that I induced (and later confirmed) were in regards to the amount my friend should pay for a dowry. Unbeknownst to me until an hour into our discussion, at the other end of the family courtyard, a circle of women were having the same conversation. A male representative went over to solicit input at one point.
The conversation seemed serious, but was never contentious. I did my best to stifle a chuckle when one of the family members pulled out his cell phone to do some dowry-related calculations. It just so seemed out of place in what otherwise had a very old and traditional feel.
After another hour or so, an agreement was reached, and a huge bag of kola nuts and a few large denomination bills were slid over to the girl’s family. Success!