Happy new year to all family and friends back home (and everywhere, now that I'm writing in English for once). I hope you had a great celebration and that 2011 started off well. Here in Burkina Faso it couldn't have started better. For Christmas and New Years it was a lot of white people around for a festival of storytelling. It took place at the center but I didn't participate very much. Some of the storytelling was awesome though, I wish we had the same tradition in Sweden. And every evening there was music and lots of people at "my" courtyard.
One of all these "tobabo" (white people) was Guillaume from Belgium who stayed at the center for a few days and the first time I saw him he invited us for some real chocolate and it was like gold in my mouth. Wowowow. We got to talk and he invited me to go with his friend Oumar to a village to meet his family and just to see the countryside in Burkina a bit. The first of January we set of, after few hours sleep. We stopped at the waterfalls in Banfora and had a really nice swim and a pineapple. One thing I enjoy with waterfalls is that somehow you always have fun in them. When we got on the road again we had to take a detour around a broken bridge on a road that was really dusty and not in a very good condition. On the way we visited Oumars sister who had two brand new twins. She didn't know it was twins until they both came out. Imagine that! Expecting one baby and getting one extra as a surprise. She was overwhelmed with joy and cried happytears. And even though they weren't older than three weeks, they were already circumciced... Hm, what do we think about that where I come from?
On the way we passed by the peaks of Sindou which is a popular touristspot. It's an area with big, red stone pillars that make a powerful and beautiful sight. Guillaume and I were sticking out heads out the windows and enjoing the ride and the pure air out of the dusty Bobo. In Sindou the road was blocked by a party celebrating a wedding. It was colourful women singing and dancing and some djembe playing men who escorted the covered bride to her future home. We stopped and watched curiously and I was pulled in to the crowds to dance a bit. The women sang really nice and I would have loved to stay a bit longer but we had to continue.
We drove and drove, enjoying the views and listening to Oumars two CD's with Burkinabée griot style music. I can't explain it, but it's nothing like we listen to in Sweden... Finally we arrived and went straight to the chief to pay a respectful visit. We where to present ourselves and say why we had come and that we vere happy to be there. The chief was actually Oumars father so we even stayed on the same compound as him. We were given a shower and dinner and a woman invited us for wine and almost raw chicken at a neighbours house. After discussing todays adventures under the extremely starry sky we got some well needed sleep.
The next day we had riceporrige for breakfast and headed off for a mountain really close to the border to both Ivory coast and Mali, where Oumar said there where huts on the top. I didn't really get why that would be more interesting than huts on normal sea level, but you can always enjoy a good view, right? Turns out when we get up there that it's almost the same thing as so many tourists go to Dogon country in Mali to see, just less touristy. And more genuine somehow. It was really spectacular. The people living there just left 30 years ago. The huts were really tiny and sometimes divided with a wall to separate the sleepingroom and the kitchen. There was a medicinman and a hut were the women could have their babys. Once there was a war lord who came to kill them all, but his horse couldn't climb the mountain and they defended themselves by rolling down big rocks on him, till he gave up and fled.
Back in Oumars village we were given lunch, rice and sesamsoup wich was really good and we took a tour around the village. At a field, close to the mosque we saw some big white balls of... Eh, whatever can it be? It's not snow, thats for sure. When we got there I had to restrain myself not to throw myself in to the masses of cotton. I was waiting for Super Mario to come bouncing on the gigantic cushions, but in vain. Maybe he only does it when nobody is watching.
We kept on walking and met a balafonist with a thingy. You know the portable microphone, in which he anounced a meeting to discuss the problem with the donkeys eating their crops. Then Oumar told us this is where they make the bread. It was a big oven made of the traditional clay, the same the make the huts with. Inside was simply a fire to the left and bread on pieces of black painted korrugated steel to the right. It was awesome to see and as if it wasn't enough they gave us two freashly made bread to taste. It was sooo good and one of my most precious moments from the trip. Magical.
In the evening Oumar had arranged for some musicians to come and play and he even bought a new light to attatch to a car battery for the occation. There is no electricity in the village, but some villagers have solar power to charge the battery that will give some light during the evening. Oumar danced till he was dripping with sweat and me and Guillaume didn't feel so inclined... But the villagers were all happy and Guillaume tryed to mix in some sax among the balaphones and djembes to Oumars great joy. Another starry night and we went to bed very happy with this day as well.
Next morning was returning-to-bobo-day and since I woke up a bit early and there was no sign of Oumar I went for a walk in the morning. Everybody wished me a good morning and wondered how my family was doing. I told them you're fine, hope I didn't lie? I passed by women with heavy bowls of water on their heads and walked with some of them and came to a river. There is water in the village, but for washing clothes and stuff you don't need so fancy, clean water. I crossed the river on a scary bridge and went a bit out in the bush before two girls called for me to walk back with them. Leaving them at their homes I talked to some friendly villagers and continued back. After scarying the neighbours daughter with my wierd white skin and another little boy just minutes after I and Guillaume had porrige and home grown papaya and sent a kid to buy bread and we ate a propre breakfast.
I tried to play Gui's saxophone with a big crowd of curious children peeking in through the door and we got to see how they make soap out off "beurre de karité" (a nice price awaits whoever knows what that is in swedish, I only know it's good for almost everything). Then we started our journey back. Everything went allright until all off a sudden a big big whole in the tar road appeared and the sound of a flat wheel silenced us. Crap. Out we go and the wheel is absolutely crushed. Luckily Oumars extra tire was in good shape, so we changed and continued but with the knowledge of having to pay 40 000 (like four months sallery for someone working in a small café) for a reparation of the broken tire.
All in all the trip was amazing and I had a lot of fun with Guillaume (who speaks English) and Oumar. And it's really nice to get out of the city sometimes. When I came back "home" the festival had ended and a familiar scream of horror fills the air every now and then. I asked someone if somebody bought a donkey, but apparently he just came back from the forrest where they usually keep him. The always fascinate me with their bizarre sound and now I can hear it more often... Welcome Donkey.
Enjoy life back home and as a friend in Senegal says - Take care of the you!