An incredibly funny viral video that I have seen on as I pass two TV screens on the road (if they have them, people set up their TVs outside at night) and have been shown on two peoples phones. A clip of a genie from Benin. It is the least realistic thing I have ever seen. A plastic snake body with a really creepy blondhaired monsterface babydoll perched in the center of the snakes coils. This is supposed to be the snakes head. The baby doll is battery powered or something because it is making small circular movements. The soundtrack is a continuous wail that sounds like a pig being killed. My friend Yanik told me he didnt want to put it into his phone because he didnt want the Genie to live in there. This is a generally smart and educated person, who isnt usually superstitious. Sada, one of the boys who works with me laughed at me when I said I didn’t believe that is was a genie. “You dont know Africa!” He said. “Benin is crazy. It is real.”
Another funny tale about magic. I bought a little iron ring from a fulani lady that sells magical things. I have been wearing it on my pointer finger. People usually wear them to protect themselves from magic. If you ever see an African president on TV, try to get a look at his hands. Every political person, chief, and pretty much anyone who is rich has a lot of rings, at least that I have seen.
Anyways, A friend just told me that if you wear a ring like that on your pointer finger while your mother is still alive, when you point at people, they will die. Oopsy daisy. I thought I was protecting myself but I was haphazardly dooming everyone around me.
I found a Ngoni teacher! He is really good, not a stoned lying rasta but a real griot, and I am going to take a class with him 4 times a week. Not to brag, I am really good for being a first time ngoni player. And I am a bit obsessed as well, which helps one learn. Amadou(my ngoni teacher) took my ngoni to change some things on it, apparently the guy who made it screwed up a couple parts, which is why it loses tune so fast. While it is gone I am plucking at the invisable air, trying not to forget the little songs I am learning.
Last night I went to a traditional music concert, and watched some incredible leaping woman throw their arms and legs around at collassel speeds, while four men went off on the djembes. The drummers sort of call the dancers up one at a time, by rapping on their djembes and looking at the dancers pointedly. I of course got called up, and danced my heart out, though I cant move my feet or arms in anyway as fast of the other women who took turns. Call me a hippy, but there is nothing that makes me happier then dancing to djembes and wooden xylaphones.
I am buying a painting today. I havent ever bought art in my life, but as I have gotten so much support for my art making in the last two years, I feel that I can pass on the support. I am buying a Vivian Tapsoba, for $110.00. Vivian is my oldest friend in Ouaga, and I think his art is magnificent. When It is in my room, I will take a picture of it.
Yesterday, I was sitting in my room, with my sander, trying to grind down the sides of a Boabob fruit seedpod. I am attaching it to a sculpture of a woman with her hands on her head. While I was sitting there, I zoomed out for a moment, looked in at my life from the outside. There is nowhere I would rather be. Africa is a challange in a million ways, downright infuriating, but I have set up my life in a way that I love, doing things I want to do. Life is good.