Sahel Christmas with Muslim flipfloppers who will change religions for the party

Christmas was a party all around in Ouagadougoe. I think its about 60 percent muslim, 40 percent catholic in Ouaga, but everyone actually will participate in any religous holiday as long as its a party. Actually, being somewhere inbetween christian Ghana and muslim Mali as refreshing. People really dont care what religion you are. People like it if you have a religion, but which one isnt really important. And everyone likes christmas.
I was trundled around to friends houses and fed mountains of cooscoos and salad. By the end of the night, I was too full and sleepy, but I had promised one of the boys who works at my forge to go out dancing, because he told me he wont drink dolo (local beer) as he is a muslim, but beer is okey. The scene was pretty dressed up and drunk in the dance club. While riding the moto (vespa) home we passed many speakers set up outside, playing  MC Hammer, local Burkina music and Acon. Little kids were dancing in the street. Theres is this amazing dance that people do to a certain genra of music. It is a crazy wobbly knee dance that is indescribable and hard to repeat.

The day after Christmas, I woke up late, got started late, and mostly tried to get more information about magic out of Omar, the chatterbox who works at the forge. Some people are tightlipped about magic, but Omar will talk about anything and is therefor the perfect person to grill. The conversation started because I am obsessed by the idea that I could get a puppy here. It takes up about 20% of my thoughts. I was making a bronze cat and asked the word for cat in Mossy, the most common language here, (it is somthing like oanji, and is also the word for bellybutten.)  I said that if I got a dog here, I would name it that. Omar said dont to that, the people might be mad, because people are sometimes named that. I asked why, and he said that if you have a child, and you have ever killed a cat,(not to eat, but just to do it) then your child will die unless you name it cat. So there are people named cat, and I shouldnt name a dog that. The conversation continued to the paranoia people live in all the time because of fear of magic. It is a constant here. There are a lot of things that are signs of magic, including wanting to talk about magic. Omar drew a diagram of what happens to you if someone does magic on you. He drew two cups of water. He wrote the word “Luck” in the middle and drew arrows indicating that the luck in one persons cup goes into the other persons. You know if someone has done magic on you if all your luck goes away.

The second fire is done, and 8 more pieces await sanding and the patina. I am moving along, though it is slow, I am really excited about this batch of pieces, as it is really influenced by masks and patterns in west african art.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Sahel Christmas with Muslim flipfloppers who will change religions for the party

  1. Brett Poirier

    I love reading about the colorful cast of characters that are part of your everyday life there. Keep these letters coming as time allows! Also am enjoying the photos of the people and of your inspired works there. Be well!

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