This is Soeur Emilie, my host mama in Daagbe. In the background is a hut that stores the red palm oil she makes. She’s amazing: treasurer of the PTA, distributor of drinks, maker of palm oil and sodabi, vendor of all sorts of goods and foods.
This is Grandma (maymay), Soeur Emilie’s mother. She was in a coma for three months. She is possibly the most awesome person I know, and is always, without fail, extremely glad to see me and greet me. She even learned “bonjour” and “merci” for me, which she proudly says every time we meet. I speak no Nagot so those two words and some broken greetings in Goun are our only communication. She might be my favorite person in village.
above: a fetiche, I think, with the gendarmes on Voodoo Day 2013. I have no idea what he represents.
above: some of the zangbetos on Voodoo Day 2013. This also gives an idea of the chaos that was the celebrations that day.
above 2 photos: Taking apart a zangbeto to demonstrate that there isn’t a person underneath.
above: flipping a zangbeto over to show that the only thing underneath is the mask, which is the physical representation of the spirit of the zangbeto. I think they recovered this one, then tipped it over again to show that the mask turned into a bird.
above: a traditional healer and dancer (man with no shirt) sitting on the lap of the King of the Tori people (point hat in the front row). I have no idea what this is all about, except that the king then gave the healer money, which makes it seem a little like a Vodun lap dance. If I had to guess I’d say this is the healer’s way of showing deference to the king and blessing him, and the money is to thank him.
above: some of the few female performers for Voodoo Day 2013.