entourage

The village welcomed a new woman this past week. Her name is Yaba Senghor, a statuesque twenty-something beauty from Mbind Farba, a village not too far from us. The younger women (20’s-30s) here arranged to have an “o tess” which I though was sort of like bridesmaids, but it’s really more a group of women who identify themselves by generation…and getting the same outfit made. So the teenage girls o tess with their own fabric, as do the women in the bride and groom’s family respectively. These pictures are from the 2nd of the 4th day of the wedding festivities. The first day, we cooked lunch and dinner in preparation for a welcoming with a dance circle and dinner into the wee hours of the following morning. Most women were hoarse from yelling and singing. The second day we cooked lunch and dinner in preparation for the young women of the village to formally welcome the new bride with a dance circle and a dinner. The third day was recovering, and cooking lunch and dinner for the wedding party. The fourth day all the women of the village walked with the new bride (who held a rolled up floor mat on her head) out of her compound and we sang, and got on our knees in front of all the major compounds – calling out for the old (too old to cook, old) women to come dance. There was one particular tree we walked around, each time we came full circle we got down on our knees and then back up to circle around. After the tour of the village, we went to the women’s garden and circled around a well, singing and clapping into it. Slowly everyone changed into drabby clothes. I soon learned it was so that when they knelt in front of the well to get poured on (3 times), they wouldn’t mess up their nice complets and weaves. After the third pour of well water over their heads, they got up and danced in the drum circle. I participated, really more for the shock factor because everyone was telling me I shouldn’t get myself dirty. To which I replied fuck it and got a little wet, flashed a little leg…earned a little respect (I hope).

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