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Places 2
sheep_home-sm.jpg Tidjani bought a sheep for the feast of Ramadan, to celebrate the end of the fast which takes place around February. This is about one-half of the yard in Bandiagara. Under the tree is a water urn, with plastic drinking cups; in front an old car battery used to power a radio or cassette player in leisure time.
waterfall-sm.jpg A secluded waterfall and sand-bottom pool between the Dogon villages of Dourou and Gimini in the fifth region of Mali, West Africa. The stream falls from half-way up a 700-meter cliff into the pool where a large camain lizard makes his home (not pictured, but under a rock to the left).
Dourou-sm.jpg Dourou. Thatched-roofed granaries, walled footpaths and yards, stone and mud-brick houses, and the rock slabs and sand valleys that make walking about town tricky for the uninitiated.
TougouNa-sm.jpg Bandiagara. Togou na: one of the original base-camps for the Dogon settler-hunters. With inside ceilings about waist-high, and millet stalks staked annually as a remembrance, the togou is a Dogon meeting house, where elder men would sit and have discussions. Although only men meet there to talk, the name "togou na" suggests the "original, mother-of-all" togou.
BaobabTree-sm.jpg Dourou. A baobab tree near a well. The baobab is a meeting-place, symbolic of the exchange of ideas and opinions. I met an old Dogon woman at this well and drew enough water for her to fill a large metal washing tub. Although she was as grateful as she was surprised a "pilli" could and would draw water, she refused to let me take her picture. Some Dogon exchange their reluctance for having their picture taken for money. When my request was denied, I simply accepted, and took this picture.
Nombori-sm.jpg Nombori, at the foot of the Bandiagara Escarpment. Houses and granaries are built right up to the cliff base. As we left the day of baptismal feasting, we could see evidence of the cliff-side caves which the Dogon used for burial sites. The Tellem, who used the caves before the Dogon, are said to have had chants which gave them spider-like abilities to gain access to the caves. Among the animist Dogon, respects are still paid to the spirits of the Tellem as an atonement, to make peace with the conquered predecessors.
Escarpment2-sm.jpg Bandiagara Escarpment. Returning towards Dourou from Nombori, through a crag in the escarpment.
StoneSteps-sm.jpg Bandiagara Escarpment. Looking up the stone steps through the escarpment from Nombori.
Ladder-sm.jpg Bandiagara Escarpment, Nombori - Dourou. Throughout the escarpment there are tree-trunk ladders carved by the Dogon. Sure footing and a balanced load is essential. I had the luxury of travelling very light, and went barefoot. Some women carry 150-pound cargoes on their heads while negotiating the escarpment trails. Another ladder, on the way to Gimini, was very old, smooth and considered dangerous. So, a new one had been carved and replaced the old one. Soon after, the old one was back in place and the new one cast off down the cliff-side. The old ladder was let to stand.
market-sm.jpg The twice-weekly market in Bandiagara brings merchants from neighbouring villages from as far as 35 kilometers by donkey-cart, and even 20 km on foot. This is a principle intersection in town, as is shown by the meeting of streets, power lines and the main sewer for the market quarter. Women are by far the majority of sellers in the market, and girls begin young, learning to sell wares from bowls, buckets and baskets carried on their head.