||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.
||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. 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.
||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,
||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, 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
||Bandiagara Escarpment. Returning towards Dourou from Nombori, through a
crag in the escarpment.
||Bandiagara Escarpment. Looking up the stone steps through the escarpment
||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.
||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.