Because I'm cool like that...

The adventures of a knitter in Tucson, AZ.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Roots Tour 2008

Remember the book Roots? Kunta Kinte kidnapped and taken to America as a slave? Well, he was "taken" from The Gambia. So every 2 years, there is a Roots Festival here. This year the theme was "celebrating unity through culture" We started the day in Cristin's village, where we geared up. Dharma and Cristin modeling for us Then went to Cristin's village school. We were kidnapping the assistant headmaster to be our "Bumpster for the Day". While we waited for him, we decided to check out her school's library. Then we walked the 4km to the island After you go onto the island, there is a little park like thing with plants, and a statue of a kankurang... The safest way to see them, as a statue behing a fence. These guys get dressed up for ceremonies: cumcisions, etc. They walk around village at night with 2 machetes and scare off the witches and deamons and evil spirits who may try to hurt the participants while they are weak. Noone really knows for sure who is in the costume. They can be very dangerous because they are drugged and followed around by drummers. Between the drugs and the rythmic beating of the drum, they fall into a trance state and...well, your saftey cannot be garunteed if you meet one. So we hide in our houses when they are out. The outfits are traditionaly made of a certain type of bark, as seen above. Some have grass and leaves: "Modern" onee will be made out of rice bags: If you look past the kankurang there is a little Fulla boy dancing. Here is is later Me and Dharma with our "Bumpsters For The Day", the assistant headmaster from Cristin's school, and the head teacher from JJB Upper Basic School These are the little Fulla boys sitting waiting for their turn to dance. These are traditional costumes for their post-circumcision. I always feel sorry for these boys. They come back from the bush, all dressed up, and their fathers pick them up and parade around with the boys on their sholdres and everyone dances. They just got parts of their very sensitive anatomy cut off!! What if they don't want to dance?!? More Dancing The JJB Senior Secondary school band Some Serehule drummers A weding ceremony


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