Having finished the matrone training we got ready to go to a big Wodaabe festival. This was supposed to happen last year and got postponed, so I was anxious for the new team to see this remarkable thing. We had a morning to kill since it was windy and we knew the dancing would not start until just before sunset so we called out the beautician from Ingal. Henna is done for important parties–but most often for marriages. Since Becky was the only unmarried one of us, she got to be the “jeune marié” as all the crew stepped into our beauty parlor to check out the progress.
We got dressed up and were gorgeous with our henna and went to the Wodaabe festival only an hour away. It is usually so hard to find these festivals as they are not announced in advance, but Foudouk is a community we have worked with for years and they promised us. When we arrived there were lots of people, but no traditional dancing–mostly just groups sitting under tress discussing issues.
They promised dancing would begin in the morning. Sun up and the wind started to howl and still no dancing. We brought our contribution of 20 crates of pasta.The day wore on with promises of dancing in the evening. We sheltered in the meager shade as the wind blasted us with sand. We lay on our mattresses as the sand piled around us. A field of dunes (erg) begins when sand starts piling up around a small plant or other obstacle. It creates crescent shaped forms of sand known as barcane dunes. These are the beginnings of a grand erg which can extend for thousands of miles–the Sahara is made up of these. As the sand piled up around me, I imagined myself as the beginning of a barcane dune. The wind never died, the dancing never began and we decided to retreat to Tamesna a shelter for the night.
All dressed up and nowhere to go.