We are here in Niger awaiting the arrival of the film crew and had a couple of days so–hearing about a big Wodaabe festival, we decided to check it out. With our 20 man security team ahead and behind we arrived and actually found the festival. Fortunately many old friends were there–it was a Gerewol which is a beauty contest which the men, painted red and wearing ostrich plumes dance and show off. Two young women from the host lineage judge the most representative of classic Wodaabe beauty. There were four lineages present: Kabawa, Kassawsawa, Yamawa and Bikoroné. It was a gathering of about 3,000 people and 10,000 animals. All night the sounds of goats, camels, cows and crazed donkeys lulled us to sleep and woke us up.
Linda Lamb–here slaving away as a volunteer and helping me get ready for the arrival of the crew to follow–got a day of vacation–seeing the colorful dance–visiting the tents of the nomads and their displays of decorated beds and a useless piece of decoration known as a saga, in which they insert all kinds of sculptural elements that they fabricate and found objects like motorcycle parts, door knobs or chivas regal bottles. The most consistent criterea is that they sparkle.
Here is a bed decorated with mirrors. Linda Lamb watching the Gerewol.
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