L’enterrement

Less than 3 weeks until the engineers come home! Project wise we’ve run into a bit of a money problem, but hopefully we’ll still finish.

Friday night we threw a party to celebrate passing our halfway mark and invited the DukeEngage students over to our homestead. It also happened to be the eve of a funeral so around 9 pm (which feels like midnight in Togo) we heard  drumming in the distance and decided to follow the noise. Walking down the road, we found a small band consisting of drums, trumpets, and trombones encircled by a large group of people dancing in a sort of Congo line. It’s funny because here, the most avid dancers seem to be the frailest old ladies who just happen to know how to be the life of the party. Even though we were nervous at first, we were greeted very warmly and slowly danced our way around the musicians. The band played the same three notes over and over again but it was still really fun!

The next morning was much more somber and what you’d expect from a funeral. We attended the wake at the home of the woman who died and slowly followed the hearse carrying the casket to the church. It felt like the entire village had come to pay their respects and the atmosphere was heavy. But then we were invited by Henry (a fairly wealthy man who used to run the Peace Corps program) to a party that afternoon. Evidently, the woman who died was his mother’s co-wife and he brought us drinks and we danced some more. He also asked about our projects and appeared to be one of the few here who speaks English.

Overall this past Saturday was one of the liveliest that we’ve experienced yet.  Emotions fluctuated a lot but I think it’s interesting trying to learn about the community traditions with respectful curiosity instead of nosy tourism. I think my favorite part of this trip is getting to know who everybody is around me. Kabiye greetings are hard but it’s such a comforting feeling when you see a familiar face around the village.

Didn't matter what they played, just having the band there was great!
Didn’t matter what they played, just having the band there was great!
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L’enterrement

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