Goumori Revisited

Although Christoph is working in Parakou and Guida is studying in Cotonou, we spent some time last week back in Goumori, visiting friends in the region’s Fulani camps.

One of our favorite camps is about 10km north of Goumori, where Bouraima and his family live.

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Because we’re in the heart of dry season, most of Bouraima’s sons have departed with his herd of 170 cattle to find adequate grazing.  This year, they travelled about 200km towards the mountainous Atacora region where there is more greenery.  They’ll return in about three months when the rains fall.

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Bouraima welcomed us with three cups of tea, as per tradition.  This strong sugary green tea, known locally as atai, packs quite a punch.  Good thing it’s sipped from small shot glasses.

The kids are always curious about the camera:

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and what beautiful children he has:

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The little guys chased down a chicken for us,

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while the girls fetched water.

The local community pitched in last year to install a water pump.  Now they have access to clean water year-round, only 2km from the camp.

We also stopped by to visit one of Guida’s cousins, who recounted his experience of visiting Mecca several years ago.

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He sold 10 cattle to pay the 3 million CFA (~$6000) it cost to fly to Saudia Arabia for his holy pilgrimage.  He enjoyed flying on the airplane, and said the food was pretty good, except for the milk.  Nothing compares to fresh Fulani milk.

We were fortunate to pass through Goumori on market day.  These guys study in a Muslim Koranic school, but on market day they seek alms from market-goers.  In theory, this teaches the young scholars the virtue of humility.



The teenagers dress in their finest for market day:



the facial tatoos in Goumori are particularly striking



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