A few weeks into my stay in Senegal and I’ve really mastered the art of a well tucked mosquito net (after waking up with a cockroach on your head you really up your game).
Sleep is my holy grail here in Senegal. I consider myself not a squeamish character, so voluminous presence of insects doesn’t irk me much. But I’m unexpectedly disturbed by the constant noise of the city. Unfortunately I underestimate the impact of the nightly calls the pray, the chatter of the fruit sellers and the late night singing practice. After a month, my hopes of becoming accustomed to the noise are growing dimmer.
Luckily I find solace on roof of WAAW, laying on the concrete, watching ospreys and swallows circle above, the open skies comfort me.
Here, reading in the evening light, I’ve been following up on notes of the river goddess Mama Coumba Bang, collected from the residents of Saint Louis.
They are white, for luck
Curdled milk – lait caille. crushed millet – bouillie de mil. sugar, kola nuts, sheep or goat milk, silver coins. Commonest is laax – mixture of curdled milk crushed and millet.
offering cow or sheep, cut in half. the first half is divided into 30 pieces. 15 for sea, 15 for river. 2nd half is given to impoverished. white ox is the ideal sacrifice
be quiet on way and way back from giving her offerings
a young inexperienced girl makes an offering before rainy season. she takes a pirogue to centre of the river, women sing the entire time.
Her domain – neeg:
‘just along the river on the area on the north end of the island from the Pont Faidherbe to the crane made in colonial times’
next to the bridge ‘waxande MCB – MCB armoir
Small grove on next island next to the crane is ‘son salon’ ‘her living room’
Her sister ‘ mame cantaye’ guardian for the langue de barbarie.
well before sunrise she sits at the edge of the river to get fresh air
times of day – njoloor (noon to 3pm) timis ‘twilight to 2am’ the spirits come out.
comes out end of the rainy season.
‘put red powder around your eyes in order to see Mame Coumba Bang’
I have a lot more research to do on Mame Coumba Bang, but what I’ve discovered so far is already providing a wealth of inspiration for my practice. Ideas for my own interpretations are beginning to fester in my (sleep deprived) mind.