Bobo-Dioulasso is a city famous for being the cultural city of Burkina Faso with a lively art and concert scene and a beautiful old mosque built in Sudano-Sahelian architectural style just like the famous one in Timbuktu. It was all built only by clay and sticks in the 19th century and is the biggest clay mosque in the country. Entering it costs about one and a half euro which included a guided tour through it and up on top of its roof.
Except for staying five days in jail, the highlight was seeing the mask dances that the region is famous for. On Saturday evening there was one in the city center where the dancers wore suits made out of straws and danced around drunk of millet beer to chase evil spirits away from some elder who had recently passed away. This was our first meeting with the Animist culture that West Africa is famous for and it left me and Travis an urge to see more so we stayed behind to see another mask funeral ceremony that would happen in a village called Niamadougou the following weekend.
We rented scooters together with some Belgians staying at the same Auberge as us and took off early in the morning. An hour later we followed some shady roads down to the village of Niamadougou where we could hear the familiar sound of flutes and drums as we had heard at the mask ceremony the weekend before. The Belgians having lived in Burkina Faso for three months already, explained that we should first ask to meet the chief to ask for permission and that we should follow certain rules of not wearing red (which was the chief color) and that we should sit on gender specific chairs/benches (two legs meant girls, three legs meant boys). As we got there the chief was very welcoming and explained the traditional to us over a few millet beers. He then got someone to bring us some benches that he placed in terms front of the big crowd that had gathered around the dancers so that we would have the best view. It was much a much more wild and intimate experience than we could have hoped for. The dancers were jumping doing flips, spinning their heavy masks and kicking and whipping in the air, sometimes hitting the people who watched. Animist culture rocks!