We are in the Ivory Coast and more precisely at Man, in all we spend 2 nights in this town and today is dedicated to the exploration of the surroundings.
This morning we went to see the liana bridge on the Cavally River, a sacred bridge for the Yacuba; while in the late afternoon we will go to see a dance of the Guéré, the last dance of this trip ... at the mere thought there is a bit of sadness.
So, to overcome the sadness for the journey that begins to turn towards the end, we decide to console ourselves by going to visit the stalls that are outside the hotel and of course we do shopping: we bought two wonderful Yacuba masks!
At 4:00pm we are ready to leave, we cross the town of Man and then take a dirt road; the village where we are heading is not far, but who would have found it without a local guide.
We arrive, we get off the car and we are surrounded by happy and festive people; everyone wants to get closer to us.
We walk part of the road, we cross the village and women, men and children follow us; the village is not traditional, but they explain to us that they have kept their beliefs and tribal rituals, even if they dress in the western way and some of them have smartphones.
They are less shy than the people we have found so far in the villages, perhaps because, living near a town, they are more accustomed to contact with other people than those of the village.
While they accompany us to the area where we will witness the dance, some women tell us some information on dance and mask, they speak good French and also understand English and so it is easier to communicate, they also seem happy that we want to know their culture and they tell us so many things.
While we wait for the beginning of the dance we chat with them and we take a selfie all together, it's fun and their welcome makes us feel at home.
At some point some musicians begin to beat, with each other and then on the ground, long white sticks, while others play pumpkins covered with shells or seeds.
This music is used to call the mask from the forest; In fact, the Guèré believe that the masks live in the forest, so when the village needs the intervention of a mask, they have to recall it with this music.
Some of them get up and walk along a path that directs right into the forest and invite us to follow them, we do not make them repeat it twice.
Some women, who have now become my friends, follow me and tell me what is happening; they tell me to be careful because the mask can touch men but not women, it would bring me bad luck, so I have to stay away from her.
Finally the mask arrives and, always at the rhythm of the music, she moves frantically, as if she was continually looking around and was alert for something; my friends tell me that she does so because she looks around to understand where the negative spirits are.
When the mask arrives in the square, enters a house, this is not a normal house, but it is where the mask rests when she is in the village; some men offer palm wine to drink.
After the mask has drunk she offers the wine to us, it's not bad but it's a bit strong for my taste.
When everyone drank palm wine, the musicians begin to play again to call the mask who, at a certain point, almost runs out of the sacred house; she starts to run around the square in a frantic way and looks around continuously while the musicians follow her, besides, next to her, there are always two men, they are two sorcerers.
At one point the mask takes all the sticks away from the musicians and starts to spin with all the sticks in her hands; this gesture represents the work of the mask against the enemies or against the evil spirits, her power disarms them.
After completing several laps with the sticks in her hands, she starts throwing them one by one, returning them to the musicians; symbolically she is arming her army to drive away evil enemies or spirits.
The sticks must be caught on the fly, otherwise it brings bad luck; at a certain point she throws a stick and no one manages to take it, the mask gets angry and begins to chase the men who have missed the grip.
At the end the mask calms down, still makes a few turns and then leaves towards the forest; in the village the order has been re-established and therefore her task is finished.
It was a very nice dance and made us feel very involved, also the people of the village were so hospitable and friendly; when the dance ends we stop to joke with some of them and take pictures but then we have to go, but not without some selfies with our friends who are too much shampooerswith colored hair and heavy make-up.
Back to our car and back to the hotel, where we relax and have dinner by the pool; even today was an incredible day.