Friday, February 17, 2012

I was touched to be invited to certain Maoloud events this year.
Three different invitations arrived from various Djenné families that organized Koran reading in their neighbourhoods. Ace told me this was quite an honour, and that it means that I am now accepted as a member of Djenné society finally.
The problem was that I could only see a vast expanse of men- all the Marabouts of Djenné- sitting on mats and chanting verses from the Koran when I arrived at the first event. I therefore chickened out and went home.
But last night I took courage again, and arrived, clutching my invitation, at the house of the family Toumagnan deep in the Youbocaina neighbourhood behind the Great Mosque. I was kindly received and told to go up on the mud roof to view the event with the rest of the women.
I now found myself at the epicentre of the melodious and rhythmic chanting which always reaches me from Djenne during Maoloud: the voices of a hundred Marabouts and their Talibés chanting the announcement of the Birth of the Prophet Mohammed. I let myself be seduced for a moment by the strength of it all: the sound, the unquestioning certainty of belief, the feeling that time has stood still here for near a thousand years…


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