Rites of Passage

Next Time I be Naked Togo

Next Time I be Naked Togo
Kara Togo
July 8, 2007



I took this photo in a small village close to Kara, Togo. I was at one of the wrestling festivals of Evala and there were many girls walking around with just their bras on the top and a small skirt to cover the bottom.

This girl was announcing to the other people participating in the Evala festival that she would soon participate in Akpema.

I showed this photo to a Togo girl.

Blame it on the French, blame it on her English, blame it on something the Togo girl saw in the photo…

The Togo girls jumped up and screamed,

- NEXT TIME I BE NAKED! -

The girl squirmed, jumped up and down and started to dance, she pretended to be naked and climbing a mountain with a stick in her hand. I will never forget the smile on her face. She felt wonderful for this girl in the photo above, was very excited, and said again in broken English again.

- NEXT TIME I BE NAKED! -

I was rolling on the floor laughing and cannot type this without starting to laugh. This is not exactly what she meant, and for sure, anyone reading this is expecting a photo of a naked girl to happen. No photo is coming and there is not going to be any naked Togo girls shown on this page, or I do not anticipate this happening.

Akpema is the day a girls says to the word I am an adult woman, it is rites of passage, and it is a day a girls gets to say to the world,
- I am woman, look at me. -

Somewhere, somehow the Togo girls was saying, I want to scream, I am naked, I am a woman, I will be an adult, I will stop being a child and I am woman.

Said in broken English.

- NEXT TIME I BE NAKED! -

The Togo girls wrapped herself in the moment, for one second she was this girl in the photo and was sharing in the celebration of becoming a woman.

Next Time I be Naked Togo





Traveler’s Rites of Passage

Traveler’s Rites of Passage
Sikasso, Mali, West Africa
Thursday, September 20, 2007

I am drinking an ice-cold glass of fresh ground ginger mixed in water, and then frozen to slush. I am lying on the bed in this Hotel, not in the guidebook, and feeling a sense of Victory.

I was being cynical about the Hostel Fondation Charles Dunfour in Ouaga, Burkina Faso, and as I continue to focus with the hindsight zoom at maximum magnification, I think,
- I guess I enjoyed the place in a nostalgic sort of way. -

I thought about editing the post and adding the comment, you need to go stay there, say you love it, and understand, to live in this type of lodging is a,
- A Travelers Rites of Passage. -

I am not looking forward to it, however I know one day I will have both my backpacks stolen, another of them, it goes with the terrain situations, I guess I trudge forward, knowing this will happen, but not today.

Today is Victory

Maybe I could call these A Travelers Rites of Passage.

Leaving when told there is no way to leave.
- I got up this morning, on the road at sunrise, standing and waiting for my transportation to Mali. I asked two bus stations, about 10 people how to travel to Mali, they all told me the exact same advice, you must wait until 5:00 PM for the buses coming from Bobo. I defied all advice and what do you know I am in Sikasso, Mali about 12:00.

Riding in the back of Fruit Truck
- I got a ride from Orodara to the Border of Mali with about 20 other people in the back of a big truck loaded with assorted items, hover mostly lemon.

Having two big Border Guard take you in the back room
- I entered Mali and these two Border Guards take me to this back corner where I could not even see the Mali Visa stamp and proceeded to ask questions, nothing to do with crossing a border.
Guidebook Recommend out of the question hotel.

Taxi drops you off outside of city

I pulled into the Hotel, drank the water

Mosquito Net

Maggots in squat toilet

Scream in a foreign language and learn later you were saying the wrong words. Voler, then thinking did I say thief of flying.

Traveler’s Rites of Passage