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,


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.


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.


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

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