Boukombe Boukoumbe Benin Boukombe Benin West Africa Sunday, October 1, 2006
I am going at 10:30 with a Peace Corps Volunteer; to see what I think is called a Tata. It is the typical home around the village of Boukombe or Boukombe Benin. I have seen it spelled two ways, and both were government signs…. Hehehe
The name is not so important, and for sure Boukombe is NOT Somba. It is a more modern Christian - Islamic Village and with lot of beer for sale in the many Buvettes.
Maybe it the Betamaribe or Tamberma ethnic groups
ENCYCLOPEDIA QUOTE: - Among the best known of the traditional western savanna arts are those of the Dogon, Bambara, Mossi, Bobo, and Tamberma. These groups live in the dry, grassy plains of the West African interior. The Dogon are one of the most isolated of these peoples. -
What is happening, is as you go north in Benin or Togo or Ghana or whatever the land goes from more or less a wet dense grass or jungle to a more dry, yet rainy season type land area. This may be called a Savanna; however, this is over-simplified and depends on water, and elevations and such.
There is the word Jungle or Brush, Bush, or whatever, there is not much Jungle to be seen as the lumber industry has cut most of the trees, and 95 percent of cooking is down by cutting the trees and making charcoal.
Hard to find a dense forest or jungle. Therefore, you sort of leave the Savannas of the south, formerly a Jungle and go to the Savannas of the north. The type of living or homes change as is normal and there are different types of homes.
Clay is abundant and trees become more difficult to find.
My Lonely Planet says the Somba people build their homes in the middle of the fields. This is correct, however, so does an Indiana Farmers build his home in the middle of the fields. In fact, almost every farmer on the planet builds their homes in the middle of their fields.
What is difficult for men to figure out is water. Water is what you need for a home, to have home spread out in Indiana, they were able to go less than say 50 feet down and hit water.
There is a deep well in Boukombe.
This well has a larger than normal bucket and two handles. A person will get on both side and crank the handles. This would probably be free water, I think.
There are water meters in Boukombe, Benin
Water meters or paying for Water, Gas, and Electricity is not fun for people, there are people that can afford to pay and others that cannot. The good part is the country by economy of scale gets paid, and can make the water cleaner. Control or stop people from drinking any and all water.
Taxes are the first problem a country needs to collect taxes to the infrastructure good. Difficult to do, collect taxes.
So the put a toll gate to build the road. They put a meter to collect gas, electricity and water.
Then the fight it to keep people from stealing gas, electricity and water, the road is difficult to steal.
Africa is 10 times better at collecting the money for gas, water and electricity than the other 60 percent of underdeveloped countries. The problem with West Africa is getting the money from the fingers of the thug/ tyrants / warlord type government leaders. I think though there is a lot of hope here.
The problem is still who in their right mind would invest in Africa when the moment they do good, some leader, or bully will probably take or nationalize and big business. The history or oil wells all over the planet.
Tourism is a lousy form of money for people, seasonal, and fickle, not a great way to live.
Good small business that grows to large business is needed, and not doomed to stay small types, they need large employers that can pay taxes.
SOMBA Back to the Somba, well all this comes down to in my opinion is water; a farmer will build in the middle of a field if they can have their own well. I did not see one home, I really saw clusters of homes on the way from Natitingou to Boukombe, not big cluster of 10, but small of five or less, and it is possible in each home there could be more than one family.
I need to do a body count.
Batammariba or Batamariba and Tamberma or Somba
I found a reference to the Batammariba people and their distinct architecture in the Encyclopedia.
BATAMMARIBA PEOPLE - Farther east, among the linguistically related Tamberma of Togo, house architecture has reached an apex of beauty and symbolic complexity. The two-story earthen "castles" of these people serve not only as their homes but also as their fortresses, cathedrals, theaters, and cosmological diagrams. The name that these people call themselves, Batammariba, or the "people who are the architects," bears out the importance of architecture among this group. Like the Dogon village, each Tamberma house is said to be distinctly human. Accordingly, its outer surfaces are scarified with the same patterns that are incised on women. Appropriate body parts are also found in the house, for example, the door "mouth," the window "eyes," the grinding stone "teeth," and so on -
I believe this is describing the same Tata or Somba people homes that seems be found around the village of Boukoumbe or Boukoumbe Benin.
Tata Somba and all this… aagh. The quest for understanding is full of land mines. Every step I take explodes into another set of strings flying into the air and leading somewhere. I can grab on the threads and follow and it leads to somewhere that slowly dilutes into another subject or story.
We have to start somewhere, and so does a guidebook.
I am in Boukombe or Boukoumbe now; I made this map earlier trying to find a path.
I am trying to find the 300,000 Somba people my Encyclopedia says exist, they don not live in Boukombe; if there is more than 1000 around here it would be amazing.
Population Density Map of West Africa, as I search for the 300,000 Somba type people.
Names or ethnic groups maybe related: Batammariba or Batamariba and Tamberma or Somba