Côte d’Ivoire – stilt dancing in Silacoro

The pigs started snuffling at the tent door at 3.30am, the roosters started at 4, and then the rhythmic drumming of the village women pounding sorghum started at 5, so not much of a lie in. We gave up trying to sleep at 6, and packed up the tent and went in search of coffee. There was already an attentive audience of kids watching the cook group preparing breakfast

Dawn in Silacoro above the hut roofs

The village had organised some dancers for this morning as there wasn’t enough time to do so before nightfall yesterday. 

Village girl checking us out
Like all things in Africa, it took time for things to get moving. The first half hour or so was warm up. The younger kids did some back flips. The older men did a sophisticated shuffle. The teenage boys adorned their legs with bells and did aggressive and sweaty spins.  

Teenage boys dancing with bells

Throughout four tireless drummers kept a rhythmic beat accompanied by the chanting of most of the village women and girls who had turned out in their Sunday best to watch and support. 

Friendly chanting village ladies who asked for a photo
 The main event for the day was a stilt dancer, who was likely still a novice. He also did some creative spins, but didn’t quite manage to nail his back flips. The highlight for me was watching the women and kids enjoying the performance. 

The stilt dancer
More lovely village ladies who asked for a photo
 We donated some money to the chief as a thanks, but managed to get out of giving him the soccer ball he had eyed on the truck and wanted for the kids.

Village ladies dancing before the stilt dancer arrived
Grooving village lady

We then headed back to Man to buy supplies for the next couple of days. Man is a pretty sad and dirty town with an uninspiring ‘supermarket’ and a limited supply of fly blown fresh produce in the town market. On the bright side I found some hot bread and yogurt….. a nice change from eating the bread we buy, which we always eat the day after purchase (in France we would only give day old bread to the cows).  

Young village ladies who led the chant for 2 hours – Silacoro

We are all happy for the extra space on the truck today to stretch out and the tensions seemed to have diminished somewhat today after yesterday’s short fuses. As my favourite truck introvert reminded me yesterday – she wouldn’t willingly spend this much time with her best friend, let alone with a bunch of strangers who she didn’t choose. 
 We were told last night we will spend two consecutive nights in Yamoussoukro (‘Yamkro’), and that is a huge gift! A day not on the truck is fabulous!!! We all love the truck but we have spent a few too many long days thus far. No doubt a couple of days off will continue to alleviate the pressure.  
Tonight we were planning bush camping en route to Yamkro just passed the town of Daloa but when we couldn’t find the bush camp site at 5.30pm we all voted to continue the 120km to Yamkro. Fingers and toes were crossed on the truck for hot water and wifi, the ever present hopes of the grubby overlander.   

Kids where we filled up with jerry cans
We rolled into Yamkro after eight and saw the basilica next to the six lane highway but apparently they can’t afford to light that section of town right now. In the middle of town there was a section of well lit streets and numerous kids were using the streetlights to read and do homework.
Bonus shot of the dancing village ladies
 My tentmate and I decided to make the huge investment of $15 each to upgrade to a room rather than camp in the garden (best use of $15 ever! I even did a victory dance in the room). And I was shocked when some weird hot stuff came out of the shower! What a night!!!!!

Yamoussoukro December 4, 2016 

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