If you look at the Wadabe singing a few posts down you'll see this is what they are wearing: gorgeous hand- woven cotton, which is dyed with indigo, then embroidered. You can buy pieces like this from a young man who works down the street from me, he'll walk up to your car with a few pieces over his arm, offering to sell them to you. There are no set prices for these kinds of things, baskets or jewelry--you always have to barter. The first price will be $100, but he'll eventually come down to $40. It's of exhausting, but sort of fun too. The line that works best for me, "Monsieur! J'habite ici!" I live here!
The Cure Sale is normally held at an ancient crossroads, right outside this town. I hope this festival that brings together such diverse groups, the various nomads of the Sahel, and far-flung westerners in an adventurous and authentic venue returns in 2008.
Since they didn't hold the Cure Sale this year, parts of the festivities still took place elsewhere in the desert, but there wasn't the huge gathering of all the different nomads in one spot. I hope things calm down enough that they hold the fete in 2008, usually it's in September.
Tomorrow will be the last day of your trip to the Cure Sale. Lots still to see here in Niamey, Peter just got back from Ouagadougou and took some of cool pictures on the road, so I'll be posting those in the next few days. Start saying good-bye to one of the oldest festivals in the world.
In the eighties a Wadobe dancer graced the cover of National Geographic, and I'm sure the article explained everything much better than I can even begin to here. But these guys wander around in the desert drinking tea, and a woman chooses them as a husband based on how well they sing and dance, flash their eyes and grimace to show their pretty teeth. Here are some of the Wadobe men dancing at the Cure Sale. The microphone kills me.
If you want to see some amazing photos of these guys and other african ceremonies check out Carol Beckwith.
Glad you have been enjoying the trip to the Cure Salé. The event takes place in the middle of the desert, a thousand miles from nowhere, or least a two day drive from the sleepy capital of Niamey. Take your own water, and pitch a tent.