Friday, February 01, 2008

Installation of a New Chief for Tera

A few weeks ago we were able to attend something that hasn't happened for 24 years...a new chief was given power in Tera. The old chief died suddenly last summer and this man was his replacement. We went about an hour late which turned out to be an hour early....which means the ceremony started two hours late. It was pretty interesting anyway. I think I'll just post the pictures and explain them a bit.
Different chiefs coming to the ceremony. The guys in the colorful outfits are bodyguards.

This is John and some of the men who helped plan the ceremony. The man on the far right is our landlord.

These guys are playing traditional instruments. Three of them are playing hollowed out gourds. The metal rings on their fingers make a hollow clacking sound. The other guy is playing a sort of violin. Standing up is a man playing a drum that he squeezes under his arm to make different sounds when he hits it.

This horse was beautifully decked out. He stood in front of where we were sitting. But he never did anything. We thought maybe the chief would ride him around the ring, but it didn't happen.

These were gifts the Fulani of the area brought to the chief.

The short man in blue is the prime minister...the 2nd most powerful man in Niger. Guess who the guys in black suits and shades are?!

Me in the crowd. We were seated in a ring around the soccer field. The chief was seated in the middle of the soccer field. The kids behind me are standing behind the roped off area.

Suzanne got an up-close shot of the new chief. Part of the ceremony was wrapping the turban on his head. The turban is a symbol of power. We couldn't see the wrapping, though, because of the crowd. He sat under a blanket that was held by people the entire time.

Suzanne and Luke Ardill (a short-termer who was visiting us in Tera) got close to the chief. He is sitting under the blanket they are holding up in the center of the picture.

OK, this guy really impressed me. These are pounding pots and they are really heavy. This guy was holding one pot in his mouth, taking most of the weight on his chest. Then he had two balanced on top of the first one. He must have terrifically strong teeth!

This was the special music. They sang the chief's praises.

The camels stood outside of the roped in area for most of the ceremony. Then they came into the circle near where the chief was sitting. Some of them knelt down, got right back up, and left the ring. That's all they did!

These horses were all decked out, but they never really did anything!


Amanda said...

What great photos! I was wondering about you taking photos of all those important people, were they ok with it? Just asking because we were always so wary in Niger although that was in Niamey. Anyway, gorgeous shots, the horses look lovely and they all look so bright! Was it a very hot day?

Hannatu said...

No, because it was a public occasion we could take all the pictures we wanted. It was expected and the press was also there. It wasn't too hot since it was in January, the cool season. Everybody but me got sunburnt, though.

Aji said...

Do people in Niger still ride camels and horses as regular modes of transportation? They certainly looked impressive even if they didn't do much.

Carol Wilson said...

What a gorgeous window on a significant day. Thanks so much. I finally read all the way back to Christmas. Very powerful photos, and very heartfelt emotions about your leaving. We continue to pray for Tera.

Hannatu said...

We see a lot of people riding around on camels, but we don't see horses being ridden much.

Anonymous said...

Nancy this is so cool, I didn't know they still did things like this! I had seen pictures at Nanny's house (Anne N.) of the horses all decked out but I thought the time had passed. You must have felt like you were watching history!
Can I confess my own selfishness...I would have LOVED to have been there with my camera! Those man in black would have kicked me out b/c I would be getting too close! LOL!
My fav. shot was the one with all the camels lines up.
MMM, I am so jealous!!!!

Dusty Penguin said...

Really great photos of an event that most Westerners will never get to see. It reminded me very much of when the president of The Gambia came to our village. We went to that, but of course, we don't have camels, and I don't remember them ever dressing up horses for display purposes. Nor do I remember gifts. Anyway, it's a wonderful pictorial of a historic event there.