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The Lebanese own and run most businesses in town. They have been staying in this country for quite sometimes. Try to find those who have time with you and ask for their advise on how to deal with the locals.
Updated May 2, 2008
If you get a chance take in a cultural dance and or rally from one of the numerous secret societies or political parties. Chasing the devil, beating drums and original tribal dances are just some of the many things you might see down any street. You hear these processions long before the dancers and drummers arrive. Hundreds of people climbing trees and walls to get a better look while the troupe passes by. I hope you are lucky enough to take in this experience.
Written May 20, 2004
Sande Society Art and Dance
The mask in the Photo is from the Sande Society in Sierra Leone it is worn by a mature woman as part of an initiation ceremony for young girls entering adulthood. The mask represents the ideal of womanhood and feminine beauty among Mende women.
The rings on the neck represent another aspect of feminine beauty. The neighboring Temne people associate the sowei spirit with the butterfly and so may the Mende. It is possible that the rings on the mask symbolize the female's emergence from childhood to adulthood just as the rings on the chrysalis mark the transformation of the pupa to the mature butterfly. Most likely, the bird on the crown of the mask is a hen. referring to motherhood and its responsibilities.
A woman must be of a certain rank to commission a mask from a carver. The carver is a man in the community possessing special knowledge of spiritual and social concerns. She tells him the name of the spirit that the mask will represent, and he "dreams" the appropriate form. The resulting mask can be worn only by this woman, and only she can call forth the spirit.
Written Jul 12, 2003
Address: The Mende live in a hilla around Bo