As usual, the restaurant staff encouraged us to order the set menu. We obliged. I am all for an easy life. We were glad we did. The starter was a very nice vegetable soup, and the main course of Pork Escalope, was the best meat we had in West Africa. The menu said rice as an accompaniment, but by special request, we received chips! Dessert was papaya.
The restaurant was in the main building and we were the only patrons there at the time. They’d set out a long table for the 15 of us, but David and I arrived way before the others. The service was incredibly slow, but it didn’t matter as we had plenty of time. We decided to eat early, as we had arranged to go and see a fire dance that was being held in a neighbouring village that evening.
The Fire Dance was held in a clearing in the small village of Tinadou, just outside Kparatoa, some miles from Sokode. There was a large sign at the roadside advertising the dance. Villagers from many nearby settlement came to witness the show, as well as us 15 tourists. The dance takes place round about a month after the festival of cutlasses. The dancers will attempt to prove their prowess by various daring stunts.
Noah explained the story behind the origin of the Fire Dance: The Kotokoli were often fighting with the neighbouring Taberma tribe and often the they were caught unawares whilst tending to their everyday activists. The women and children were in the huts, by the fire, and weren’t always able to escape in time, so it often happened that they got burnt. The Kotokoli therefore made a pact with the God of Fire. The dance is to recognise this alliance and celebrate it.