TINDUF : A PRISON WITHOUT BARS [ 1996 ]
Barely a tenth of a second of life in the Refugee Campos of Tinduf, situated in the inhospitable North-western Sahara next to the Algerian town of the same name.
Around 180000 Saharans survive there in the present. They have been thrown out of their lands and forced to live in exile since 1975 when Morocco started to occupy what used to be a Spanish colony. It first started peacefully with the Green March (5/11/1975), which was quickly followed by the military occupation of the saint cities of the original settlers of Smara (27/11/1975). This last event constituted a war of attrition which lasted until the 6th of September, 1991, when the Settlement Plan was signed and a cease-fire took effect.
Other people, who have survived as well, up to November 1995 (although some are still alive), are hundreds of Moroccans captured by the Polisario during the 16 years in which the conflict took place.
These people are called “Liberated War Prisoners” who, after having suffered for 20 years at the prisons of the Polisario and having been liberated by their captors in 1989 as a gesture of goodwill, weren’t recognised by their own country, Morocco. This last decision was taken as their return as “war prisoners” implied the acceptance of the “Polisario Front” as the legitimate government of the Sahrawi.
One another, The Sahrawi and the Moroccan prisoners, victims of a long and cruel game of economical and strategic interests, exchange their roles as wardens/prisoners in an atmosphere of impotence, unease and aggressiveness: a prison with no bars.
SANTA APOLLONIA OR THE INQUALITY OF CLAUSIUS [ 2007 ]
In 2004 I started to get interested in the taste of the deep colonial past of Lisbon, where Angolans, Mozambicans and Europeans live in apparent normality and with an envious level of social integration. In that same year I wrote the article but as I came back I knew that I would return to Lisbon.
Normally, I plan my photography projects in advance of the entire infrastructure that develops them; in this case the circumstances interfered to give a new meaning to the project.
“The flow of things” wanted me to imagine this second trip during three long years, delaying it until August of 2007. “The flow of things” also wanted that, a short period after my arrival, I found myself thrown in the foyer of the train station “Santa Apolonia” with my ankle destroyed and my right foot plastered.
Fuelled by a strange blend of physical pain and frustration, I felt, for the millionth time, the execution of a universal law as unstoppable as ignored by our culture: everything tends to destruction and disorder. Life represents an organization level so insulting for universal chaos that to be born is to start to deteriorate as death approaches. This means that our existence is no more than a mere transit towards what?
Thrown on the floor of the lobby I clung to my camera, I took its viewpoint, as mine had changed and not only spatially. Its sensor stopped showing me integrations, marginality, metropolis, colonial characteristics. Instead, it showed only people, who, unknown to the superior laws that controlled them, lived their life playing, dreaming, planning, searching, observing, wandering, migrating; ignorant that the future only exists in their imagination and that, either way, imperceptibly or tragically, now or after, that omnipotent law, the Inequality of Clausius will end up prevailing uncompassionately.
It seems curious to me to observe how my project has been influenced by this spirit, reinterpreting instants taken in the first trip; like if a change in perspective with retroactive changes had occurred. This is one of the magical aspects of photography which keep me loyal to it.
FIDEL'S DREAM 
It’s difficult that the complex character of Fidel Castro, loved and hated in equal parts, leave one indifferent. Many assertions have been made about him but few as certain as the fact that, during 50 years, millions of people have been born, raised, taught to think and live and have even died in agreement with his unique way of comprehending the world.
During those times, Cuba has lived submerged in a strange blend of abundance of revolutionary groups and a shortage and rationing of goods. It also boasts the lowest rate of analphabetism and child death in all Latin America.
I firmly believe that judgements coming from external observers about philanthropists or dictators are irrelevant; be it if they are condemning or acquiescent. The only validity comes from the people who benefit from the acts of the first or suffer the delirium of greatness of the seconds. They are the only ones who can legitimately judge, not so much his importance as public figure, but how his actions have conditioned their own life.
Few times, barring this one, has the Calderonian thought that life is a dream been as evident. In this occasion it seems absurd, if not dramatic, to observe the legitimate comparison between the life of those who freely dream and the dreams of those who are dreamed of.
Teachers, butchers, midwifes, children, elderly, grave men, journalists, lawyers, lay brothers, sinners, prostitutes, monks. Terse skin or deep wrinkles that tell a lifetime of stories. Firm chests or those which barely remember what they once were. Athletic bodies, bulging abdomens, long-distance runners are all part of it.
With the fierce devotion of those who embrace a new religion or the scepticism of those who have nothing left to lose, they participate in their ritual of salt and mud; which resembles rather than a therapy of uncertain scientifically proven efficacy, an ancestral rite.
Before the daily dose of the smelly medicine, I can discern, even taking account of the vulnerable nakedness, certain characteristics of individuality: well-hydrated skin, worn hands by countless hours at the mercy of the sun, the discrete mark of a bikini or that of a T-shirt with a style similar to Marlon Brando.
The decisive moment approaches, the last step in the ritual: applied with visible signs of affect and solidarity, smooth black mud is placed like a blanket from the soles of the feet to the eyebrows.
Sometimes, only sometimes, a miracle occurs. I’m not talking about the dozens of stories, be it one’s own or from others, narrated with suspicious conviction about the multiple therapeutic effects of that clayey act.
The miracle revealed by my camera is of a different nature.
Masks of humid skin, slippery and impregnated with a strange sheen, akin to a primitive amphibian; or dry and chapped, similar to pachyderms, replace the artificial signs of identity of the anonymous recipients and, paradoxically, gives them back their original form, from which their sometimes-disregarded primitive beauty emerges.
TUBABUS Y FATAFIUS
I.- KANDIO MANÉ
I am Kandio, from the Mané family, Malinke, black.
My ancestors, Malinke from the dawn of time, served as slaves to you whites, the “tubabus”.
In spite of my appearance, I am a lucky man, I possess all that I need: a ceiling to shelter me, four wives -Kadi, Animata, Nhama and Famata, who have given me 30 children- who cultivate rice in our “bolañas”, obtain milk from the cattle my sons care for and water that my daughters carry from the spring and wells from town.
I have almost nothing else, apart from the pride of being Malinke.
Now some of ours are living among you and, in the majority of the cases, they are nothing more than blacks. A cheap or clandestine workforce.
You, the “tubabus”, have learned many important things, like the handling of water and electric light, but you have forgotten many others in the process.
We, the Malinke, the “fatafius”, have names and each name encapsulates a story. Now, that you know my name you are obligated to never forget me.
II.- CAMBODA FATI
Camboda Fati is a survivor. He survived as a child: smallpox, two war conflicts and, in present day, survives each and every day the poverty which he is subjected to.
Life in town is dependent on him as he is the only porter of the water bomb. At dawn and at fall he opens the lock so the women residents (only those who can contribute a few coins for the maintenance of the installation) have the opportunity to obtain the necessary water to wash, to clean up and to prepare the food. The rest have to attain the precious liquid from a nearby spring. In both cases, it’s surprising to see that, despite the immeasurable dedication and time dedicated to this activity; these moments are the ones where life shines with the most intensity.
However, Camboda is not the only survivor. The rest of the populace let the days and years pass, tainted with an extraordinary quotidianity; seasoned in equal parts with the peace of the shade provided by the exuberant tropical vegetation, gossip and prayers. Everyday life is sometimes interrupted due to trips to the closest town, Bafatá, to buy clothes or medicine.
In Gambasse, all of them are survivors of the unmerciful forces of destiny, of which they had no choice in at birth. Furthermore, with their limited resources, these forces are impossible to keep at bay.
III.- RAMOLI CAMARÁ
I could have been born in the country of the “tubabus”, but instead I was born here, in the Malinke town of Gambasse in Guinea-Bissau, Africa. At dawn Maria Mané, the midwife, covered in sweat, crossed the entire village in the midst of an enormous storm to presence my birth. Short after, my mother Sirene placed me on the only cot in my house, wrapped tightly in a big blanket. That August, the residents of the town were dubious at the arrival of a group of “tubabus”. That is the reason why my father Nansu, thinking about one of them, chose Ramoli as my name.
“Tubabus” are easy to distinguish at first sight: they are completely white and are always preoccupied of the forest animals.
I feel safe in my village, everybody takes care of me. The time I have left as a child will consist of carrying water and playing with the other children. When I finally grow older I will be able to help my father fix bicycles or be a shepherd of the flock of cows in Kandio and drink their milk.
I could have been born in the country of the “tubabus” but the truth is that I was born here and the only animals which scare me are the mosquitoes. Lots of children will die from their bite and I don’t know if I’ll be one of them.
ABYSSINIAN DIARIES ( A useless trip tale [2014 2016]
Having my camera -one of those wonderful gadgets that freezes time- in my hands, I wanted to check how real is the description of a country such as Ethiopia: a wonderful land exciting and amazing, with a leafy green and volcanic depressions where life is barely possible. Luxury glass towers surrounded by oceans of humble tin houses, churches digged in rocks and legendary holy cities of Islam, ancient orthodox rites and tribal ceremonies that haven’t changed since the Bronze Age.
Nothing is further from reality. Nothing exotic. Are their tribal dances much different from our popular festivals?
No strange rites. Are their scarifications stranger than our plastic surgery? Are their celebrations based on fermented sorghum different from our drunkenness?
No extraordinarily good or excessively bad people. Do human and divine laws have, here or there, prevented human being from being what they essentially are?
Are their thieves, swindlers or abusers worse than ours because they don’t wear Armani?
No incomprehensive tragedies, exiles or massive migrations. Don’t we already live among them?
There, as here, the extraordinary and exciting part is life itself, normal life, ordinary life (among gold and filth) the life that floods us with dreams and hopes, with laughters and tears, with unstoppable desires of loving and being loved, with memories of the past and hope in the future.
Here, we are blinded by our persistent ethnocentrism, we judge their lack of freedom (polygamy, alien religions, ancestral customs) while we assume our owns.
Here, we are mortgage contracts slaves, employment contracts slaves, exorbitant consumerism slaves. Do we have , by any change, more freedom than those we consider as oppressed?
Here, we own mostly everything but time, we consume thousands of images from other worlds, but on the other hand, we have the obligation of watching , we must go beyond its aesthetic dimension and use them to understand who we really are. We might realize that “those worlds” are not so.
This is the tale of a useless trip: none of what I saw was really strange. However, paraphrasing Celaya, my hope is that photography is not just a cultural luxury consumed by neutral people who evade and are not concerned.
DAY 1: ADDIS ABEBA A TRAM FOR HOPE .
Situated at an altitude of 2300m in the western border of the Great Rift Valley, with more than three million registered people, not taking into account an undetermined amount of them who survive in an administrative limbo. Addis Abeba is a city with enormous, sometimes cruel, contrasts.
The raised tram, recently built by the Chinese, crosses the city similar to a giant dorsal spine which symbolises a great metaphor of the Ethiopia of the beginning of the 21st century: a tense pulse between past and future, between poverty and wealth, between patriotic affirmation and neocolonialist economy. A tram, perhaps, for hope.
DAY 2: ADDIS ABEBA CENTRE AND PIAZZA
Substantial national and international businesses and next-generation enveloping crystal buildings, analogous to enormous distant islands, let themselves be seen to children, the youth and to the elderly who survive between the ordinary, mundane misery and the enigmatic presence of a new unreachable world.
Like in any other metropolis, in no city of Ethiopia can such a big number of disinherited people be found. There is almost no space for optimism in an ever-repeated story.
Similar to an immense onion, adjacent layers and layers unconnected to each other; take over quite rapidly from streets full of luxurious jewelry to small settlements of modest homes of undulated plate. Amidst them, aging grand houses whose origin can be traced back to the brief Italian incursion, try to futilely maintain the colonial ambient mixed with misery and dignity.
We are in Piazza, in the core of Addis.
DAY 3: ADDIS ABEBA MERKATO
To enter Merkato, the biggest market in the African continent and socioeconomic centre of the capital, is to make a trip to the Addis of the beginning of last century.
To intern oneself in Merkato camera in hand requires, notwithstanding the renowned Ethiopian hospitality, a certain dose of cold-bloodedness if not temerity; as you feel the pressure of the stares coming from all sides.
In the dry station, little streams of fecal waters, which at a distance warn of their presence due to their distinctive odor, flow through improvised riverbeds leading to the river Bantyiketu that crosses the town north to south.
In the rainy season plenty, plenty of water. Water determines daily life, it involves everything and, in the search of the easiest path, water is forced to transform to malodorous mud; while it deals with thousands of footsteps of all types: bare feet or in sandals, shoes of medium height or shoes barely hidden by impeccable trousers made of Tergal. Among them all, wheels splashing and emptying the enormous puddles where they pass by.
People of all kind, prostitutes in shacks who offer themselves to passersby next to their own children, humane excrements that have seen the light mere seconds ago, rubbish with an unsupportable foul odor, thieves, pickpocketers and rascals of every lineage who move freely between stands and impossible scaffolding waiting for their chance to rob.
Flocks of sheep compete against a surmounting traffic of 4x4, of downtrodden cars and carts led by humans in equal parts. They are stopped indefinitely, letting time pass while being surrounded by a slight euphoria that the qat provides, people carrying heavy books, executives with iridescent vestments and unfortunate poor whose life takes place literally on floor level.
Among all of them, in vast amounts, hundreds of white mannequins who, in spite of their static way of living, bear stoically, like a metaphor, the enormous contradictions of the world they have been placed in.
DAY 4: ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS IN ADDIS ABEBA
The religion, be it orthodox Christian or Muslim, is radically present in the public and private life of the Ethiopian people. Mosques, churches, orthodox priests, Muslim women with veil, kneeling people and muezzins of both religions are part of the urban and rural landscape.
Solitary elderly aided by their canes doze under the shadow of enormous centenary trees while they let themselves be rocked by the psalms, thrown into the air by potent speakers, which invade the surroundings.
Young engineers impeccably dressed carrying their Apple computer and taxi or lorry drivers pray devotedly as they pass next to any church.
Mothers and grandmothers alike in their white tunics with their babies over their shoulders, or teenagers recite their pledges in the intimacy of some isolated nook.
Although certain tensions cannot be exempted, the pacific coexistence between both religions surprises and comforts; which constitutes an act worthy of being imitated by the rest of the world.
DAY 5: A REVEALING INJERA IN BAHAR DAR
Hundreds of “tuk tuks” frenetically move through the avenues which converge in the neuralgic center of this modern city, San George Church and pier. Meanwhile, dozens of locals let time flow spell bounded by the unique spectacle of the Tana Lake, contained by banks of papyri of unreachable limits.
At dawn, the first sun rays break through the fog while the local fishermen drive their “tankwas”, their papyri canoes, towards the birth of the Blue Nile. Hornbills, monkeys, hippopotamus’ and multitude of other species contribute, akin to background noise, an unexpected tropical vibe in these latitudes.
Bahar Dar is not only a modern city with paved streets and luxury resorts for rich tourists. A slight change of perspective, a few turns in the right direction, give way into unsuspected worlds.
The sun draws its last shadows over the crowded centre streets while five Muslim girls enter with their orthodox friend in one of the many restaurants in the zone. Shortly after, from an altitude of no more than half a meter, a man scouts the area trying to find the exact position of an available table. He moves balancing his body while he stands with his hands, gloved in wellington boots, or alternatively his gluteus; his legs taking no role.
In any restaurant of our worshipped occidental society, the clients would feel visibly uncomfortable by the presence of the homeless asking for money. The waiters, in empathy with the customers, wouldn´t doubt impeding the homeless from even crossing the door.
However, here in Bahar Dar, in the Amharic nucleus of orthodox Christians, the diner stands next to the table while the smiling and helpful waiter lifts the customer and places him on his seat. Promptly, he brings him a washbasin to clean his hands and serves him an abundant injera, beer included, which disappears in mere minutes.
Once the customer is deposited on the floor again, he puts on his wellington boots and leaves quickly; it’s time for him to return to work.
Yesterday he received several birrs from other customers; today the restaurant pays for it.
DAY 6 : ZÉGE
Like at the start of every day, the morning fog envelops the peninsula of Zége. Covered by thick vegetation where wild coffee beans are found in abundance; a natural habitat of a multitude of tropical species which is the residence place of one of the most impressive abbeys of the area: Ura Kidane Mehret.
Inside it, orthodox monks are engrossed in their unending prayers of centenary tradition; their coloured robes and motionlessness akin to the biblical scenes profusely represented in the interior of the abbey.
And at the entrance of the peninsula, which gives name to the village, dozens of women, men and children celebrate their weekly market similar to how it was done by their ancestors centuries back. They arrive by dusty paths transporting their varied loads and offer their exiguous merchandise while they patiently wait for the sunset.
An astounding “wárka”, which contrasts with the sky above, protects their miniscule silhouettes from the aggressive sun; highlighting the vehicle’s role as their protector.
DAY 7: IN THE BACK ROOM OF BAHAR DAR
They don’t speak English like the majority of young Ethiopians. They don't know about Spain, Madrid or Barcelona. They live like ascetics of another time, but they still use mobiles to sneak in a few photos; an action that causes them to blush if they are caught.
Their concept of world is limited to learning the New and Old Testament, written in ge’ez, which is a primitive language related to the Amharic but with an exclusive liturgical use.
Here, in the backstreets of Bahar Dar, religious schools of centenary tradition take in hundred of children and adolescents from different communities which, at the same time, share a deep link and are isolated in the exuberant natural environment.
In their miniscule shacks made of adobe and papyrus, placed in a circle around the center area, days, weeks and years pass reciting religious chants; only illuminated by a few solar rays.
Their curious stares leave a mark that evokes, from the very first instant, Rousseau’s myth.
DAY 8: LALIBELA
From a distance of hundreds of kilometers and taking days, weeks or even months, thousands of pilgrims travel to Lalibela to celebrate Genna, the Ethiopian Christmas.
They are received by the compassionate villagers with food and foot massages and they accommodate themselves at the base of the mountains, next to the grandiose churches excavated in red rock at an altitude of 2450m.
Hundreds of tunics, impeccably white, create an atmosphere of dignity for those tired by many accumulated voyages.
Its modest and rural origin provides a primitive closeness and ingenuity capable of breaking any idiomatic barrier. The enormous intensity by which they live their religious beliefs makes it impossible to remain impassive.
DAY 9: THE MOUNTAIN’S SERMON
Dawn arrives in Saint Giorgis. While the first lights that appear progressively hide the shining stars, centenary olives transform into improvised refuges where the elderly pray or act as natural hideouts where entire families for the final liturgy.
The mountain’s contour makes itself visible while miniscule silhouettes climb it in order to make it closer to the place where their prayers are sent. Calloused feet, empty stomachs, white tunics or of the colour corresponding to the earth they have been cleaning for months all merge into the interminable religious chants.
In the deepest part of the valley, the Jordan River, with unavoidable biblical resonance, is a spectator of this interminable phenomenon.
Lalibela is not only an extraordinary ensemble of churches, tunnels and hidden passages. Lalibela is not only the living expression of hospitality, of life in community and of religious expression. Lalibela, the African Jerusalem, is an authentic replicate of the beginning of our era.
DAY 10: ARBA MINCH AND THE PORTERS
Driving through the Ethiopian roads is, at the same time, exciting as it is frightening. The concept of respecting left and right must have disappeared the same day the cattle started to traverse the roads as if they were its owners.
Uncountable stops to eat, to chew qat (the driver included) or to satisfy any type of necessity are the cause of the 10 hours that separate Arba Minch from Addis Abeba.
Arba Minch is a concentration of the African essence. Leaving the bus station implies submerging into chaos and disorientation. Arba Minch is in the process of construction of buildings, bridges, streets and squares; like the rest of the country. Young girls of all ethnic groups carry construction materials under the impassive gaze of dozens of young men whose only role is to wander without direction in the search of some unsuspecting “faranji” to serve as a guide to some remote place in the South of the country.
Sunset approaches in Arba, dozens of Chinese motorbikes, Indian “tuk-tuks” and lorries create an immense dust cloud which takes hold of the surroundings. It finally disappears when it confronts the interminable and dull routine of dozens of women and girl carriers who ascend from the River Kulfo to the highest place in Sikela; a journey close to twelve kilometres of length for which they get paid a miserable 50 birrs (approximately 2 euros).
Their slow and steady pace, their almost horizontal trunk where they deposit their heavy load of wood, their arms exempt from any attempt of strength, their expression of painful resignation and their concentrated stare at the irregular floor beneath them so as to not fall are images and emotions difficult to forget. When it seems that the only thing they can cope with is to perpetuate that monotone routine, they still have the strength to respond in an educated manner with a reverence and smile to the “selam” that I dedicate in a signal of respect and admiration.
With almost no public as a presence, the city acquires a ghostly vibe. From the central square of Sikela, through the motes of dust briefly illuminated by some vehicle, the last silhouettes can be distinguished leaving for some bed, in which they can obtain the few hours of rest left in the day.
DAY 11: KEY AFER’S MARKET
They gradually get nearer the traditional meeting point. Today is market day in Key Afer, Red Land in Amharic.
Starting at dawn, Harner, Banna, Tsmay and Ari carry, from tens of kilometers away, all types of products: fruits, vegetables, trinkets, wood and cattle, the essential richness of those ethnic groups. The market is a social act which promotes activity, it’s a place of exchanges, a meet-up point; so it’s the ideal occasion to say farewell to friends and family who live at a distance of various days away.
Key Afer, red and dusty, is a place where life pores through; even in those mid-day hours where the sun invites people to look for shade under the acacia. It’s at these times when men, women and children wander without apparent destination but with clear motives in mind.
With the sun shining its last rays before the end of the day, everything turns much more festive. The local drink, hundreds of liters formed mainly of fermented honey and sorghum, begins to take hold, among laughs, jokes and brawls, of dark and lugubrious pubs that share a mixed smell of sweat and the sweet odor of this local drink.
At dawn, tens of people, with their smiles lost in the midst of alcohol, zigzag across the streets of Key Afer; searching for a “tuk-tuk” to take them back to their homes.
It’s a dark night in Key Afer and the last silhouettes are seen in contrast to the starry sky while the last laughs are heard out in the distance.
DAY 12: JINKA SHELLO’S FAMILY
Wantó, like the rest of the Banna, doesn’t know his exact age; isolated in a place of mythical resonance. Saba lives peacefully with her husband, numerous children, her sorghum plantation and her sling, which she calls “rosso”.
A few kilometers away, Wado Gaya prepares an injection for his cattle, which is infected by the dangerous fly “tsé tsé”. Meanwhile, his wife Jinka Shello, helped by one of her six sons, prepares an infusion with coffee beans and a rudimentary campfire.
The Banna live dispersed throughout the mountainous surroundings of Key Afer. Here, these isolated families live in harmony with the environment, from where they obtain anything they may need. Cattle, honey, corn, sorghum, chili peppers, coffee, wild flowers, dresses made from tanned skin from the cattle, bracelets, pumpkins, clay pots, “borkotos” (the traditional wooden seat typical in Eastern Africa), rudimentary knives which receive the name of alphas, slings, and Kalashnikovs describe the world around me.
However, the Banna don’t despise objects from other places, like plastic drums or a box of “mastika”, which is a type of chewing gum. In fact, these can be the subject of lengthy, and even heated, discussions.
The Banna rely on an economy of mere subsistence where the women, similar to the cattle, are a question of wealth: each woman contributes her work and that of her children to the family.
The Banna are not animist, they commend themselves individually, without ceremonies, to their only God “Bar-Yo” and polygamy is a frequent affair.
The reasons for which polygamy exists, setting aside any economic ones there may be, fundaments itself in deeper reasons socially accepted by all. However this is a source of personal confrontations that, paradoxically, guarantees their survival. Polygamy provides the husband with an absolute control over the family as each wife, competing against each other, tries to win over his favour by taking charge and fomenting their roles as providers: cultivating and herding. The wives also continue their role as procreator during all their fertile period
Here, in Saba, Jinka sees life flow at a constant and peaceful rate knowing that their strength resides, not on their physical goods but on their strong social bonds.
DAY 13: TIFA DABO’S CLAN
Today is a special day for Tifa Dabo, chief of a Banna clan; as one of his teenage sons has to celebrate his initiation ceremony into adult life.
Tifa is a rich man as evidenced by his three wifes (Hailo, Faka and Barki), his 19 children, a considerable number of cattle, a ceremonial quill and a mirror that he keeps like a real treasure.
Starting at dawn, the young single men reunite next to the pumpkins with fermented sorghum; laughing, joking around and sharpening their alphas, which are normally kept in multicolour rudimentary leather sheaths.
Meanwhile, women and children occupy themselves carrying wood and water or preparing the food based on wild plants, like “kadi” that are found near the area.
However, the real protagonists, the ones who fill the place with atmosphere, are the marriageable young who, dressed with the best bead adornments, sing and dance to the rhythm of the rudimentary mutes till dawn.
Towards mid-day, new family groups come from all directions with a slow and expectant pace and wait at a prudent distance until the committee offers them, as a welcome, the earthy beverage transported in the omnipresent pumpkins. The whole clan starts to become visible.
A nourished group of small children, decorated with facial paint, are led, frightened and expectant, to a stall whose ceiling and rugs are made from recently cut vegetables. There they will savour the clan’s concoction and will learn, if they are lucky, the secrets of double vision.
Meanwhile, one of the young daughters of Tifa, embroidered with the same facial paints, searches for an intrepid adolescent dressed with wicker. He has the privilege of choosing the wicker he wants to be whipped with in order to demonstrate to the others his readiness to bear the difficult role of being her suitor. The scars crisscrossing his back, bleeding quite a few times, validate his courage and his subjugation to tradition.
Afternoon falls in Yinya. While the majority of the young ones, reunited in an imperfect semicircle, dance and jump as if they were in the middle of a competition; Ischo, Tifa’s adolescent son, proves to the clan and to himself that he has surpassed the age of majority. Completely naked, he has to navigate in both directions the fourteen unstable and slippery backs of bulls he himself has taken care of since he began to walk.
Millions of stars peek out and let themselves be seen from the mountains of Yinya. The echo of the monotone chants, which gradually grow faint, put an end to the ceremonies repeated since unmemorable times.