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1. Grandfather Bakhye undergoes a traditional Dagara funeral ritual.

It is
specifically a Dagara funeral ritual because certain aspects like
immense amounts of private and public grieving and basically role
playing out glorious moments from grandfathers life are not things
every indigenous culture does. The first symbol that happens during
grandfathers liminal phase that symbolizes the supernatural beings at
play and the powerful spirit of grandfather is the upside down cooking.
The second symbol of the liminal phase is when grandfather is handed
the tail he walks around and eats even though he is already spiritually
dead. The third symbol would be the shaving and the washing of
grandfathers head. This shows that he has already spiritually died but
still is being prepared for final rest. During the liminal phase,
grandfather is depicted basically as both dead and alive; he is still able
to move around with the help of the tail but through his zombie like
actions its obvious his soul has already left his body. This funeral is
much different than any funeral Ive ever been to. Ive never been to a
funeral that was several days long, and Ive also never been to a
funeral where people display their grief so openly. In my culture,
people dont take enough time to grieve the loss of a person because
life goes on
2. Malidomas traditional education was always very loving and free, in
the sense that Dagara people do not ask questions and they just kind
of go with the flow. Which differs from his seminary education which
was very strict, harsh and structured. They had strict schedules to
stick to every day and usually got hit in class if they gave their
instructor the wrong answer to a question. The seminary education
welcomed the idea of questions and the traditional education did not.
Also another big difference between the traditional education and the
seminary education are their spiritual beliefs. His traditional education
believes in spirits and rituals and supernatural powers and the
seminary believed in a man on a cross who died for everyones sins.
Both of these forms of education differ in some ways from my own
education, but Malidomas seminary education does have a few
similarities. Both of our educations are based on knowledge and the
more you have of it, the more valuable you are. The better grades you
get, the more opportunities you have. My education differs from
Malidomas traditional education because teachers in America actually
ask you if you have any questions. Unlike dagara people who do not
ask questions.
3. Malidoma returns from the seminary to his home village years after he
was supposed to undergo initiation. Initiation or Baor is a six-week
period where young men are taken out into the bush to figure out their
destiny and reach maturity. He must undergo it because he is still
considered a boy among the community, even though he is 20 years
old. Also, the ancestors think that Malidoma lost part of himself and his
spirit is separated from his body; in order to restore him and cure him
of his illness, they think his participation in the initiation ritual will
make him whole again. The elders are concerned that the white man
that Malidoma spent so many years with has an invisible strong grip on
Malidomas mind and this will prevent him from doing well during the
initiation. This is a rites of passage initiation because once this is over
Malidoma will go from a boy to a man (change in status). During the
liminal phase of malidomas initiation the journey through the skin to
the other world was definitely the first blurred line between living and
dead. If you werent strong enough to make it back into the real world
then you died without even knowing you died. The second was the
crazy journey into the pool in the cave, they had to grab onto light
colored wires and catch themselves before they fell forever. Then they
had to hold onto those wires as they were distracted by other things,
but ultimately had to remember not to let go because if you get caught
in this world you die.
4. Malidomas name means to befriend the enemy, which to the Dagara
people (and many other indigenous cultures) is the white man.
Malidoma was taken from his family by the white man around the age
of four or five and taught how to live the western way, ridding him of
his native tongue and the ability to grow up in a loving environment. As
far as I can tell, Malidoma is well on his way to fulfilling his destiny, yet
I dont think hes done it yet. He already started teaching the Dagara
people as soon as he got back the benefits of western ways through
translation writing, yet he hasnt made any changes on how whites feel
towards traditional Dagara people. He is acquiring the knowledge he
needs to get him the power to reach out and help indigenous cultures,
I just didnt read of him making anything happen yet. Ancestors are
eventually reborn into babies that grow up to be told who they really
are when they go through initiation. In the dagara community, there is
a ritual held before the baby is born asking it who its a reincarnation of
and the sex of the baby. This is why children are often talked to as
adults because they are seen just as wise as the old people; they have
an ancestors spirit newly in their bodies.