Dogon villages Djiguibombo, Teli and Ende, Mali 7 Oct 07

Colourful Sunday market in Ende


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We get up at about 6 a.m. here and the temperature is just right while we have breakfast. But by 9 a.m. it’s already too hot. That’s about the time we climbed up to visit the abandoned old village of Teli under the cliffs.

Abdullaye brought the place alive for us with his stories about the witch doctor. The symbol to the right of the wall behind Abdullaye (5th photo down on left) is that of a turtle. Apparently the witch doctor’s wife used the turtle as a kind of ‘royal taster’. She’d prepare a meal for her husband and then get the turtle to try it. If the turtle rejected it, that meant evil spirits had infiltrated the food. It was therefore unfit to eat and thrown out and the poor woman had to start cooking all over again.

In another story, a woman was fed up with being treated like a slave by her husband. So she donned a large mask and succeeded in scaring him and the other men in the village so much that they ran away. The women stayed together but eventually agreed that, having succeeded in showing the men that they were a force to be reckoned with, they would go back to their husbands under their own terms. Perhaps they were the original suffragettes. This apparently took place a very long time ago, and is the background for the famous Sigui ceremonies, which take place every 60 years. The last one was in 1960.


Adobe mosque near Teli, designed in the 1980s

Teli village. The villagers moved down from the cliff about 50 years ago.

The Tellem people who lived here before the Dogons built the rounded structures to store their grain. Then the Dogons used them as cemeteries

The Dogons chased the Tellem away and they now live in the plains in Burkina Faso to the east of the cliffs

The Dogon make rope from the bark of the baobab tree and dry the leaves to use in sauces

UNESCO has provided support for restoration

Amazing place to build a village

Angela panicked before she found a foothold on the Dogon ladder

Abdullaye was telling us all about the witch doctor (hogon) symbols

The modern day Teli in the plains seen from the old Teli in the cliffs

Ende. The Dogons believed that the Tellem had wings or magic powers to access their dwelling

Ende kids swarmed around Angela to sell their wares

JAlbum 6.5 Copyright: Angela & Flemming PEDERSEN