Monday, December 18, 2006

National Day in Zinder - the parade

We went out at about nine o'clock this morning, not knowing exactly what to expect. Seeing the soldiers on our street, we figured the president and perhaps even the parade would be coming our way, but the soldiers told us the parade would probably not reach our street and that it was best to move towards the Tribune, where it was all going to start.

On our way towards the crowd, we met some friends (Soeur Dolores and Soeur Georgette).

We could see all the people, but unfortunately, we could not see anything else, and rumor had it that the parade would not be turning our way and that we were all waiting in vain.

Soeur Dolores asked a guard about this, and he confirmed that we were indeed wasting our time. "However she can come with me," he said, pointing at myself, "and I will put her in a better place where she can take pictures." And he pointed at my camera.
"Oh that is very kind," I said, "but can I just bring my cousin?" which by the way is a very African thing to say. I could. We followed behind as he placed us thirty meters from the Tribune (!), in front of the whole crowd. There were other guards around us, but they looked at our cameras and seemed to approve. "You are a very important person now," I told Sofia, "so make sure you act the part." She did, even after the batteries went out...

Our new spot! Although we could not see him, the president was sitting thirty meters away under the roof of La Tribune, where everything was supposed to start.

Sorry once again I couldn't capture the music; it was really part of the atmosphere...

Soldiers, soldiers, soldiers... It certainly set the theme of marching!

Les députés nationals...

Sofia acting the part of a very important person, standing in front of the crowd amongst the professional photographers and camera-men. No one seemed to notice that her little red light wasn't on any longer, but at least my camera was still working (or we wouldn't have had any pictures to show you - just a tale to tell!)

The orchestra played really well, standing in the sun for about three hours.

The agriculture movement

One of the political fanclubs

Bororo dancers in feast clothes and yellow/red make-up (the red was new to me)

Camels from all walks of Niger...

And after the camels, the horses arrived... (Boy would Arwen be disappointed if she found out that camels are rated as more important creatures in the world of parades...). However, the horses sure made up for their second position wearing all sorts of historical fashion and expensive jewelry!

There was a LOT of security present that day!

Sofia well-seated among the official camera crew...

Traditional warriors, though I forgot from which region...

More warriors...

Horses belonging to our Sarki - the sultan of Zinder

The Sultan of Zinder

Another very friendly soldier, who sheltered us from the crowd when things got out of hand

Then all of a sudden, just as sudden as it had started, the parade was over and everyone had to back away because-

... the president was arriving!

Now, this was where our adventure ended, but further along the road, where the "goudron" crossed the Eden street, Renate was standing with her camera, the batteries charged...

The camels

The horses

The crowd

The Bororo men

People outside the Edenstreet having lined up to greet the president

And as soon as the president had passed, it was all over...

The end!



Hanna Grönberg said...

Mamma hälsar att du och din syssling är väldigt lika varandra!

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