Folk Beliefs
Magic

The dancing women bring the rain

This story is about the old women in the village. So the old women in the village all have a…they all belong to a clan. I don’t remember the name of it. But usually when there is a drought they all dance and sing in the streets naked. And it is said that it brings the rain. Now, this is forbidden for anyone to watch, so I really don’t know when it goes on because no one knows when. You just know because the rain came. And if you watch you have bad luck and it’s said that something happens to your eyes. I don’t really know what happens because I haven’t watched—and I wont—so yeah, that’s it. I heard this from my family in Cameroon but I’ve never experienced that.

 

This story appears to have legendary qualities: the story is set In the real world, but its truth is debatable. Coco says cites the existence of a group of women who have the power to summon the rain in times of need yet she has never seen this group of women nor has anyone else (since seeing these women harms your eyes). Therefore, no one really knows if these women exist. Coco says that some claim to have seen them, but those who made these claims had no issues with their eyes. So which isn’t true, the existence of the women or the curse that they put on your eyes if you see them?

 

This story made me think of the ancient Greeks who seemed to have a god for everything because they did not understand fully how to describe the workings of the world in scientific terms. For example, if the sea was incredibly violent and was sinking many ships they might have said something like, “Poseidon is punishing us”. They would assume that the god of the sea was creating these inclement conditions rather than understanding that it was simply a storm that was causing the foul weather. Likewise, if people in this village did not understand the weather, they too might have placed the control of the weather into the hands of some supernatural being or group of people.

 

Coco’s grandmother taught her this story when she was very young, and she learned it when she was a small child. Her village is not highly educated nor is it particularly wealthy. This story of these women could simply be the result a lack of understanding of how weather works.

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