Sept 23rd: Visits to Ezzo and Dorbo,
Masqala festival preparations

The team traveled up to Ezzo in the morning, and met Mallebo Mancha, the leader of Ezzo Cultural Association. The team walked across Dorbo, a wide sacred pastoral field, feeling the special untouched fresh nature of the open rolling green hillside. We sat in the middle of Dorbo, soaking up the peace of the scene, after a while being surrounded by the Kalo boys. These are a group of specially-selected young boys who are assigned the responsibility for managing the Kalo. The latter is the communal pasture that is traditionally protected for about two months before Masqala.

(In the Gammo tradition, the protection of communal pastures is actually so that the animals of the area can also participate in the festivities of Masqala like their owners). We were lucky enough to also meet with Ato Mallebo Mancha. The Kalo boys and other people surrounded us sitting on the field. We exchanged with them explanations about our LCS mission, their Kalo boy tradition, the sacredness of Dorbo and about the Ezzo Association. A sample of Mallebo Mancha's pronouncements on the sacred ground and the role of the Kalo boys, translated by Darout can be heard using the play button below.

Standing as an impressive figure against the sky, Mallebo Mancha welcomed and encouraged the LCS activities. He specially invited the team to come back on the next day to observe the Kalo boys' day of celebration with parading riders showing off their horsemanship on the sacred Dorbo ground.
Following the meeting, we were invited to share a local meal with Ato Mallebo and the Secretary of the Association. After the meal, led by the two association representatives we went up to Naggasa, a sacred forest with age-old trees of various species. We recorded Ato Mallebo Mancha's explanation on the background to the forest and its history. Custom law again protects this hill-top forest against logging or use for firewood and against hunting the animals that live in it.

Naggasa was established in prehistoric times, the people trying to build it up higher with stones (more sacred) than two similar sacred forests, Damo in Woliefa and Sarara in Kumbata, but the stones tumbled. Only people with a special status are allowed to enter Naggasa.

Respectful meetings with senior figures or group representatives cannot be rushed, so by this time we were running late. Next, we traveled on to Lisha, to the sanctuary of Prophet Kawo Essa’s grandson. Unfortunately on arrival, we were told that the man, after having waited a long time for us, had gone out to look for us in the surrounding area. The team waited for a while at his 'sanctuary' house, had purcha (a traditional food), but eventually had to leave, fixing an appointment with his son for the next day.

Closing another full day, the LCS team traveled back down to Terenke’s house at dusk, gave her our greetings again and forwarded a present to her for meeting us.

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