Swenson relays sights and sounds of the Guerewol festival

Wodaabe girl and the herd of cattle. The Wodaabe people are nomadic cattle herders.

(Editor’s Note: Sabrina Swenson, a 1986 graduate of Postville High School, is the daughter of Erma Swenson and the late Marlin Swenson. A world traveler, Sabrina is sharing her experiences in Niger, located in West Africa. Printed below is the third of a three-part series.)

When the men had finished their preening, which reminded me much of a peacock, they started assembling in a line. Once in position, they started singing the same, repetitive, hypnotic-like chant. While doing this, they would slowly rise and fall on their toes. This kind of dance is typical of Fula tradition. Over and over they would do this and as the hours went by I couldn’t believe they were continuing in the searing African heat. 

After days in the desert, the festival came to an end and I got ready for the long drive back to Niamey. My guide was continuing on in another direction with a different traveler, so another local drove me out of the bush and back to Tahoua. From there I hopped on a local bus bound for the capital.

The sights, color and sounds of the Guerewol festival was something out of National Geographic. Although Niger may have no physical beauty to speak of, it’s people are stunning!

Read the full article in the March 29 edition of the Postville Herald.