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Marcy Garcia

Of Water and the Spirit Essay Questions
1.
The death ritual is an ideological mourning ritual also a rite of passage into the afterworld
because the whole community sentiments and moods also behavior are shaped by the death of
community member and elder like Bakhye who was a medicine man for the Dagara. Grandfather
Bakhye’s was also a leading healer. The separation stage can be showed by him being taken to
the mission hill dispensary which a foreign place where he died. The transition stage is show by
Bakhye soul walking from mission hill back home as a part of of a ritual to return his soul to his
town. Incorporation stage is shown by Bakhye returning to his community as a spirit. A symbol
present during the liminal phase is an upside down arrow which was shot was shot from the same
hoe he shot and took flight looked more a shooting star when it came out and circled around the
funeral space into the ground. Another symbol was the emergence of this being that refer to
kontombili to greet his grandfather or said goodbye to his soul. During the liminal phase Bakhye
is neither here nor there because he is still roaming the living world world as a spirt because his
soul is still active. My experience when going to a funeral is a lot of silence to show respect for
the life that was lost. Also trying to keep crying to a minimal so you don’t look very weak
instead your told to be very calm and be strong. The duration of a funeral from my experience is
around a couple hours and not elaborate like the funeral the Dagara engage in which consist of
many days and rituals.

2.
Some was forced to attend boarding school to learn the white’s man reality which included
geography, mathematics and Christian views. Some had to learn how to speak and write in
French. He was whipped daily to assimilate into learning different grammatical. alphabetical, and
mathematical equations. During his seminary education he develop individualism instead of
community in them and it was a sin to speak the language. Seminary school was like a high
school and their mission was to transform indigenous people into strict missionaries to replace
French missionaries. The traditional education in the Dagara culture was you were educated by
your grandfather outside of a school setting. Also your family was responsible for your education
you received by exposing you to the tribe’s rituals and traditions. The education I learned is
similar to the seminary and Dagara culture education because I was exposed to learning about
geography, mathematics and from my family members. On the contrary my education was
different from both seminary and Dagara culture education because I don’t learn about Christian
views in school also because I don’t spend my time learning outside of a school setting.

3.
Upon arrival back at his birth community Malidoma discovered he no longer fits into the tribal
community. Malidoma goes through initiation because the elders of his village believe he was
“swallowed by a foreign way of life” which destroyed his connection to his birth culture. Also he
must complete initiation because it’s a ritual that all Dagara children must follow in order to
initiated from childhood to adulthood. The concerns of his elders is that his brain was congested
was a lot of white men literacy that he wasn’t going to grasp the important information he would
acquire during his initiation. For Some to go through initiation he had to forget to read and write.
His elders were also concern about his safety since they didn’t have faith that he would make it
alive during his rite of passage because they are liking to die because they have both knowledge.
In Dagara culture the formal name of the initiation is Baor. The type of initiation is rite of
passage because Malidoma encountered all three stages of initiation which are separation,
transition and incorporation. Separation can be showed by Some’s kidnapping by the white men
and the lost of his Dagara culture identity like language and rituals. Transition is showed by
Malidoma withstanding torture by his elder’s like staring at the tree in hot temperatures until he
sees a vison involving a green woman who is tall. Incorporation is showed by Malidoma being
welcome back into the Dagara community. While in initiation Malidoma encounters the tall
green lady who signifies a mother figure therefore she is the womb which is life and the tomb
which is death because he is still very weakened during his vision. Also the green women was a
symbol for the womb because Malidoma feels very attached to her when he sees her in his vision
and the tomb is a symbol for the women because when she vanished he feels sad.

4.
In Malidoma ’s culture naming places a huge part in determining the child’s destiny. The
Dagara have a procedure for establishing the name of a pregnant tribe member child during the
first two months of pregnancy the ritual is called a query ritual. Malidoma name signifies “to
make friends with the enemy “. In Some’s culture the name his is given before birth is the
density he must follow in his life. Yes, he has meet his destiny because he made himself friends
with the white man in order to survive. While he is in seminary school he makes the intent to
form a friendship with the priest who adducted him in order for him to stay alive with the goal of
eventually returning home. Also he has meet his destiny by sharing his experience of how
important Dagara rituals are by writing and speaking about his culture to the western world
people in his poems. Ancestors play they a huge role in the naming of a child in Dagara culture
because its them who hear the child’s destiny and create the name that is more applicable to the
child. Also because ancestors serve the role of guidance for their grandchildren. Reincarnation is
shown by his grandfather knowledge that Malidoma was the reincarnation of his brother Birifor
because of the belief that a grandchild is reborn as an ancestor of that child.