So I know I keep saying this, but it’s a weird time in my service… I can’t start any new big projects, so my Mom proposed trying to find out the history of my village. I live in the Royal Family of my village’s courtyard/quartier. This doesn’t really mean much now because our village chief is dead and has yet to be replaced.
I first started by asking my neighbor Tidiane
Me: “Tidiane, how old is the village?”
Tidiane: “It’s pretty old.”
Me: “How old?”
Tidiane: “At least 160 years.”
Me: “So how many chiefs?”
Me. “So what was the last chief’s name?” (The last chief was Tidiane’s older brother).
Tidiane “Naaba Yemde” (Which apparently means Chief Hippopotamus)
Me: “So why was he called that”
Tidiane: “a tara panga” (he was strong/fat)
So, that was the history, so I thought, until I asked the mayor of the village.
Me: “Mr. Mayor, How old is the village?”
Mayor: “Oh, the village has been around since before 1800”
Me: “But Tidiane said that it’s only been around 160 years”
Mayor: “Well the Chiefs and the royal family came about 160 years ago when the village asked them to, but the village has been around much longer than that.
Ok, so the village is over 200 years old. Then I decided to ask the Pagb Naaba, Lucie, the Chief of the Women and her husband, Abel, and my community counterpart Issa.
Me: “So how old is the village?”
Lucie: “It’s older then the 1800s”
Me: “Really, because the mayor said that it’s only that old”
Abel: “The village has been around since at least the 1600s,”
Issa: “No, actually the village has been around since the 1300s. You should ask the primary school director for exact details. It’s part of the school curriculum and they are supposed to teach it in the schools. ”
So I went to ask my primary school director…
Me: “So apparently you teach the history of the village in the schools”
Director: “Not anymore. People got really angry about it because everyone had differing opinions”
Me: “So is there any definite date/year?”
Director: “We know when the royal family arrived, but every quartier will tell you something different”
So, in short: everyone has a different opinion on the exact date of the village…and it’s relatively old…before the French occupation in 1896 according to Wikipedia. Oh well. Got to love la vie au village.