Homemade Dolls

Those of you who have been following the blog for a couple of days will remember that I finished Jared Diamond’s The World Until Yesterday: What we can learn from Traditional Societies. One of the things that Diamond thinks we can learn from traditional societies is that, while western children are surrounded, indeed buried in toys that demand their attention, children in traditional societies don’t have store-bought toys and have to make their own. That means that they learn creativity, use of materials, manual skills, and independence.

So today I started my new policy of alternating days for the little kids, girls one day and boys the next. Since the girls are generally quieter and better-behaved,  I started with them. They played very nicely for several hours, and when they were leaving I saw that they had made little dolls for themselves out of scraps of cloth, sticks, bits of hair left over from braiding, and so on. So I got a picture.


That’s Mariette on the left and Aisha on the right. Aisha’s sister Kadi was there too but didn’t want to show off her doll. Mariette’s doll had two dresses.

In political news, the visiting presidents have left. They have announced a proposed solution to the crisis that they are going to propose to a summit of the ECOWAS regional group on Tuesday. The outline of the proposed deal is: President Kafondo will return to power and all the hostages will be released. There will be an amnesty law for all events associated with the coup. The elections will take place before November 11th, that is, a slippage of one month from the previous schedule. The previously excluded pro-Compaoré candidates will be allowed to stand in the elections. And the RSP will not be disbanded until a new government is seated.

Unfortunately, both parties in-country have publicly rejected key elements of the so-called deal. General Diendéré says his intention is to remain in power until the elections, although of course he is happy about amnesties and permitting his friends to stand in the elections. And the leaders of the Balai Citoyen movement interviewed on RFI this evening said that all the concessions to the RSP are unacceptable, even the amnesty, though of course they are happy to hear that the hostages are to be released. They also point out that the African Union, which as the continental organization theoretically outweighs the regional grouping, ECOWAS, supports their position. So basically, neither side appears to have budged at all. So much for mediation. Unfortunately.

2 thoughts on “Homemade Dolls

  1. Thanks for the clear reporting, and best wishes for your free play classes. Diamond writes well and has the skill to assemble lots of data and boil it down to big ideas. There’s a lot to like, but in the end I always feel dissatisfied with his broad strokes.
    Stay safe.


  2. Very nice photo. The homemade dolls are certainly interesting in the context of Diamond’s thoughts about western kids. I can imagine that reading his book while in Burkina Faso makes differences between the west and the other all the more striking.

    I said it earlier but want to say it again: travelogue writing is your thing! Your dispatches from the other side of the world make great reading and the photos are fantastic. Please forward your resume to Conde Nast and Lonely Planet.


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