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Re: RE : Re: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 1 Peace Corps Volunteer remembered

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  • fougamou@yahoo.com
    Brad, How are the Bodinga s? How are all their kids? I have a drum in my house with the handprint of one of them -- Eloge, I think. I taught two of them --
    Message 1 of 17 , Mar 17, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      Brad,

      How are the Bodinga's? How are all their kids? I have a drum in my house with the handprint of one of them -- Eloge, I think. I taught two of them -- Eloge and Stephan. When I was there, the health volunteer lived in their compound, and the other education volunteer lived next door in a house with a porch. (I lived on the other end of town, closer to the bars)

      Kim




      ----- Original Message ----
      From: Brad Hodges <niakurondi@...>
      To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
      Cc: Nate Smith <gabosmith2000@...>
      Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2007 2:15:17 AM
      Subject: RE : Re: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 1 Peace Corps Volunteer remembered













      Tom,



      I was in Fougajazz from 2002 to 2003, and got the impression that you were THE PCV posted in Fougamou by which all others should be measured. I used to go with Mama Bodinga to the plantation out toward Sindara. (She was overjoyed to receive your package from the U.S. while I was working there.) I picked up a lot of Eshira (the local language), went hunting and fishing with Peeblé (who told stories of every PCV who ever worked in Fougamou), attended all night Bwiti ceremonies, and did anything and everything to fully absorb the local culture. Nevertheless, I was often told by locals, "Ah, there'll never be another Tom."



      (I'm also sending this to Nate Smith, who was there around the same time as me, for his information. )



      Brad Hodges







      fougamou@yahoo. com a écrit :

      Tom,



      You were there that much before me??? (I was there 93-95) You left some reputation in Fougamou -- people spoke of you often.



      (It was actually funny -- it took me a while to figure out there your name really was Tom LeBlanc and I had assumed that people were calling you the French equivalent of Tom "the white guy." Your last name must have made your time in Peace Corps very interesting.



      Kim



      ----- Original Message ----

      From: Tom LeBlanc <tom_leblanc_ chico@yahoo. com>

      To: gabondiscussion@ yahoogroups. com

      Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 9:56:32 AM

      Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 1 Peace Corps Volunteer remembered



      Hi Dale,



      That was beautiful. BTW, I was teacher in Fougamou in 81-83. Did you build the "college" there?



      All the best.



      Tom LeBlanc



      ----- Original Message ----



      From: judkinsdale <djudkins@hotmail. com>



      To: gabondiscussion@ yahoogroups. com



      Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 9:09:13 AM



      Subject: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 1 Peace Corps Volunteer remembered



      Louis Williams served in Gabon from 1963 to 1964. To many of us he



      was our Peace Corps Brother. He was the type everyone wanted to



      include in anything we did. Lou was everybody's friend. He made it a



      point to be interested in what you had to say and what you were



      doing. Many nights in Gabon, Lou and I would talk about life after



      the Peace Corps. Lou was looking forward to going home and becoming a



      doctor. Gabon was a measuring stick for Lou. any questions about



      what he wanted to do with his life was answered in Gabon.



      We both were able to work at Dr. Schweitzer's Hospital in February



      1964. Earlier, Phil Bosserman, a Peace Corps Leader had a bad



      accident and was taken to Schweitzer's Hospital Lambarene. I stayed



      with Phil at the hospital for a short while and got a chance to



      arrange for Lou and I to work there. Rhena, Schweitzer's daughter



      controlled most everything that went on at the hospital. She told me



      she had many requests from many different people to work at the



      hospital. Her job was to see that Dr, Schweitzer's image was a



      positive one. Rhena asked me what I wanted to do at the hspital? I



      told her that I was a Peace Corps Volunteer and I wanted to help in



      the construction at the hospital. After she saw me regularly at the



      hospital caring for Phil, She told me I could come anytime and work.



      I asked her if it would be alright to bring a friend, she said that



      would be fine and, I told her Lou and I would be back the next week.



      Lou and I were the first Peace Corps Volunteers to work at



      Schweitzer's Hospital. The hardest part about working there



      was getting Rhena's approval. Dr. Schweitzer died in September 1965.



      Lou's time at the hospital was very imprtant to him. I think it



      reinforced his drive to become a doctor.



      Our job at the hospital was a typical construction job clearing an



      area for a new building. The hospital provided us with a Gabonese



      Crew complete with a French Foreman. The first day at the job site,



      Lou and I started working side by side with the Gabones Workers. The



      French Forman asked,"why were we doing this"? Lou told him we were



      accustomed to this type of work. The forman also said the hard work



      was for thr "Blacks". This derogatory language caught us off guard,



      we were not use to this type of tone towards the workers. we did not



      want to cause an international incident at the hospital so, the best



      thing we could do was set the example for the Gabonese and continue



      to work right along side of them. After a few days the French Forman



      saw so much progress he left Lou and I alone. The job site was filled



      with laughter and hard work. We had everything under control and soon



      the forman left us completly alone. Lou and I kept the workers



      spirits up joking with them much like we did at our school



      worksites. The hospital gave us two weeks to complete the



      excavation. We finished this task in one week and completed the



      building the folowing week. Team work with the Gabonese Workers is



      what Lou and I did best.



      Each morning Dr. Schweitzer would stop by and watch us work. His two



      favorite nurses were always with him. We would acknowledge him and



      keep on working much to his delight. Near the work site there was a



      small wall about three to four feet high with palm trees providing a



      shady comfortable place for the Doctor to sit and watch us work. One



      day he motioned for us to come over and sit with him. It was around



      ten O'clock in the morning. By this time he knew our names and also



      knew we would be returning to school and, he inquired as to what we



      were going to study when we returned to the United States. He was



      very intrested in Lou's response. Lou told him that he wanted to be



      a doctor. Dr. Schweitzer was impressed and invited Lou to come back



      to the hospital when he beame a doctor. Lou always said his



      experience at the hospital and talking with Dr. Schweitzer convenced



      him to become a doctor. We also were amazed at what Dr. Schweitzer



      knew about our Peace Corps work, building schools all over Gabon. He



      liked the idea, he thought it was a good thing for Gabon.



      One of our last days at the hospital, Dr. Schweitzer invited us over



      to talk. He asked us in French and one of the nurses interpreted in



      English. Although Doctor Schweitzer could speak English he prefered



      to speak in French. Lou and I could speak French we were intimidated



      speaking French to the Doctor. Dr. Schweitzer sensed this and always



      put us at ease with his friendliness, and encouraged us to speak



      French with him. I think this quality of putting people at ease was



      a gift he had along with his special presence that lou and I



      recognized. He asked us if we knew why he came by the work site



      every morning? We said we thought he was interested how work was



      progressing. He said he was but there was another reason. He went



      on to say we were an object lesson that he tells his young Gabonese



      workers many times. He tells them, "there will always be a rewarding



      culture as long as the young people are willing to get their hands



      dirty". Dr. Schweitzer told us we were proving this to the Gabonese



      workers. He also went on to say to the Gabonese near



      by, "look at these youg Peace Corps Workers they are willing to get



      their hands dirty, so should you". The Gabonese smiled with the



      Doctor. They all showed him nuch respect, he treated them all well.



      The experience I had at the hospital was very special, I know Lou



      felt the same way.



      Our work was coming to a close in Gabon. I worked with Lou at three



      school sites. Okala, Kango, and Fougamou. We visited the Pygmy



      Villages together with Bob Utley, and Jerry Anderson. We went to the



      rapids on the Ngonia River outside of Fougamou and many other places



      in Gabon. After our work was finished in Fougamou, we built two



      large schools there, we were scattered to different job sites in



      Northern Gabon. I didn't get to see Lou much after we left



      Fougamou. Our time was short in Gabon and Lou was looking forward to



      getting back to Pre-Mid Classes at Westminster College. I received a



      couple of letters from Lou after Gabon and he said he was working



      hard in school, and looking forward to Medical School. I lost track



      of Lou shortly after his last letter. I was looking forward to



      getting together this October at our Gabon 1,11,and 111 Reunion. Tom



      Otto's recent picture of Lou and I setting on the steps at Kango



      brought back some great memories. Thank you tom for that picture.



      Lou is struming the guitar.



      We will all miss you, Lou. You were a good friend. You will always be



      the young Peace Corps Volunteer from Missouri, with the quick wit and



      easy smile. God speed to you Lou. Have some palm wine waiting for



      us all. We will meet again and toast the Gabon and all the great



      people that touched us all along the way.



      Dale Judkins



      Peace Corps Volunteer



      Gabon 1, Africa.



      ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _



      Bored stiff? Loosen up...



      Download and play hundreds of games for free on Yahoo! Games.



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    • Brad Hodges
      Papa Bodinga published an Evia-French dictionary while I was there, and a festival was held in Ngoissa to celebrate. He had mostly lost his hearing when I last
      Message 2 of 17 , Mar 17, 2007
      • 0 Attachment
        Papa Bodinga published an Evia-French dictionary while I was there, and a festival was held in Ngoissa to celebrate. He had mostly lost his hearing when I last visited in 2004. The family is fine. Only the youngest two, a daughter and son, lived at the house in Fougamou while I was there, but the other children visited often.




        fougamou@... a écrit :
        Brad,

        How are the Bodinga's? How are all their kids? I have a drum in my house with the handprint of one of them -- Eloge, I think. I taught two of them -- Eloge and Stephan. When I was there, the health volunteer lived in their compound, and the other education volunteer lived next door in a house with a porch. (I lived on the other end of town, closer to the bars)

        Kim

        ----- Original Message ----
        From: Brad Hodges <niakurondi@...>
        To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
        Cc: Nate Smith <gabosmith2000@...>
        Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2007 2:15:17 AM
        Subject: RE : Re: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 1 Peace Corps Volunteer remembered

        Tom,

        I was in Fougajazz from 2002 to 2003, and got the impression that you were THE PCV posted in Fougamou by which all others should be measured. I used to go with Mama Bodinga to the plantation out toward Sindara. (She was overjoyed to receive your package from the U.S. while I was working there.) I picked up a lot of Eshira (the local language), went hunting and fishing with Peeblé (who told stories of every PCV who ever worked in Fougamou), attended all night Bwiti ceremonies, and did anything and everything to fully absorb the local culture. Nevertheless, I was often told by locals, "Ah, there'll never be another Tom."

        (I'm also sending this to Nate Smith, who was there around the same time as me, for his information. )

        Brad Hodges

        fougamou@yahoo. com a écrit :

        Tom,

        You were there that much before me??? (I was there 93-95) You left some reputation in Fougamou -- people spoke of you often.

        (It was actually funny -- it took me a while to figure out there your name really was Tom LeBlanc and I had assumed that people were calling you the French equivalent of Tom "the white guy." Your last name must have made your time in Peace Corps very interesting.

        Kim

        ----- Original Message ----

        From: Tom LeBlanc <tom_leblanc_ chico@yahoo. com>

        To: gabondiscussion@ yahoogroups. com

        Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 9:56:32 AM

        Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 1 Peace Corps Volunteer remembered

        Hi Dale,

        That was beautiful. BTW, I was teacher in Fougamou in 81-83. Did you build the "college" there?

        All the best.

        Tom LeBlanc

        ----- Original Message ----

        From: judkinsdale <djudkins@hotmail. com>

        To: gabondiscussion@ yahoogroups. com

        Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 9:09:13 AM

        Subject: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 1 Peace Corps Volunteer remembered

        Louis Williams served in Gabon from 1963 to 1964. To many of us he

        was our Peace Corps Brother. He was the type everyone wanted to

        include in anything we did. Lou was everybody's friend. He made it a

        point to be interested in what you had to say and what you were

        doing. Many nights in Gabon, Lou and I would talk about life after

        the Peace Corps. Lou was looking forward to going home and becoming a

        doctor. Gabon was a measuring stick for Lou. any questions about

        what he wanted to do with his life was answered in Gabon.

        We both were able to work at Dr. Schweitzer's Hospital in February

        1964. Earlier, Phil Bosserman, a Peace Corps Leader had a bad

        accident and was taken to Schweitzer's Hospital Lambarene. I stayed

        with Phil at the hospital for a short while and got a chance to

        arrange for Lou and I to work there. Rhena, Schweitzer's daughter

        controlled most everything that went on at the hospital. She told me

        she had many requests from many different people to work at the

        hospital. Her job was to see that Dr, Schweitzer's image was a

        positive one. Rhena asked me what I wanted to do at the hspital? I

        told her that I was a Peace Corps Volunteer and I wanted to help in

        the construction at the hospital. After she saw me regularly at the

        hospital caring for Phil, She told me I could come anytime and work.

        I asked her if it would be alright to bring a friend, she said that

        would be fine and, I told her Lou and I would be back the next week.

        Lou and I were the first Peace Corps Volunteers to work at

        Schweitzer's Hospital. The hardest part about working there

        was getting Rhena's approval. Dr. Schweitzer died in September 1965.

        Lou's time at the hospital was very imprtant to him. I think it

        reinforced his drive to become a doctor.

        Our job at the hospital was a typical construction job clearing an

        area for a new building. The hospital provided us with a Gabonese

        Crew complete with a French Foreman. The first day at the job site,

        Lou and I started working side by side with the Gabones Workers. The

        French Forman asked,"why were we doing this"? Lou told him we were

        accustomed to this type of work. The forman also said the hard work

        was for thr "Blacks". This derogatory language caught us off guard,

        we were not use to this type of tone towards the workers. we did not

        want to cause an international incident at the hospital so, the best

        thing we could do was set the example for the Gabonese and continue

        to work right along side of them. After a few days the French Forman

        saw so much progress he left Lou and I alone. The job site was filled

        with laughter and hard work. We had everything under control and soon

        the forman left us completly alone. Lou and I kept the workers

        spirits up joking with them much like we did at our school

        worksites. The hospital gave us two weeks to complete the

        excavation. We finished this task in one week and completed the

        building the folowing week. Team work with the Gabonese Workers is

        what Lou and I did best.

        Each morning Dr. Schweitzer would stop by and watch us work. His two

        favorite nurses were always with him. We would acknowledge him and

        keep on working much to his delight. Near the work site there was a

        small wall about three to four feet high with palm trees providing a

        shady comfortable place for the Doctor to sit and watch us work. One

        day he motioned for us to come over and sit with him. It was around

        ten O'clock in the morning. By this time he knew our names and also

        knew we would be returning to school and, he inquired as to what we

        were going to study when we returned to the United States. He was

        very intrested in Lou's response. Lou told him that he wanted to be

        a doctor. Dr. Schweitzer was impressed and invited Lou to come back

        to the hospital when he beame a doctor. Lou always said his

        experience at the hospital and talking with Dr. Schweitzer convenced

        him to become a doctor. We also were amazed at what Dr. Schweitzer

        knew about our Peace Corps work, building schools all over Gabon. He

        liked the idea, he thought it was a good thing for Gabon.

        One of our last days at the hospital, Dr. Schweitzer invited us over

        to talk. He asked us in French and one of the nurses interpreted in

        English. Although Doctor Schweitzer could speak English he prefered

        to speak in French. Lou and I could speak French we were intimidated

        speaking French to the Doctor. Dr. Schweitzer sensed this and always

        put us at ease with his friendliness, and encouraged us to speak

        French with him. I think this quality of putting people at ease was

        a gift he had along with his special presence that lou and I

        recognized. He asked us if we knew why he came by the work site

        every morning? We said we thought he was interested how work was

        progressing. He said he was but there was another reason. He went

        on to say we were an object lesson that he tells his young Gabonese

        workers many times. He tells them, "there will always be a rewarding

        culture as long as the young people are willing to get their hands

        dirty". Dr. Schweitzer told us we were proving this to the Gabonese

        workers. He also went on to say to the Gabonese near

        by, "look at these youg Peace Corps Workers they are willing to get

        their hands dirty, so should you". The Gabonese smiled with the

        Doctor. They all showed him nuch respect, he treated them all well.

        The experience I had at the hospital was very special, I know Lou

        felt the same way.

        Our work was coming to a close in Gabon. I worked with Lou at three

        school sites. Okala, Kango, and Fougamou. We visited the Pygmy

        Villages together with Bob Utley, and Jerry Anderson. We went to the

        rapids on the Ngonia River outside of Fougamou and many other places

        in Gabon. After our work was finished in Fougamou, we built two

        large schools there, we were scattered to different job sites in

        Northern Gabon. I didn't get to see Lou much after we left

        Fougamou. Our time was short in Gabon and Lou was looking forward to

        getting back to Pre-Mid Classes at Westminster College. I received a

        couple of letters from Lou after Gabon and he said he was working

        hard in school, and looking forward to Medical School. I lost track

        of Lou shortly after his last letter. I was looking forward to

        getting together this October at our Gabon 1,11,and 111 Reunion. Tom

        Otto's recent picture of Lou and I setting on the steps at Kango

        brought back some great memories. Thank you tom for that picture.

        Lou is struming the guitar.

        We will all miss you, Lou. You were a good friend. You will always be

        the young Peace Corps Volunteer from Missouri, with the quick wit and

        easy smile. God speed to you Lou. Have some palm wine waiting for

        us all. We will meet again and toast the Gabon and all the great

        people that touched us all along the way.

        Dale Judkins

        Peace Corps Volunteer

        Gabon 1, Africa.

        ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _

        Bored stiff? Loosen up...

        Download and play hundreds of games for free on Yahoo! Games.

        http://games. yahoo.com/ games/front

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      • Tom LeBlanc
        Hi Kim, Yeah, people loved my name. Whenever I walked by the primary school on my way to the college all the kids would come running towards me shouting
        Message 3 of 17 , Mar 19, 2007
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi Kim,

          Yeah, people loved my name. Whenever I walked by the primary school on my way to the college all the kids would come running towards me shouting "moutangounie!"

          Also, when I first arrived I got malaria and went to the hospital. There was a long line and everybody insisted I go to the frong (I was the only white guy there). After speaking with the male nurse about my symptomes, he opened a big book and asked my name. I said "LeBlanc" and he said, "Non--votre nom." When I repeated it, he asked for my identification papers. When he saw that my name really was LeBlanc, he turned to the long line of people outside and yelled out: "Hey everyone, this guy's name is LeBlanc!" Everyone cracked up laughing. It's one of my fondest memories.

          It sounds like things have changed a lot since I left. When I was there all the roads were still dirt roads. Sounds like there's pavement and even a hotel! I'm sure I wouldn't recognize it if I were to return. Maybe some day I will.

          Tom


          ----- Original Message ----
          From: "fougamou@..." <fougamou@...>
          To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2007 4:40:44 AM
          Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 1 Peace Corps Volunteer remembered

          Tom,

          You were there that much before me??? (I was there 93-95) You left some reputation in Fougamou -- people spoke of you often.

          (It was actually funny -- it took me a while to figure out there your name really was Tom LeBlanc and I had assumed that people were calling you the French equivalent of Tom "the white guy." Your last name must have made your time in Peace Corps very interesting.

          Kim

          ----- Original Message ----
          From: Tom LeBlanc <tom_leblanc_ chico@yahoo. com>
          To: gabondiscussion@ yahoogroups. com
          Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 9:56:32 AM
          Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 1 Peace Corps Volunteer remembered

          Hi Dale,

          That was beautiful. BTW, I was teacher in Fougamou in 81-83. Did you build the "college" there?

          All the best.

          Tom LeBlanc

          ----- Original Message ----

          From: judkinsdale <djudkins@hotmail. com>

          To: gabondiscussion@ yahoogroups. com

          Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 9:09:13 AM

          Subject: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 1 Peace Corps Volunteer remembered

          Louis Williams served in Gabon from 1963 to 1964. To many of us he

          was our Peace Corps Brother. He was the type everyone wanted to

          include in anything we did. Lou was everybody's friend. He made it a

          point to be interested in what you had to say and what you were

          doing. Many nights in Gabon, Lou and I would talk about life after

          the Peace Corps. Lou was looking forward to going home and becoming a

          doctor. Gabon was a measuring stick for Lou. any questions about

          what he wanted to do with his life was answered in Gabon.

          We both were able to work at Dr. Schweitzer's Hospital in February

          1964. Earlier, Phil Bosserman, a Peace Corps Leader had a bad

          accident and was taken to Schweitzer's Hospital Lambarene. I stayed

          with Phil at the hospital for a short while and got a chance to

          arrange for Lou and I to work there. Rhena, Schweitzer's daughter

          controlled most everything that went on at the hospital. She told me

          she had many requests from many different people to work at the

          hospital. Her job was to see that Dr, Schweitzer's image was a

          positive one. Rhena asked me what I wanted to do at the hspital? I

          told her that I was a Peace Corps Volunteer and I wanted to help in

          the construction at the hospital. After she saw me regularly at the

          hospital caring for Phil, She told me I could come anytime and work.

          I asked her if it would be alright to bring a friend, she said that

          would be fine and, I told her Lou and I would be back the next week.

          Lou and I were the first Peace Corps Volunteers to work at

          Schweitzer's Hospital. The hardest part about working there

          was getting Rhena's approval. Dr. Schweitzer died in September 1965.

          Lou's time at the hospital was very imprtant to him. I think it

          reinforced his drive to become a doctor.

          Our job at the hospital was a typical construction job clearing an

          area for a new building. The hospital provided us with a Gabonese

          Crew complete with a French Foreman. The first day at the job site,

          Lou and I started working side by side with the Gabones Workers. The

          French Forman asked,"why were we doing this"? Lou told him we were

          accustomed to this type of work. The forman also said the hard work

          was for thr "Blacks". This derogatory language caught us off guard,

          we were not use to this type of tone towards the workers. we did not

          want to cause an international incident at the hospital so, the best

          thing we could do was set the example for the Gabonese and continue

          to work right along side of them. After a few days the French Forman

          saw so much progress he left Lou and I alone. The job site was filled

          with laughter and hard work. We had everything under control and soon

          the forman left us completly alone. Lou and I kept the workers

          spirits up joking with them much like we did at our school

          worksites. The hospital gave us two weeks to complete the

          excavation. We finished this task in one week and completed the

          building the folowing week. Team work with the Gabonese Workers is

          what Lou and I did best.

          Each morning Dr. Schweitzer would stop by and watch us work. His two

          favorite nurses were always with him. We would acknowledge him and

          keep on working much to his delight. Near the work site there was a

          small wall about three to four feet high with palm trees providing a

          shady comfortable place for the Doctor to sit and watch us work. One

          day he motioned for us to come over and sit with him. It was around

          ten O'clock in the morning. By this time he knew our names and also

          knew we would be returning to school and, he inquired as to what we

          were going to study when we returned to the United States. He was

          very intrested in Lou's response. Lou told him that he wanted to be

          a doctor. Dr. Schweitzer was impressed and invited Lou to come back

          to the hospital when he beame a doctor. Lou always said his

          experience at the hospital and talking with Dr. Schweitzer convenced

          him to become a doctor. We also were amazed at what Dr. Schweitzer

          knew about our Peace Corps work, building schools all over Gabon. He

          liked the idea, he thought it was a good thing for Gabon.

          One of our last days at the hospital, Dr. Schweitzer invited us over

          to talk. He asked us in French and one of the nurses interpreted in

          English. Although Doctor Schweitzer could speak English he prefered

          to speak in French. Lou and I could speak French we were intimidated

          speaking French to the Doctor. Dr. Schweitzer sensed this and always

          put us at ease with his friendliness, and encouraged us to speak

          French with him. I think this quality of putting people at ease was

          a gift he had along with his special presence that lou and I

          recognized. He asked us if we knew why he came by the work site

          every morning? We said we thought he was interested how work was

          progressing. He said he was but there was another reason. He went

          on to say we were an object lesson that he tells his young Gabonese

          workers many times. He tells them, "there will always be a rewarding

          culture as long as the young people are willing to get their hands

          dirty". Dr. Schweitzer told us we were proving this to the Gabonese

          workers. He also went on to say to the Gabonese near

          by, "look at these youg Peace Corps Workers they are willing to get

          their hands dirty, so should you". The Gabonese smiled with the

          Doctor. They all showed him nuch respect, he treated them all well.

          The experience I had at the hospital was very special, I know Lou

          felt the same way.

          Our work was coming to a close in Gabon. I worked with Lou at three

          school sites. Okala, Kango, and Fougamou. We visited the Pygmy

          Villages together with Bob Utley, and Jerry Anderson. We went to the

          rapids on the Ngonia River outside of Fougamou and many other places

          in Gabon. After our work was finished in Fougamou, we built two

          large schools there, we were scattered to different job sites in

          Northern Gabon. I didn't get to see Lou much after we left

          Fougamou. Our time was short in Gabon and Lou was looking forward to

          getting back to Pre-Mid Classes at Westminster College. I received a

          couple of letters from Lou after Gabon and he said he was working

          hard in school, and looking forward to Medical School. I lost track

          of Lou shortly after his last letter. I was looking forward to

          getting together this October at our Gabon 1,11,and 111 Reunion. Tom

          Otto's recent picture of Lou and I setting on the steps at Kango

          brought back some great memories. Thank you tom for that picture.

          Lou is struming the guitar.

          We will all miss you, Lou. You were a good friend. You will always be

          the young Peace Corps Volunteer from Missouri, with the quick wit and

          easy smile. God speed to you Lou. Have some palm wine waiting for

          us all. We will meet again and toast the Gabon and all the great

          people that touched us all along the way.

          Dale Judkins

          Peace Corps Volunteer

          Gabon 1, Africa.

          ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _

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          ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _
          Don't pick lemons.
          See all the new 2007 cars at Yahoo! Autos.
          http://autos. yahoo.com/ new_cars. html

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          ____________________________________________________________________________________
          The fish are biting.
          Get more visitors on your site using Yahoo! Search Marketing.
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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Tom LeBlanc
          Brad, Wow! That s quite a compliment. Maybe I should go back just to dance in another Bwiti ceremony! Tom ... From: Brad Hodges To:
          Message 4 of 17 , Mar 19, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            Brad,

            Wow! That's quite a compliment. Maybe I should go back just to dance in another Bwiti ceremony!

            Tom


            ----- Original Message ----
            From: Brad Hodges <niakurondi@...>
            To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
            Cc: Nate Smith <gabosmith2000@...>
            Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2007 8:15:17 AM
            Subject: RE : Re: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 1 Peace Corps Volunteer remembered

            Tom,

            I was in Fougajazz from 2002 to 2003, and got the impression that you were THE PCV posted in Fougamou by which all others should be measured. I used to go with Mama Bodinga to the plantation out toward Sindara. (She was overjoyed to receive your package from the U.S. while I was working there.) I picked up a lot of Eshira (the local language), went hunting and fishing with Peeblé (who told stories of every PCV who ever worked in Fougamou), attended all night Bwiti ceremonies, and did anything and everything to fully absorb the local culture. Nevertheless, I was often told by locals, "Ah, there'll never be another Tom."

            (I'm also sending this to Nate Smith, who was there around the same time as me, for his information. )

            Brad Hodges



            fougamou@yahoo. com a écrit :
            Tom,

            You were there that much before me??? (I was there 93-95) You left some reputation in Fougamou -- people spoke of you often.

            (It was actually funny -- it took me a while to figure out there your name really was Tom LeBlanc and I had assumed that people were calling you the French equivalent of Tom "the white guy." Your last name must have made your time in Peace Corps very interesting.

            Kim

            ----- Original Message ----
            From: Tom LeBlanc <tom_leblanc_ chico@yahoo. com>
            To: gabondiscussion@ yahoogroups. com
            Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 9:56:32 AM
            Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 1 Peace Corps Volunteer remembered

            Hi Dale,

            That was beautiful. BTW, I was teacher in Fougamou in 81-83. Did you build the "college" there?

            All the best.

            Tom LeBlanc

            ----- Original Message ----

            From: judkinsdale <djudkins@hotmail. com>

            To: gabondiscussion@ yahoogroups. com

            Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 9:09:13 AM

            Subject: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 1 Peace Corps Volunteer remembered

            Louis Williams served in Gabon from 1963 to 1964. To many of us he

            was our Peace Corps Brother. He was the type everyone wanted to

            include in anything we did. Lou was everybody's friend. He made it a

            point to be interested in what you had to say and what you were

            doing. Many nights in Gabon, Lou and I would talk about life after

            the Peace Corps. Lou was looking forward to going home and becoming a

            doctor. Gabon was a measuring stick for Lou. any questions about

            what he wanted to do with his life was answered in Gabon.

            We both were able to work at Dr. Schweitzer's Hospital in February

            1964. Earlier, Phil Bosserman, a Peace Corps Leader had a bad

            accident and was taken to Schweitzer's Hospital Lambarene. I stayed

            with Phil at the hospital for a short while and got a chance to

            arrange for Lou and I to work there. Rhena, Schweitzer's daughter

            controlled most everything that went on at the hospital. She told me

            she had many requests from many different people to work at the

            hospital. Her job was to see that Dr, Schweitzer's image was a

            positive one. Rhena asked me what I wanted to do at the hspital? I

            told her that I was a Peace Corps Volunteer and I wanted to help in

            the construction at the hospital. After she saw me regularly at the

            hospital caring for Phil, She told me I could come anytime and work.

            I asked her if it would be alright to bring a friend, she said that

            would be fine and, I told her Lou and I would be back the next week.

            Lou and I were the first Peace Corps Volunteers to work at

            Schweitzer's Hospital. The hardest part about working there

            was getting Rhena's approval. Dr. Schweitzer died in September 1965.

            Lou's time at the hospital was very imprtant to him. I think it

            reinforced his drive to become a doctor.

            Our job at the hospital was a typical construction job clearing an

            area for a new building. The hospital provided us with a Gabonese

            Crew complete with a French Foreman. The first day at the job site,

            Lou and I started working side by side with the Gabones Workers. The

            French Forman asked,"why were we doing this"? Lou told him we were

            accustomed to this type of work. The forman also said the hard work

            was for thr "Blacks". This derogatory language caught us off guard,

            we were not use to this type of tone towards the workers. we did not

            want to cause an international incident at the hospital so, the best

            thing we could do was set the example for the Gabonese and continue

            to work right along side of them. After a few days the French Forman

            saw so much progress he left Lou and I alone. The job site was filled

            with laughter and hard work. We had everything under control and soon

            the forman left us completly alone. Lou and I kept the workers

            spirits up joking with them much like we did at our school

            worksites. The hospital gave us two weeks to complete the

            excavation. We finished this task in one week and completed the

            building the folowing week. Team work with the Gabonese Workers is

            what Lou and I did best.

            Each morning Dr. Schweitzer would stop by and watch us work. His two

            favorite nurses were always with him. We would acknowledge him and

            keep on working much to his delight. Near the work site there was a

            small wall about three to four feet high with palm trees providing a

            shady comfortable place for the Doctor to sit and watch us work. One

            day he motioned for us to come over and sit with him. It was around

            ten O'clock in the morning. By this time he knew our names and also

            knew we would be returning to school and, he inquired as to what we

            were going to study when we returned to the United States. He was

            very intrested in Lou's response. Lou told him that he wanted to be

            a doctor. Dr. Schweitzer was impressed and invited Lou to come back

            to the hospital when he beame a doctor. Lou always said his

            experience at the hospital and talking with Dr. Schweitzer convenced

            him to become a doctor. We also were amazed at what Dr. Schweitzer

            knew about our Peace Corps work, building schools all over Gabon. He

            liked the idea, he thought it was a good thing for Gabon.

            One of our last days at the hospital, Dr. Schweitzer invited us over

            to talk. He asked us in French and one of the nurses interpreted in

            English. Although Doctor Schweitzer could speak English he prefered

            to speak in French. Lou and I could speak French we were intimidated

            speaking French to the Doctor. Dr. Schweitzer sensed this and always

            put us at ease with his friendliness, and encouraged us to speak

            French with him. I think this quality of putting people at ease was

            a gift he had along with his special presence that lou and I

            recognized. He asked us if we knew why he came by the work site

            every morning? We said we thought he was interested how work was

            progressing. He said he was but there was another reason. He went

            on to say we were an object lesson that he tells his young Gabonese

            workers many times. He tells them, "there will always be a rewarding

            culture as long as the young people are willing to get their hands

            dirty". Dr. Schweitzer told us we were proving this to the Gabonese

            workers. He also went on to say to the Gabonese near

            by, "look at these youg Peace Corps Workers they are willing to get

            their hands dirty, so should you". The Gabonese smiled with the

            Doctor. They all showed him nuch respect, he treated them all well.

            The experience I had at the hospital was very special, I know Lou

            felt the same way.

            Our work was coming to a close in Gabon. I worked with Lou at three

            school sites. Okala, Kango, and Fougamou. We visited the Pygmy

            Villages together with Bob Utley, and Jerry Anderson. We went to the

            rapids on the Ngonia River outside of Fougamou and many other places

            in Gabon. After our work was finished in Fougamou, we built two

            large schools there, we were scattered to different job sites in

            Northern Gabon. I didn't get to see Lou much after we left

            Fougamou. Our time was short in Gabon and Lou was looking forward to

            getting back to Pre-Mid Classes at Westminster College. I received a

            couple of letters from Lou after Gabon and he said he was working

            hard in school, and looking forward to Medical School. I lost track

            of Lou shortly after his last letter. I was looking forward to

            getting together this October at our Gabon 1,11,and 111 Reunion. Tom

            Otto's recent picture of Lou and I setting on the steps at Kango

            brought back some great memories. Thank you tom for that picture.

            Lou is struming the guitar.

            We will all miss you, Lou. You were a good friend. You will always be

            the young Peace Corps Volunteer from Missouri, with the quick wit and

            easy smile. God speed to you Lou. Have some palm wine waiting for

            us all. We will meet again and toast the Gabon and all the great

            people that touched us all along the way.

            Dale Judkins

            Peace Corps Volunteer

            Gabon 1, Africa.

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          • Amin F. Abari
            It has been interesting to read all the stories and anecdotes going back and forth in the past couple of weeks or so. However, one thing got my attention in
            Message 5 of 17 , Mar 20, 2007
            • 0 Attachment
              It has been interesting to read all the stories and anecdotes going
              back and forth in the past couple of weeks or so.

              However, one thing got my attention in Mr. LeBlanc's last post and
              his reference to Bwiti and comparing it to the "modern" religions of
              the West.

              There seems to be a big misconception among many people (mostly
              westerners - but even younger Gabonese) that Bwiti is an old
              indigenous religion of the region, but this is not so - especially
              the Fang version of Bwiti which is the one mostly practiced in
              Gabon. Bwiti is essentially a 20th century "religion" that is an
              amalgamation of Christianity, Fang traditional religion, and animism.

              The first of the Bwiti churches began around 1910 and the colonial
              authorities and Christian missionaries tried to stop them by
              imprisoning followers and even executing some. The local Christian
              ministers and priests had Bwiti churches burned as they saw them a
              dangerous cult which was twisting Christianity. Also at the onset
              and even today, many Fang themselves, who were not necessary
              Christian themselves were and are against Bwiti as they saw it as a
              threat to Fang tradition due the Christian elements and influences.

              Bwiti only got popular and known more widely in Gabon after World War
              II when it was allowed to develop openly, and when Leon M'ba who
              later became the first president of Gabon, was put in prison for his
              role and participation in a Bwiti ceremony during which a woman was
              murdered.

              He eventually brought the Bwiti to the statehouse and today it still
              exists in Gabon at highest levels of the government.

              For more information on the Fang you can look up a book by that name
              by Dr. Chike Aniakor and edited by Dr. George Bond who was the
              Director of the Institute of African Studies at Columbia University.
              It is small book designed for students and has some basic but
              interesting information.


              --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, Tom LeBlanc
              <tom_leblanc_chico@...> wrote:
              >
              > Dale,
              >
              > Thank you very much for your kind words.
              >
              > FYI, the Protestants weren't too keen on Bwiti either. In fact, I
              probably only got away with doing it because the American Protestant
              Pastor (Silva, I believe?) at the time I got initiated just happened
              to be taking his annual leave. When he got back the following year,
              he told the two volunteers who replaced me not to even think about
              getting initiated. Otherwise he'd see to it that they were medivacced.
              >
              > Eating the iboga was definitely a very harsh experience. But I'm
              convinced that it allowed me to approach the brink of death without
              really dying. Actually, I think that it was a combination of the
              iboga and the various elements of the ritual that allowed me to have
              the out-of-body experience and then return to this world. Frankly, it
              was blissful.
              >
              > It's a pity that Bwiti isn't recognized for what it really is--a
              religious sect. The only difference between the "modern" religions of
              the West and the indigenous religion of Bwiti is that the former
              require faith whereas the latter actually shows you the real thing.
              >
              > Still, it's probably a lot easier to have faith than to go through
              a Bwiti initiation. A few days after word got out that I had been
              initiated, the police came by to scold and warn my initiators
              saying, "It's all right to initiate Africans, but not Europeans. What
              were you thinking? What would you have done if he had died? You would
              have been in big trouble and we would have thrown you in jail for
              life. Don't do it again."
              >
              > Tom
            • Brad Hodges
              Wow. I know the Fang have the reputation among most of Gabon s other ethnic groups as being sauvage, but these descriptions of Bwiti ceremonies chez les Fang
              Message 6 of 17 , Mar 20, 2007
              • 0 Attachment
                Wow. I know the Fang have the reputation among most of Gabon's other ethnic groups as being "sauvage," but these descriptions of Bwiti ceremonies chez les Fang really sound different than any of the Bwiti ceremonies I attended among the Gisir, Punu, and Mitsogho further south. I never attended one, but I also learned that the Nzebi of Koulamoutou have a version of the Bwiti. Does anyone know more about the differences, if any?

                Brad

                bobutne <bobutne@...> a écrit :
                Thanks Amin. The Fang book by Aniakor is available on Amazon.com at
                about $2 a copy, used. http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-
                listing/0823919943/ref=sr_1_olp_1/102-6292961-9284901?
                ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174440507&sr=8-1

                Anyone besides me attend a Fang burial ceremony (all night duration
                with Iboga use prevalent), where a portion of the deceased was eaten
                by all the male participants?

                --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, "Amin F. Abari"
                <aminabari@...> wrote:
                >
                > It has been interesting to read all the stories and anecdotes going
                > back and forth in the past couple of weeks or so.
                >
                > However, one thing got my attention in Mr. LeBlanc's last post and
                > his reference to Bwiti and comparing it to the "modern" religions
                of
                > the West.
                >
                > There seems to be a big misconception among many people (mostly
                > westerners - but even younger Gabonese) that Bwiti is an old
                > indigenous religion of the region, but this is not so - especially
                > the Fang version of Bwiti which is the one mostly practiced in
                > Gabon. Bwiti is essentially a 20th century "religion" that is an
                > amalgamation of Christianity, Fang traditional religion, and
                animism.
                >
                > The first of the Bwiti churches began around 1910 and the colonial
                > authorities and Christian missionaries tried to stop them by
                > imprisoning followers and even executing some. The local Christian
                > ministers and priests had Bwiti churches burned as they saw them a
                > dangerous cult which was twisting Christianity. Also at the onset
                > and even today, many Fang themselves, who were not necessary
                > Christian themselves were and are against Bwiti as they saw it as a
                > threat to Fang tradition due the Christian elements and influences.
                >
                > Bwiti only got popular and known more widely in Gabon after World
                War
                > II when it was allowed to develop openly, and when Leon M'ba who
                > later became the first president of Gabon, was put in prison for
                his
                > role and participation in a Bwiti ceremony during which a woman was
                > murdered.
                >
                > He eventually brought the Bwiti to the statehouse and today it
                still
                > exists in Gabon at highest levels of the government.
                >
                > For more information on the Fang you can look up a book by that
                name
                > by Dr. Chike Aniakor and edited by Dr. George Bond who was the
                > Director of the Institute of African Studies at Columbia
                University.
                > It is small book designed for students and has some basic but
                > interesting information.
                >
                >
                > --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, Tom LeBlanc
                > <tom_leblanc_chico@> wrote:
                > >
                > > Dale,
                > >
                > > Thank you very much for your kind words.
                > >
                > > FYI, the Protestants weren't too keen on Bwiti either. In fact, I
                > probably only got away with doing it because the American
                Protestant
                > Pastor (Silva, I believe?) at the time I got initiated just
                happened
                > to be taking his annual leave. When he got back the following year,
                > he told the two volunteers who replaced me not to even think about
                > getting initiated. Otherwise he'd see to it that they were
                medivacced.
                > >
                > > Eating the iboga was definitely a very harsh experience. But I'm
                > convinced that it allowed me to approach the brink of death without
                > really dying. Actually, I think that it was a combination of the
                > iboga and the various elements of the ritual that allowed me to
                have
                > the out-of-body experience and then return to this world. Frankly,
                it
                > was blissful.
                > >
                > > It's a pity that Bwiti isn't recognized for what it really is--a
                > religious sect. The only difference between the "modern" religions
                of
                > the West and the indigenous religion of Bwiti is that the former
                > require faith whereas the latter actually shows you the real thing.
                > >
                > > Still, it's probably a lot easier to have faith than to go
                through
                > a Bwiti initiation. A few days after word got out that I had been
                > initiated, the police came by to scold and warn my initiators
                > saying, "It's all right to initiate Africans, but not Europeans.
                What
                > were you thinking? What would you have done if he had died? You
                would
                > have been in big trouble and we would have thrown you in jail for
                > life. Don't do it again."
                > >
                > > Tom
                >






                ---------------------------------
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                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Tom LeBlanc
                During my initiation through the Eshira tribe, I was told that Bwiti originated with the Pygmees of that area and that the first tribe to receive it from the
                Message 7 of 17 , Mar 21, 2007
                • 0 Attachment
                  During my initiation through the Eshira tribe, I was told that Bwiti originated with the Pygmees of that area and that the first tribe to receive it from the Pygmees was the Mitsogho, who gave it to the Bapounou followed by the Eshira. According to the people who initiated me, the Fang were the last to receive it and it was dispersed to them through the logging camps in the early 1900s.

                  FYI, there is no use of Christian symbols used in Eshira-based Bwiti ceremonies. Also, the Eshira told me that my initation with them was easy compared to being initiated by the Mitsogho. A French friend of mine went to a Mitsogho Bwiti ceremony across the Ngounie river. He described how they killed a goat by punching it to death with their bare hands during a night-long ceremony.


                  ----- Original Message ----
                  From: Brad Hodges <niakurondi@...>
                  To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2007 3:54:04 AM
                  Subject: RE : Re: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 1 Peace Corps Volunteer remembered

                  Wow. I know the Fang have the reputation among most of Gabon's other ethnic groups as being "sauvage," but these descriptions of Bwiti ceremonies chez les Fang really sound different than any of the Bwiti ceremonies I attended among the Gisir, Punu, and Mitsogho further south. I never attended one, but I also learned that the Nzebi of Koulamoutou have a version of the Bwiti. Does anyone know more about the differences, if any?

                  Brad

                  bobutne <bobutne@yahoo. com> a écrit :
                  Thanks Amin. The Fang book by Aniakor is available on Amazon.com at
                  about $2 a copy, used. http://www.amazon com/gp/offer-
                  listing/0823919943/ ref=sr_1_ olp_1/102- 6292961-9284901?
                  ie=UTF8&s=books& qid=1174440507& sr=8-1

                  Anyone besides me attend a Fang burial ceremony (all night duration
                  with Iboga use prevalent), where a portion of the deceased was eaten
                  by all the male participants?

                  --- In gabondiscussion@ yahoogroups. com, "Amin F. Abari"
                  <aminabari@. ..> wrote:
                  >
                  > It has been interesting to read all the stories and anecdotes going
                  > back and forth in the past couple of weeks or so.
                  >
                  > However, one thing got my attention in Mr. LeBlanc's last post and
                  > his reference to Bwiti and comparing it to the "modern" religions
                  of
                  > the West.
                  >
                  > There seems to be a big misconception among many people (mostly
                  > westerners - but even younger Gabonese) that Bwiti is an old
                  > indigenous religion of the region, but this is not so - especially
                  > the Fang version of Bwiti which is the one mostly practiced in
                  > Gabon. Bwiti is essentially a 20th century "religion" that is an
                  > amalgamation of Christianity, Fang traditional religion, and
                  animism.
                  >
                  > The first of the Bwiti churches began around 1910 and the colonial
                  > authorities and Christian missionaries tried to stop them by
                  > imprisoning followers and even executing some. The local Christian
                  > ministers and priests had Bwiti churches burned as they saw them a
                  > dangerous cult which was twisting Christianity. Also at the onset
                  > and even today, many Fang themselves, who were not necessary
                  > Christian themselves were and are against Bwiti as they saw it as a
                  > threat to Fang tradition due the Christian elements and influences.
                  >
                  > Bwiti only got popular and known more widely in Gabon after World
                  War
                  > II when it was allowed to develop openly, and when Leon M'ba who
                  > later became the first president of Gabon, was put in prison for
                  his
                  > role and participation in a Bwiti ceremony during which a woman was
                  > murdered.
                  >
                  > He eventually brought the Bwiti to the statehouse and today it
                  still
                  > exists in Gabon at highest levels of the government.
                  >
                  > For more information on the Fang you can look up a book by that
                  name
                  > by Dr. Chike Aniakor and edited by Dr. George Bond who was the
                  > Director of the Institute of African Studies at Columbia
                  University.
                  > It is small book designed for students and has some basic but
                  > interesting information.
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In gabondiscussion@ yahoogroups. com, Tom LeBlanc
                  > <tom_leblanc_ chico@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Dale,
                  > >
                  > > Thank you very much for your kind words.
                  > >
                  > > FYI, the Protestants weren't too keen on Bwiti either. In fact, I
                  > probably only got away with doing it because the American
                  Protestant
                  > Pastor (Silva, I believe?) at the time I got initiated just
                  happened
                  > to be taking his annual leave. When he got back the following year,
                  > he told the two volunteers who replaced me not to even think about
                  > getting initiated. Otherwise he'd see to it that they were
                  medivacced.
                  > >
                  > > Eating the iboga was definitely a very harsh experience. But I'm
                  > convinced that it allowed me to approach the brink of death without
                  > really dying. Actually, I think that it was a combination of the
                  > iboga and the various elements of the ritual that allowed me to
                  have
                  > the out-of-body experience and then return to this world. Frankly,
                  it
                  > was blissful.
                  > >
                  > > It's a pity that Bwiti isn't recognized for what it really is--a
                  > religious sect. The only difference between the "modern" religions
                  of
                  > the West and the indigenous religion of Bwiti is that the former
                  > require faith whereas the latter actually shows you the real thing.
                  > >
                  > > Still, it's probably a lot easier to have faith than to go
                  through
                  > a Bwiti initiation. A few days after word got out that I had been
                  > initiated, the police came by to scold and warn my initiators
                  > saying, "It's all right to initiate Africans, but not Europeans.
                  What
                  > were you thinking? What would you have done if he had died? You
                  would
                  > have been in big trouble and we would have thrown you in jail for
                  > life. Don't do it again."
                  > >
                  > > Tom
                  >


                  ------------ --------- --------- ---
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                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                  ____________________________________________________________________________________
                  Don't pick lemons.
                  See all the new 2007 cars at Yahoo! Autos.
                  http://autos.yahoo.com/new_cars.html

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Henry
                  Amin, It may be true that people only take large doses of Iboga during initiation, but my experience was that small doses were taken regularly at the services
                  Message 8 of 17 , Mar 23, 2007
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Amin,

                    It may be true that people only take large doses of Iboga during
                    initiation, but my experience was that small doses were taken regularly
                    at the services I participated in and we were not all riffraff.

                    Henry G. Schmald

                    Amin F. Abari wrote:
                    >
                    > Dale,
                    >
                    > The taking of Iboga is only one part of Bwiti. The same way the
                    > sacred use of cannabis is part of the Rastafarian religion. I hardly
                    > believe anyone from any religious background would be concerned with
                    > material things in the moment of their religious ritual. Does a
                    > religious Gordon Gecko type really be concerned with material things
                    > when he is kneeling and praying in church? OK, bad example…
                    >
                    > Plus, in Bwiti unlike the Rastas for example who do the ganja all the
                    > time; you do not take iboga all the time. For most it is a once in a
                    > life time experience. I think the only person that I met in Gabon
                    > that had done it more than once was an elder / priest type man who
                    > conducted the Bwiti ceremonies almost every week where people were
                    > initiated, and he himself had done it only 3 or 4 times in a span of
                    > 40 years. He did however mention young people he knew that would
                    > partake more often but he considered them riffraff.
                    >
                    > My last comment was a jab I made at the Gabonese politicians. I
                    > don't know what they think. But I know that the one belief of the
                    > Bwiti practitioners I did find out about would serve all politicians
                    > well. Living in Washington, D.C., as I do know – sometimes it feels
                    > like everyone is a Bwiti convert. :-)
                    >
                    > Amin
                    >
                    > --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                    > <mailto:gabondiscussion%40yahoogroups.com>, "judkinsdale" <djudkins@...>
                    > wrote:
                    > >
                    > > -
                    > > Amin,
                    > > I found your last post to be troubling. Most of your information I
                    > > understand. The troubling aspect of your post was the last part.
                    > >
                    > > Mr Abari, you stated that one of the beliefs that you found out,
                    > as
                    > > you put it, was the poor, sick, feel part. I am not an expert of
                    > > Bwiti but surely this information could not come from the Bwiti.
                    > > What I have learned from the cult has everything to do with
                    > meeting
                    > > people that died. Conversing with the dead. The hallucinogenic drug
                    > > Iboga suspends the individual in a state beyond life.
                    > >
                    > > How can one in this state be so overly concerned with material
                    > > things as you stated in your post. Perhaps you were alluding to the
                    > > people that practise Bwiti, not what they experienced in the act
                    > > itself.
                    > >
                    > > One of the phenomenas of the people that practise Bwiti on
                    > Saturday
                    > > night go to the Catholic Church on Sunday.
                    > >
                    > > Perhaps what you described is what you think the Gabonese
                    > Politician
                    > > thinks.
                    > >
                    > > Dale
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > -- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                    > <mailto:gabondiscussion%40yahoogroups.com>, "Amin F. Abari"
                    > > <aminabari@> wrote:
                    > > >
                    > > > Dale,
                    > > >
                    > > > You right in the sense that if a person is religious and is not
                    > > > Christian then he or she would be more prone to other religions,
                    > > > Bwiti being one of them.
                    > > >
                    > > > But the point I wanted to make was that it was not only the
                    > > European
                    > > > Christians that were against it but also some Fang themselves –
                    > > > regardless of their religion or lack there of. Meaning the Fang
                    > > > recognized that there were European influences in Bwiti that was
                    > > not
                    > > > of their culture. Like any other people there are members of the
                    > > > Fang ethnicity that are Moslem for example and others that are
                    > > simply
                    > > > not religious at all. But they still recognize certain Fang
                    > > > traditions as what they are: "traditions", and for better or
                    > worse
                    > > > they like to keep those traditions "pure". As an example of Fang
                    > > > people themselves being against Bwiti is the Mademoiselle
                    > Movement
                    > > in
                    > > > the 1950s where the Fang formed an "anti-witchcraft" cult to try
                    > > and
                    > > > end Bwiti by violent means and murder of those accused. Luckily
                    > > the
                    > > > Mademoiselle Movement was brought to an end by other clear-headed
                    > > > Fang and the Europeans.
                    > > >
                    > > > My comment on Bwiti existing in the government was not in
                    > relation
                    > > to
                    > > > a threat to the Fang Traditions. I was just commenting on how –
                    > in
                    > > > my view – Bwiti became more popular in Gabon. I believe that if
                    > > M'ba
                    > > > had not dabbled in Bwiti and had not given it legitimacy and
                    > > > effectively endorsing it by bringing it into the government where
                    > > it
                    > > > still persists, we would not be talking about it today.
                    > > >
                    > > > BTW, many people who know about Bwiti and have dabbled in it know
                    > > of
                    > > > just the Iboga experience. My experience of talking to many
                    > > Gabonese
                    > > > and non-Gabonese on the subject showed that few really knew
                    > > anything
                    > > > more than that. Most can not tell you what the tenet of
                    > > > this "religion" is. If they feel cornered by questions they
                    > > > invariably tell you it can not be explained and that you have to
                    > > > experience it by taking Iboga and "meeting god".
                    > > >
                    > > > But one of beliefs that I managed to find out about was this:
                    > > >
                    > > > If you are poor, sick, or feel in anyway disadvantaged and you
                    > see
                    > > > someone rich, healthy or better off than you, then that person
                    > has
                    > > > stolen your health, or money, or whatever it might be you covet.
                    > > It
                    > > > is your responsibility to take back what is yours by any means
                    > > > available to you!
                    > > >
                    > > > As you can imagine this attitude works well in the circles of
                    > > > Gabonese politics.
                    > > >
                    > > > Amin
                    >
                    >
                  • Brad Hodges
                    I also found that male spectators frequently chewed on sticks of the iboga tree simply to stay awake during all-night ceremonies (similar to the kola nut West
                    Message 9 of 17 , Mar 23, 2007
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                      I also found that male spectators frequently chewed on sticks of the iboga tree simply to stay awake during all-night ceremonies (similar to the kola nut West Africans use and the coffee others use).

                      Brad

                      Henry <henry@...> a écrit :
                      Amin,

                      It may be true that people only take large doses of Iboga during
                      initiation, but my experience was that small doses were taken regularly
                      at the services I participated in and we were not all riffraff.

                      Henry G. Schmald

                      Amin F. Abari wrote:
                      >
                      > Dale,
                      >
                      > The taking of Iboga is only one part of Bwiti. The same way the
                      > sacred use of cannabis is part of the Rastafarian religion. I hardly
                      > believe anyone from any religious background would be concerned with
                      > material things in the moment of their religious ritual. Does a
                      > religious Gordon Gecko type really be concerned with material things
                      > when he is kneeling and praying in church? OK, bad example…
                      >
                      > Plus, in Bwiti unlike the Rastas for example who do the ganja all the
                      > time; you do not take iboga all the time. For most it is a once in a
                      > life time experience. I think the only person that I met in Gabon
                      > that had done it more than once was an elder / priest type man who
                      > conducted the Bwiti ceremonies almost every week where people were
                      > initiated, and he himself had done it only 3 or 4 times in a span of
                      > 40 years. He did however mention young people he knew that would
                      > partake more often but he considered them riffraff.
                      >
                      > My last comment was a jab I made at the Gabonese politicians. I
                      > don't know what they think. But I know that the one belief of the
                      > Bwiti practitioners I did find out about would serve all politicians
                      > well. Living in Washington, D.C., as I do know – sometimes it feels
                      > like everyone is a Bwiti convert. :-)
                      >
                      > Amin
                      >
                      > --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                      > , "judkinsdale"
                      > wrote:
                      > >
                      > > -
                      > > Amin,
                      > > I found your last post to be troubling. Most of your information I
                      > > understand. The troubling aspect of your post was the last part.
                      > >
                      > > Mr Abari, you stated that one of the beliefs that you found out,
                      > as
                      > > you put it, was the poor, sick, feel part. I am not an expert of
                      > > Bwiti but surely this information could not come from the Bwiti.
                      > > What I have learned from the cult has everything to do with
                      > meeting
                      > > people that died. Conversing with the dead. The hallucinogenic drug
                      > > Iboga suspends the individual in a state beyond life.
                      > >
                      > > How can one in this state be so overly concerned with material
                      > > things as you stated in your post. Perhaps you were alluding to the
                      > > people that practise Bwiti, not what they experienced in the act
                      > > itself.
                      > >
                      > > One of the phenomenas of the people that practise Bwiti on
                      > Saturday
                      > > night go to the Catholic Church on Sunday.
                      > >
                      > > Perhaps what you described is what you think the Gabonese
                      > Politician
                      > > thinks.
                      > >
                      > > Dale
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > -- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                      > , "Amin F. Abari"
                      > > wrote:
                      > > >
                      > > > Dale,
                      > > >
                      > > > You right in the sense that if a person is religious and is not
                      > > > Christian then he or she would be more prone to other religions,
                      > > > Bwiti being one of them.
                      > > >
                      > > > But the point I wanted to make was that it was not only the
                      > > European
                      > > > Christians that were against it but also some Fang themselves –
                      > > > regardless of their religion or lack there of. Meaning the Fang
                      > > > recognized that there were European influences in Bwiti that was
                      > > not
                      > > > of their culture. Like any other people there are members of the
                      > > > Fang ethnicity that are Moslem for example and others that are
                      > > simply
                      > > > not religious at all. But they still recognize certain Fang
                      > > > traditions as what they are: "traditions", and for better or
                      > worse
                      > > > they like to keep those traditions "pure". As an example of Fang
                      > > > people themselves being against Bwiti is the Mademoiselle
                      > Movement
                      > > in
                      > > > the 1950s where the Fang formed an "anti-witchcraft" cult to try
                      > > and
                      > > > end Bwiti by violent means and murder of those accused. Luckily
                      > > the
                      > > > Mademoiselle Movement was brought to an end by other clear-headed
                      > > > Fang and the Europeans.
                      > > >
                      > > > My comment on Bwiti existing in the government was not in
                      > relation
                      > > to
                      > > > a threat to the Fang Traditions. I was just commenting on how –
                      > in
                      > > > my view – Bwiti became more popular in Gabon. I believe that if
                      > > M'ba
                      > > > had not dabbled in Bwiti and had not given it legitimacy and
                      > > > effectively endorsing it by bringing it into the government where
                      > > it
                      > > > still persists, we would not be talking about it today.
                      > > >
                      > > > BTW, many people who know about Bwiti and have dabbled in it know
                      > > of
                      > > > just the Iboga experience. My experience of talking to many
                      > > Gabonese
                      > > > and non-Gabonese on the subject showed that few really knew
                      > > anything
                      > > > more than that. Most can not tell you what the tenet of
                      > > > this "religion" is. If they feel cornered by questions they
                      > > > invariably tell you it can not be explained and that you have to
                      > > > experience it by taking Iboga and "meeting god".
                      > > >
                      > > > But one of beliefs that I managed to find out about was this:
                      > > >
                      > > > If you are poor, sick, or feel in anyway disadvantaged and you
                      > see
                      > > > someone rich, healthy or better off than you, then that person
                      > has
                      > > > stolen your health, or money, or whatever it might be you covet.
                      > > It
                      > > > is your responsibility to take back what is yours by any means
                      > > > available to you!
                      > > >
                      > > > As you can imagine this attitude works well in the circles of
                      > > > Gabonese politics.
                      > > >
                      > > > Amin
                      >
                      >



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                    • Amin F. Abari
                      Actually I don t know if the elder thought of the young as riffraff. That seems to be my impression. I actually dug out my notes and all I have is this:
                      Message 10 of 17 , Mar 23, 2007
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                        Actually I don't know if the elder thought of the young as riffraff.
                        That seems to be my impression. I actually dug out my notes and all
                        I have is this:

                        "Asking him about some people that were not being initiated but
                        seemed to be taking Iboga, (the elder) shook his head and waved his
                        hand in a dismissing sort of a motion. He seemed resigned."

                        I don't have much more on this.

                        BTW, while in Gabon I came across 4 or 5 people (I remember one
                        American, one German, and one French - which I got to know better and
                        had lunch with before he left Gabon - the rest I think were also
                        French. All men except the American) that came to Gabon to go
                        through the initiation to kick a Heroine addiction. The French man
                        was actually trying to kick a methadone habit he had acquired post
                        heroine. Iboga seems to work well for this purpose.

                        Amin


                        --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, Henry <henry@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Amin,
                        >
                        > It may be true that people only take large doses of Iboga during
                        > initiation, but my experience was that small doses were taken
                        regularly
                        > at the services I participated in and we were not all riffraff.
                        >
                        > Henry G. Schmald
                        >
                        > Amin F. Abari wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Dale,
                        > >
                        > > The taking of Iboga is only one part of Bwiti. The same way the
                        > > sacred use of cannabis is part of the Rastafarian religion. I
                        hardly
                        > > believe anyone from any religious background would be concerned
                        with
                        > > material things in the moment of their religious ritual. Does a
                        > > religious Gordon Gecko type really be concerned with material
                        things
                        > > when he is kneeling and praying in church? OK, bad example…
                        > >
                        > > Plus, in Bwiti unlike the Rastas for example who do the ganja all
                        the
                        > > time; you do not take iboga all the time. For most it is a once
                        in a
                        > > life time experience. I think the only person that I met in Gabon
                        > > that had done it more than once was an elder / priest type man who
                        > > conducted the Bwiti ceremonies almost every week where people were
                        > > initiated, and he himself had done it only 3 or 4 times in a span
                        of
                        > > 40 years. He did however mention young people he knew that would
                        > > partake more often but he considered them riffraff.
                        > >
                        > > My last comment was a jab I made at the Gabonese politicians. I
                        > > don't know what they think. But I know that the one belief of the
                        > > Bwiti practitioners I did find out about would serve all
                        politicians
                        > > well. Living in Washington, D.C., as I do know – sometimes it
                        feels
                        > > like everyone is a Bwiti convert. :-)
                        > >
                        > > Amin
                        > >
                        > > --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                        > > <mailto:gabondiscussion%40yahoogroups.com>, "judkinsdale"
                        <djudkins@>
                        > > wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > > -
                        > > > Amin,
                        > > > I found your last post to be troubling. Most of your
                        information I
                        > > > understand. The troubling aspect of your post was the last part.
                        > > >
                        > > > Mr Abari, you stated that one of the beliefs that you found out,
                        > > as
                        > > > you put it, was the poor, sick, feel part. I am not an expert of
                        > > > Bwiti but surely this information could not come from the Bwiti.
                        > > > What I have learned from the cult has everything to do with
                        > > meeting
                        > > > people that died. Conversing with the dead. The hallucinogenic
                        drug
                        > > > Iboga suspends the individual in a state beyond life.
                        > > >
                        > > > How can one in this state be so overly concerned with material
                        > > > things as you stated in your post. Perhaps you were alluding to
                        the
                        > > > people that practise Bwiti, not what they experienced in the act
                        > > > itself.
                        > > >
                        > > > One of the phenomenas of the people that practise Bwiti on
                        > > Saturday
                        > > > night go to the Catholic Church on Sunday.
                        > > >
                        > > > Perhaps what you described is what you think the Gabonese
                        > > Politician
                        > > > thinks.
                        > > >
                        > > > Dale
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > -- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                        > > <mailto:gabondiscussion%40yahoogroups.com>, "Amin F. Abari"
                        > > > <aminabari@> wrote:
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Dale,
                        > > > >
                        > > > > You right in the sense that if a person is religious and is
                        not
                        > > > > Christian then he or she would be more prone to other
                        religions,
                        > > > > Bwiti being one of them.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > But the point I wanted to make was that it was not only the
                        > > > European
                        > > > > Christians that were against it but also some Fang
                        themselves –
                        > > > > regardless of their religion or lack there of. Meaning the
                        Fang
                        > > > > recognized that there were European influences in Bwiti that
                        was
                        > > > not
                        > > > > of their culture. Like any other people there are members of
                        the
                        > > > > Fang ethnicity that are Moslem for example and others that are
                        > > > simply
                        > > > > not religious at all. But they still recognize certain Fang
                        > > > > traditions as what they are: "traditions", and for better or
                        > > worse
                        > > > > they like to keep those traditions "pure". As an example of
                        Fang
                        > > > > people themselves being against Bwiti is the Mademoiselle
                        > > Movement
                        > > > in
                        > > > > the 1950s where the Fang formed an "anti-witchcraft" cult to
                        try
                        > > > and
                        > > > > end Bwiti by violent means and murder of those accused.
                        Luckily
                        > > > the
                        > > > > Mademoiselle Movement was brought to an end by other clear-
                        headed
                        > > > > Fang and the Europeans.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > My comment on Bwiti existing in the government was not in
                        > > relation
                        > > > to
                        > > > > a threat to the Fang Traditions. I was just commenting on
                        how –
                        > > in
                        > > > > my view – Bwiti became more popular in Gabon. I believe that
                        if
                        > > > M'ba
                        > > > > had not dabbled in Bwiti and had not given it legitimacy and
                        > > > > effectively endorsing it by bringing it into the government
                        where
                        > > > it
                        > > > > still persists, we would not be talking about it today.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > BTW, many people who know about Bwiti and have dabbled in it
                        know
                        > > > of
                        > > > > just the Iboga experience. My experience of talking to many
                        > > > Gabonese
                        > > > > and non-Gabonese on the subject showed that few really knew
                        > > > anything
                        > > > > more than that. Most can not tell you what the tenet of
                        > > > > this "religion" is. If they feel cornered by questions they
                        > > > > invariably tell you it can not be explained and that you have
                        to
                        > > > > experience it by taking Iboga and "meeting god".
                        > > > >
                        > > > > But one of beliefs that I managed to find out about was this:
                        > > > >
                        > > > > If you are poor, sick, or feel in anyway disadvantaged and you
                        > > see
                        > > > > someone rich, healthy or better off than you, then that person
                        > > has
                        > > > > stolen your health, or money, or whatever it might be you
                        covet.
                        > > > It
                        > > > > is your responsibility to take back what is yours by any means
                        > > > > available to you!
                        > > > >
                        > > > > As you can imagine this attitude works well in the circles of
                        > > > > Gabonese politics.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Amin
                        > >
                        > >
                        >
                      • Amin F. Abari
                        You could be right. Time will tell I suppose, but I personally don t find religion to be an answer to anything! I am not even sure that religion has ever
                        Message 11 of 17 , Mar 23, 2007
                        • 0 Attachment
                          You could be right. Time will tell I suppose, but I personally don't
                          find religion to be an answer to anything! I am not even sure that
                          religion has ever saved anything either. All I see is destruction.
                          But let's not go there as I like to keep my "resident cynic" title
                          for a little while longer.

                          Amin

                          BTW, I am not sure as it never occurred to me to check this out when
                          I was in Gabon, but according to Wiki Bwiti is one of three official
                          religions of Gabon already. So maybe Mr. Samorini's prediction is
                          coming true.


                          --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, "judkinsdale" <djudkins@...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          > --Amin,
                          > Thank you for participating in this discussion. I feel all the
                          > comments from everyone has been very informative. I personally
                          value
                          > each and everyone.
                          >
                          > I would like to site a Mr. Gragio Samorini From his book
                          Integration.
                          > In his book he talks about the Bwiti movement in Gabon. He says
                          that
                          > the Bwitists consider themselves Christians.
                          >
                          > Owono Dibuga Louis Marie a foremost authority on the Bwiti
                          > movement, states that there is in Gabon a Iboga Youth Movement a
                          foot
                          > that is acquainting the new generations to the Bwiti Creed. He also
                          > goes on to say, there is a need to unify the various cults and
                          > redefine the Bwiti rituals under a common plan; with the principle
                          > aim to obtain recognition of the Gabonese Government. He goes on to
                          > say, this would put the Bwitists on the level of Christianity and
                          > Islam.
                          >
                          > Going a few steps further is a Nengue Me Ndjoang Isidori, a
                          Bwitists
                          > Religious Leader presently a Magistrate in the Libreville Supreme
                          > Court. He goes on to say, "the Catholic Church speaks of God with
                          > Iboga you live God".
                          >
                          > So Amir, there is a movement that seems to be gaining some respect
                          in
                          > the Gabonese Government; rightly or wrongly only the future will
                          > tell. some people think that if the movement of the Bwiti
                          progresses
                          > in Gabon and elsewhere, This might become the great pure African
                          > Religion of Western Equatorial Africa so states Mr. Samorini.
                          >
                          > I personally think the chapter has not been written as to what will
                          > happen in Africa as to Bwiti. From an American Catholic
                          perspective,
                          > I'm talking about me now, I would like to see it all play out. I
                          > think the Bwiti holds value to the forests, the air, the water.
                          > everything that should be held precious in Gabon. We might just
                          have
                          > a government that pushes for a religion that will help save Gabon
                          > unwittingly.
                          >
                          > Dale
                          >
                          >
                          > - In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, "Amin F. Abari" <aminabari@>
                          > wrote:
                          > >
                          > > Dale,
                          > >
                          > > The taking of Iboga is only one part of Bwiti. The same way the
                          > > sacred use of cannabis is part of the Rastafarian religion. I
                          > hardly
                          > > believe anyone from any religious background would be concerned
                          > with
                          > > material things in the moment of their religious ritual. Does a
                          > > religious Gordon Gecko type really be concerned with material
                          > things
                          > > when he is kneeling and praying in church? OK, bad example…
                          > >
                          > > Plus, in Bwiti unlike the Rastas for example who do the ganja all
                          > the
                          > > time; you do not take iboga all the time. For most it is a once
                          in
                          > a
                          > > life time experience. I think the only person that I met in
                          Gabon
                          > > that had done it more than once was an elder / priest type man
                          who
                          > > conducted the Bwiti ceremonies almost every week where people
                          were
                          > > initiated, and he himself had done it only 3 or 4 times in a span
                          > of
                          > > 40 years. He did however mention young people he knew that would
                          > > partake more often but he considered them riffraff.
                          > >
                          > > My last comment was a jab I made at the Gabonese politicians. I
                          > > don't know what they think. But I know that the one belief of
                          the
                          > > Bwiti practitioners I did find out about would serve all
                          > politicians
                          > > well. Living in Washington, D.C., as I do know – sometimes it
                          > feels
                          > > like everyone is a Bwiti convert. :-)
                          > >
                          > > Amin
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, "judkinsdale" <djudkins@>
                          > > wrote:
                          > > >
                          > > > -
                          > > > Amin,
                          > > > I found your last post to be troubling. Most of your
                          information
                          > I
                          > > > understand. The troubling aspect of your post was the last part.
                          > > >
                          > > > Mr Abari, you stated that one of the beliefs that you found
                          out,
                          > > as
                          > > > you put it, was the poor, sick, feel part. I am not an expert
                          of
                          > > > Bwiti but surely this information could not come from the
                          Bwiti.
                          > > > What I have learned from the cult has everything to do with
                          > > meeting
                          > > > people that died. Conversing with the dead. The hallucinogenic
                          > drug
                          > > > Iboga suspends the individual in a state beyond life.
                          > > >
                          > > > How can one in this state be so overly concerned with material
                          > > > things as you stated in your post. Perhaps you were alluding to
                          > the
                          > > > people that practise Bwiti, not what they experienced in the
                          act
                          > > > itself.
                          > > >
                          > > > One of the phenomenas of the people that practise Bwiti on
                          > > Saturday
                          > > > night go to the Catholic Church on Sunday.
                          > > >
                          > > > Perhaps what you described is what you think the Gabonese
                          > > Politician
                          > > > thinks.
                          > > >
                          > > > Dale
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > > -- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, "Amin F. Abari"
                          > > > <aminabari@> wrote:
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Dale,
                          > > > >
                          > > > > You right in the sense that if a person is religious and is
                          not
                          > > > > Christian then he or she would be more prone to other
                          > religions,
                          > > > > Bwiti being one of them.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > But the point I wanted to make was that it was not only the
                          > > > European
                          > > > > Christians that were against it but also some Fang
                          themselves –
                          > > > > regardless of their religion or lack there of. Meaning the
                          > Fang
                          > > > > recognized that there were European influences in Bwiti that
                          > was
                          > > > not
                          > > > > of their culture. Like any other people there are members of
                          > the
                          > > > > Fang ethnicity that are Moslem for example and others that
                          are
                          > > > simply
                          > > > > not religious at all. But they still recognize certain Fang
                          > > > > traditions as what they are: "traditions", and for better or
                          > > worse
                          > > > > they like to keep those traditions "pure". As an example of
                          > Fang
                          > > > > people themselves being against Bwiti is the Mademoiselle
                          > > Movement
                          > > > in
                          > > > > the 1950s where the Fang formed an "anti-witchcraft" cult to
                          > try
                          > > > and
                          > > > > end Bwiti by violent means and murder of those accused.
                          > Luckily
                          > > > the
                          > > > > Mademoiselle Movement was brought to an end by other clear-
                          > headed
                          > > > > Fang and the Europeans.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > My comment on Bwiti existing in the government was not in
                          > > relation
                          > > > to
                          > > > > a threat to the Fang Traditions. I was just commenting on
                          how –
                          >
                          > > in
                          > > > > my view – Bwiti became more popular in Gabon. I believe that
                          > if
                          > > > M'ba
                          > > > > had not dabbled in Bwiti and had not given it legitimacy and
                          > > > > effectively endorsing it by bringing it into the government
                          > where
                          > > > it
                          > > > > still persists, we would not be talking about it today.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > BTW, many people who know about Bwiti and have dabbled in it
                          > know
                          > > > of
                          > > > > just the Iboga experience. My experience of talking to many
                          > > > Gabonese
                          > > > > and non-Gabonese on the subject showed that few really knew
                          > > > anything
                          > > > > more than that. Most can not tell you what the tenet of
                          > > > > this "religion" is. If they feel cornered by questions they
                          > > > > invariably tell you it can not be explained and that you have
                          > to
                          > > > > experience it by taking Iboga and "meeting god".
                          > > > >
                          > > > > But one of beliefs that I managed to find out about was this:
                          > > > >
                          > > > > If you are poor, sick, or feel in anyway disadvantaged and
                          you
                          > > see
                          > > > > someone rich, healthy or better off than you, then that
                          person
                          > > has
                          > > > > stolen your health, or money, or whatever it might be you
                          > covet.
                          > > > It
                          > > > > is your responsibility to take back what is yours by any
                          means
                          > > > > available to you!
                          > > > >
                          > > > > As you can imagine this attitude works well in the circles of
                          > > > > Gabonese politics.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Amin
                          > >
                          >
                        • bobutne
                          In following up on the recommendation by Amin to read Dr. Chike Aniakor s book Fang , I also purchased the book by Louis Perrois also labeled Fang and
                          Message 12 of 17 , Mar 27, 2007
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                            In following up on the recommendation by Amin to read Dr. Chike
                            Aniakor's book "Fang", I also purchased the book by Louis Perrois
                            also labeled "Fang" and published in 2006. Highly recommended to
                            those interested in ancient Gabon. It also has an excellent
                            bibliography and photo sections.


                            --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, "Amin F. Abari"
                            <aminabari@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > It has been interesting to read all the stories and anecdotes going
                            > back and forth in the past couple of weeks or so.
                            >
                            > However, one thing got my attention in Mr. LeBlanc's last post and
                            > his reference to Bwiti and comparing it to the "modern" religions
                            of
                            > the West.
                            >
                            > There seems to be a big misconception among many people (mostly
                            > westerners - but even younger Gabonese) that Bwiti is an old
                            > indigenous religion of the region, but this is not so - especially
                            > the Fang version of Bwiti which is the one mostly practiced in
                            > Gabon. Bwiti is essentially a 20th century "religion" that is an
                            > amalgamation of Christianity, Fang traditional religion, and
                            animism.
                            >
                            > The first of the Bwiti churches began around 1910 and the colonial
                            > authorities and Christian missionaries tried to stop them by
                            > imprisoning followers and even executing some. The local Christian
                            > ministers and priests had Bwiti churches burned as they saw them a
                            > dangerous cult which was twisting Christianity. Also at the onset
                            > and even today, many Fang themselves, who were not necessary
                            > Christian themselves were and are against Bwiti as they saw it as a
                            > threat to Fang tradition due the Christian elements and influences.
                            >
                            > Bwiti only got popular and known more widely in Gabon after World
                            War
                            > II when it was allowed to develop openly, and when Leon M'ba who
                            > later became the first president of Gabon, was put in prison for
                            his
                            > role and participation in a Bwiti ceremony during which a woman was
                            > murdered.
                            >
                            > He eventually brought the Bwiti to the statehouse and today it
                            still
                            > exists in Gabon at highest levels of the government.
                            >
                            > For more information on the Fang you can look up a book by that
                            name
                            > by Dr. Chike Aniakor and edited by Dr. George Bond who was the
                            > Director of the Institute of African Studies at Columbia
                            University.
                            > It is small book designed for students and has some basic but
                            > interesting information.
                            >
                            >
                            > --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, Tom LeBlanc
                            > <tom_leblanc_chico@> wrote:
                            > >
                            > > Dale,
                            > >
                            > > Thank you very much for your kind words.
                            > >
                            > > FYI, the Protestants weren't too keen on Bwiti either. In fact, I
                            > probably only got away with doing it because the American
                            Protestant
                            > Pastor (Silva, I believe?) at the time I got initiated just
                            happened
                            > to be taking his annual leave. When he got back the following year,
                            > he told the two volunteers who replaced me not to even think about
                            > getting initiated. Otherwise he'd see to it that they were
                            medivacced.
                            > >
                            > > Eating the iboga was definitely a very harsh experience. But I'm
                            > convinced that it allowed me to approach the brink of death without
                            > really dying. Actually, I think that it was a combination of the
                            > iboga and the various elements of the ritual that allowed me to
                            have
                            > the out-of-body experience and then return to this world. Frankly,
                            it
                            > was blissful.
                            > >
                            > > It's a pity that Bwiti isn't recognized for what it really is--a
                            > religious sect. The only difference between the "modern" religions
                            of
                            > the West and the indigenous religion of Bwiti is that the former
                            > require faith whereas the latter actually shows you the real thing.
                            > >
                            > > Still, it's probably a lot easier to have faith than to go
                            through
                            > a Bwiti initiation. A few days after word got out that I had been
                            > initiated, the police came by to scold and warn my initiators
                            > saying, "It's all right to initiate Africans, but not Europeans.
                            What
                            > were you thinking? What would you have done if he had died? You
                            would
                            > have been in big trouble and we would have thrown you in jail for
                            > life. Don't do it again."
                            > >
                            > > Tom
                            >
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