I went to another funeral this past weekend, for someone I didn’t know in Baham, which is a town next to Bangou. Although I didn’t know the person, all my friends from the village asked me to come. So I went even though I didn’t really want to.

The funny thing about your friends being all notables is that whenever you show up, it feels like the whole party was waiting for you. When we got there, the guy who invited us who was also a Bangou and a notable, expressed how happy he was to have us there. You could almost feel how happy he was.

We ate and drank for a bit and waited for the funeral to begin. About three hours into it, it started raining, and it kept raining for another hour. After it stopped raining, we continued to wait in the house for another hour. This was because of the annoying Baham* culture of having each group have a turn dancing around the drums. This is different that the way Bangou do it which is everyone dance at the same time. Finally, it was our turn and we showed the Baham how it was done. Really no one does funerals like Bangou’s. Even the Baham people stood back and watched the way we danced around, the noises being made and then, the grand finale, which is when guns start going off, everyone screams and runs around like a mad person. It’s really quite a sight to see and I hope one day I get to share it with someone from the US.

A few days later, I was with the Chief at the chefferie and the notable who invited us to go to the funeral came by to say thanks to the Chief. The Chief sent two of his wives and one of his daughters to the funeral. He was again very gracious and continued thanking me for coming. He said that the people of Bangou showing up to the funeral is a sign of great honor. He knows that his village is truly behind him.

Which reminds me of something me and Aladji were talking about during the funeral. We were talking about the guy and why he bothered to put on this funeral and spend so much money and invite so many people, etc. Aladji said, “The richest people in the world are not the ones with the most money”. All those people showing up and dancing at the funeral showed the people of Baham that this man was a man of many friends and a man who had a whole village behind him. He is truly rich.

*Even though Baham is right next to Bangou, their culture and tradition is the same. The way they do funerals is different, but if you ask anyone around the west province of Cameroon, they will tell you that very few villages do funerals like Bangou.

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