Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
The Muslim religion requires its followers to pray five times a day:
sunrise, noon, afternoon, sunset, and before bed. Inside the mosque at
noon, a priest meditates before assuming the ritualistic position of
bowing towards Mecca (in this case, towards the East) where Abraham is
buried. Until recently, this particular cleric also acted as mediator,
spiritual guide, and social advisor to the villagers. But recently,
his influence has been waning.
A European religious group recently built a church near the village,
and has offered free food and education. However, they have also
introduced new and different social pressures, unraveling many of the
local traditions regarding family, work, social bonds and lifestyles
that these people have followed for centuries. The partial uprooting
from their social foundations, combined with their lack of understanding
and acceptance of the ways of the "church", has left the villagers in
a state of confusion. The priest, who was once a central, stable figure
in the community, is now overlooked by all but the elders. His greatest
disadvantage is having no material goods to offer to combat the villagers'
newly found opportunism.