Rote Island

A group of men gathered in a circle under a tent erected in the middle of the savannah. Some of them played gongs. The others then rushed to the middle of the circle and dance. The movement was dominated by rounds—with one hand touching the edge of traditional hats on their head, or lifting the woven clothes on their body with both hands. One of them, after minutes of dancing, took a clear liquid in a plastic cup and handed it to me. Homemade alcohol. “This is the welcome drink,” he said.  •  Sasando music by Yusuf Messah