Cheifou the Marabout

Cheifou is a marabout, or Islamic religious leader.  I walk past Cheifou every day, as he sits outside of his home diligently working or reading the Koran. This year, I finally got to chat a little with him, as my son Soriya watched him work with great fascination.  In this photo, Cheifou is writing Koranic protection prayers on a wooden tablet with vegetable dye.  Afterward, he will wash away the writings with water into a glass.  The miraculous beverage will be drunk by a follower or student, thereby endowing him or her with protection.  One of Cheifou’s friends asked me if I wished Cheifou to conjure a love potion for me…  It is common for a person to seek healing or protection potions from their marabout.  Some also do ask for love, wealth, and power. I responded with a laugh, and requested a protection prayer instead to watch over me and my family as we flew back to France that evening.