Posted by: hdroppert | April 1, 2011

The Tale of the Village Sports Bra

Ive realized that while trying to give you all an idea of my life here in Burkina, I have tended towards disclosing the exceptional (hippo sightings) or rare (corpses on bicycles). So, here’s a little light into some daily observation.
Sitting at a funeral in Moutori (a satellite village about 5km away that feeds into my clinic) the other day, seated on a small wooden stool with a calabash (bowl made from a dried-out gourd) of dolo (millet beer) in my hand; and I am just watching the “festivities” which mostly consists of a bunch of people huddled together under any available shade doing just as I am.
Under the largest tree a crowd of men and women surround several balaphones (the overgrown west African version of a xylophone). Every now and then a line or group of women or men (but never together) breaks away in their gender designated circular line dances (like a jerky African conga line circling around the dead-man’s shrine). These are instigated by anyone so inspired by the music and circumstances and others follow suit. They’re meant to commemorate the deceased and reassure/comfort those who the person left behind. The moves seem more like they are set to the beat of an inner chant that everyone hears as opposed to mallets hitting rectangular chimes.
Anyways, watching these women, with every bounce of their erratic moves their breasts would thwap against their stomachs. Hanging down to their belly buttons, after years of breast feeding their large broods (and probably the neighbors’ too), their breasts flapped and flopped around. I could swear some looked like deformed ping pong balls in a match between chin and ribcage.
This made me think back to the women’s day celebration I attended and  how some of the Lobi women had strips of fabric tied across their chests. In an a-ha moment, I realized it was their innovative villeageose sports bra! If only Nike or someone could design something to strap those suckers down and cost less than like a dollar these women would be very happy dancers.
So here’s a few of my musings and broodings on the movements of local breasts. I hope it makes you appreciate all the support (haha) you all have back home ☺
Til next time (assuming I haven’t melted in the ever rising temperatures)
Peace and Love,



  1. Hi Hayley, Thought part of this new story could be “APRIL FOOLS” especially since I felt motion sickness after reading it. All that bouncing and movement had my stomach churning. Still love they serve Millelr (DOLA)! Your vacation with the family is very close and I am sure you are counting the days. My whole crew is coming on Palm Sunday weekend and we are having Nat’s baby shower on that Saturday and Easter celebration on Sunday. Should be a crazy but fun week end.
    Your pics are great and makes us realize how lucky we really are here in the USA. Stay well and travel well. We love you and are proud of your work. Aunt Joan

  2. How about we do a sport’s bra fundraiser? Sounds like they could use them.
    I love you and look forward to seeing you in less than a month.


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