Yaya is a young guy coming from Burkina Faso. He is full of life, curious and smart, very conscious of the reasons that are determining the migration flows from Africa to Europe. We met him for the first time during an Italian language course, organised by ORISS. He did not waste time and immediately wanted to remark that a lot of African people are forced to leave their countries, where they are living as slaves of multinational corporations that farm cacao or coffee plants for foreign trades.

Yaya continued pointing out that countries, like Burkina Faso, do not benefit of their richness that is in the hands of a little number of landowners.

Yaya has lived in Pisa from about 3 years. He does not like talking about his trip to reach Italy, where he is determined to reconstruct his life with a new job and a new social network. Thanks to his pretty high-level Italian, during the visits to the museums, Yaya likes delighting us with memories of his experience and tell his stories.

We were visiting the Natural History Museum with the group of ORISS, during one of the visits organised in collaboration with the Pisa University Museums System. We were all impressed by the exemplars of animals shown along the museum’s rooms. The Natural History museum is hosted into the awesome venue of the monumental Charterhouse of Calci (Pisa – Italy) and tells the present and ancient history of animals from all over the world.

A story from "so distant incredibly close" - collection

Yaya was really fascinated by the reptiles’ room. Our guide was explaining the origin and the histories of crocodiles samples exhibited into the showcases when Yaya took the word for telling us the story of the Crocodiles Sacrés of the Burkina Faso.

In Burkina – Yaya said – there is the village of Sacred Crocodiles, where crocodiles are not dangerous, and where you can even swim with them! But, pay attention: do not confuse sacred crocodiles with not sacred ones… in that case swimming with them would be very dangerous” – Yaya said laughing.

The mentioned village is Bazoulé, a small town near the Burkina Faso’s capital. A local legend narrates that, during a terrible drought, about the XIV or XV centuries, a group of crocodiles drove some women towards a water spring, where exactly Bazoulé has arisen.

Since that time, women and men have peacefully been cohabiting with these animals: swimming and playing with them. They feed these animals that are considered as real protectors of the village.

People – continued Yaya – offer food to these sacred animals and use them as a divinatory instrument”.

The visit to the Natural History museum was fruitful under several point of view and Yaya allowed us to discover a fascinating story about his original country, a story that we will transform soon in illustration.

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