20th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Travel
Bwiti ceremony - seeking comfort

Three initiants, sitting in white on the floor, a toddler, a teenage girl and a young woman, were partaking in a two day bwiti ceremony. This involved them consuming the hallucinogenic iboga root under the guidance of the local spiritual leader, whilst chanting, signing, dancing and other rituals were undertaken by the congregation to help facilitate the visions of the initiants. This photo is taken on the second day, there is a break in the rituals, the toddler became upset, the young woman very hot, causing other members of the congregation to go and comfort them. In the background a child is asleep, impervious to all that is going on in front of him.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 03.2022
Date Uploaded: 10.2022
Photo Location: Cameroon
Copyright: © Siobhan Lavery