Tag Archives: Belle

New Musée d’Ethnographie de Genève Opens — 31 October



New Musée d’Ethnographie de Genève Opens — 31 October

The new Musée d’Ethnographie de Genève (MEG) in Switzerland is opening at the end of this month. The old cramped museum closed its doors in September 2010. The new building (shown above), will be inaugurated on October 31, 2014. 1.000 objects from the MEG’s permanent collection are on display.

Its first exhibitions, free to the public, begin 1 November 2014, and include not only the above-noted display entitled “The Archives of Human Diversity” but also “The Mochica Kings: Divinity and Power in Ancient Peru” running from 1 November 2014 – 15 May 2015.

The MEG has one of Switzerland’s two biggest ethnographic collections: some 80,000 objects and 300,000 books and documents including images, photographs, audiovisual and sound recordings. Collected over several centuries, these holdings are divided into five departments according to the objects’ geographical provenance (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania). The museum’s ethnomusicology department is of worldwide scope and boasts a specialized library.

The displays have seven main sections: a historical introduction, a separate section for each continent, and one devoted to ethnomusicology.

The Autumn edition of Tribal Art Magazine features an interesting overview of the museum’s holdings by Boris Wastiau, the museum’s director (73: 76-85). You can read about all planned festivities here.

Ebola Update: All Poro Groups Now Involved in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea

Ebola virus (shown spewing from an infected cell) does not recognize ethnic or political borders.


October 11, 2014

Ebola Update

Neil Carey

All Poro ethnic groups in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea have now had cases of Ebola.

• In Liberia, the rural district of Gbarpolu, has reported its first two confirmed cases. This is home to some Gola, Kpelle, Belle, Gbandi and Mende people (Map 3).

• As of 7 October, all ethnic groups in Liberia have become involved, although SE Grand Bassa County (Bassa) and Maryland County (Grebo) have not had any active cases reported in the 3 weeks prior (according to WHO). The case in Grand Gedeh (Kran) that was reported on 19 September was not included on the map below.

• NE Sierra Leone and much of northern Guinea have also not reported any new cases during the 3-week incubation period prior to 19 September.

 There is still no significant headway being made in the fight against Ebola. A total of 8399 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of Ebola virus disease have been reported in seven affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the United States of America) up to the end of 8 October. There have been 4033 deaths (WHO UPDATE).

• Medical infrastructure strain and social unrest continues, particularly in Liberia and Sierra Leone. These factors inhibit containment efforts.

• When American healthcare workers (HCW) Dr. Kent Brantley and Nancy Writebol became ill, there were difficulties in securing medivac from Liberia. This highlighted the dual problems of inadequate training of HCW and inadequate infrastructure to support aid workers. These problems continue, and have many negative side-effects on recruitment capacity, medical infrastructure resilience, and translocation risk. Local containment efforts will continue to be inhibited until these problems are addressed.

 For some unknown reason, Côte d”Ivoire has yet to report a case. Many people wonder if this is not due to a failure to report. Although there have been no new cases of Ebola reported in Grand Gedeh County (Kran territory) since an infected man from Ganta (Mano land) became ill in Zwedru, active and new cases have occurred along the Ivorian border with N’Zerekoré, Guinea, and Nimba, River Gee and Grand Kru Counties, Liberia.The risk of movement of infected individuals to Cote d’Ivoire is increasing.

• These problems contribute to the growing global scale of the problem. It is almost certain that there will be new global infections involving HCW treating aid workers (such as those reported in Spain) and in the United States, for as long as foreign HCW working in West Africa are unable to obtain local treatment, and West African borders remain porous (which they will).

• The potential remains for re-emergence in countries making progress towards containment. This ‘twin peaks’ nature of distribution has historically been observed around Ebola outbreaks, and has already occurred in Guinea and as we’ve noted in Foya, Liberia.

• There seems to be a general mistrust of the data, and there remains concerns about information suppression and incomplete public health data.

Figure 1 shows the location of cases throughout the countries with widespread and intense transmission. In Liberia, the rural district of Gbarpolu, has reported its first two confirmed cases (WHO).

Advice for African Art Dealers, Collectors, Travelers:

Although we’ve briefly discussed the issue of decontamination of objects and the wisdom of avoiding possible exposure to newly arrived travelers from West Africa, the following advice meant for physicians is useful:

• When asking a travel history, TRUST BUT VERIFY and err on the side of caution.

• Significant lack of data and active information suppression in West Africa is inhibiting accurate assessments.  This is a poor indicator.  Epidemic curves now falsely show a “peaking out” of cases.  This is not the reality.  Things remain very much completely out of control.

• Several African nations have resumed flights to Liberia.  This is an exceedingly poor decision according to infectious disease experts.

• As noted above, there are new cases popping up along the NW border of Côte d’Ivoire.  We are waiting for a declaration of Ebola involvement in this country, coming by water from across the Cavally River or from newly re-established flight connections.

• There are reports of West Africans who have successfully fled by airplane to Colombia, and reported intercepts at the southern border of the US.  Some of this information requires verification, but if true, it is obviously a point of concern for the involved states, and this is no longer just an East Coast problem.

Ebola Update

October 6, 2014

125 Belle-Gbandi-Loma 5in

Belle (Kuwaa) face mask. Kpawolozu, Liberia. 12¾ inches (23 cm). Used when a Poro Zo died, it was shared with the neighboring Loma and Gbandi.

Despite the continuing fears of the public and against general medical opinion, U.S. officials continue to downplay the possibility of an Ebola outbreak occurring here.

The multiple medical errors in Dallas that resulted in a symptomatic, contagious Ebola patient being sent home from the emergency room are the norm, not an exception. To expect otherwise is unrealistic. Omissions, errors, failures in communication, judgmental lapses…that’s reality in any primary medical setting.

60% of nurses polled say we are unprepared. An overwhelming percentage of physicians polled by Sermo last week said we are unprepared to detect and contain Ebola.

I envision the following scenario: A Liberian (Loma, Kissi, etc.) who is incubating Ebola virus in his body goes to Robbins Field in Monrovia for a trip to the US (or France, or the U.K.). If remembering to do his job, an airport worker asks if our traveler had been caring for an Ebola victim. He says no. An inaccurate temperature reading is taken by a handheld thermometer waved in front of his forehead, and is declared “normal”. No surprise, as he took ibuprofen. He flies on cramped airplanes, and after two layovers arrives in Newark or JFK or Heathrow or Orly. He takes public transportation to “Little Liberia” on Staten Island, or to Philladelphia, or Paris, or London, where he then lives in crowded quarters with extended family or friends.

When our traveler gets nausea, vomiting, belly pain and diarrhea he goes to the nearest urgent care, walk-in clinic, drugstore or emergency room. Eventually he is briefly seen by a nurse or P.A. or medical student, maybe even by a physician. Being just one more in a long line of patients seen that day with identical symptoms he is reassured, maybe given a Rx for unnecessary antibiotics, told to keep hydrated, and to take some Tylenol or Motrin for fever and Imodium for diarrhea.

He goes back to his dwelling where he continues to spread virus. Eventually he makes it back to the hospital via ambulance.

The number of people he has already infected is staggering. The public health system and the hospital may be able to trace many of his contacts, but certainly not all. Public apologies are made downplaying the incident and pointing out how the reason for this mistake has been remedied.

And he is just one person. Remember those 395 Ebola cases in West Africa that were all traced back to just one traditional healer in Sokoma, Sierra Leone? Sure it’s a different culture, but the virus doesn’t know that.

The condition of Mr. Duncan, the Dallas patient, has been downgraded from serious to critical. Here is his timeline, as reported by the NY Times (data from USAID):

Screenshot 2014-10-06 17.44.47

Today Reuters reported that there is a “high risk” of Ebola spreading to the U.K. and France by the end of October. WIth no changes made in current containment efforts, there’s a 75% chance the virus will hit France by Oct 24, and a 50% of it reaching Britain by then. If flight restrictions are implemented, the numbers fall to 25 and 15%.

A Spanish woman is the first person to contract Ebola outside of Africa. She was one of the many health professionals in Spain who cared for a priest and a missionary who became ill in Africa and were flown home for treatment. She became sick on September 30, but wasn’t hospitalized until October 1.

In an ironic twist, people in Sierra Leone are raging over the delay in picking up and disposing of corpses, whereas just last month villagers were attacking workers for attempting to collect and bury bodies. This speaks well for community education efforts, though not for public health responses.

In the meanwhile, the exponential growth of the disease continues in West Africa. The hardest hit areas continue to be the homes of the Loma, Gbandi, Belle, Mende, Kissi, Kpelle, Mano and Dan.

Screenshot 2014-10-06 17.53.32