After the death of his father, who was a voodoo chief in the Sakpata convent, the Fâ appointed Badessi as his successor Sakpata is the God of earth and smallpox. If he is provoked he will harass mankind with contagious diseases.
Badessi refused to obey the Fâ. He wanted to leave his village to escape poverty and left for neighbouring country Nigeria to earn money for his family. Once there he heard that his child was ill. Despite this, he decided to stay in Nigeria.
Shortly after he received the message that his brother’s children were also ill with exactly the same symptoms.
Notwithstanding the appeals made by his family, Badessi once again refused to return and undertake the task of being chief of the convent. It was only when his brother died of the same disease that he hurried back to his home village Lalo.
The Fâ was once again consulted and reminded Badessi of his earlier given order to undertake the task of chief of the convent. The Fâ also decreed that his own child and his brother’s children, all girls, had to be initiated into the convent of Dan, the God of the water. Dan only accepts girls.
When Badessi, tells this story, he has not seen the children for more than two years. The girls are sitting on little rugs near his feet, silent, their legs stretched in front of them, their head bowed, with lowered eyes.
For the first time since their initiation they are outside the convent. Badessi has been given permission by Dan by way of exception.
As a symbol of their imprisonment the children have to keep their thumbs in their fists as long as they are outside the convent.
Twice, overcome by grief, Badessi has to stop his story. He throws himself full length on the ground in front of the children. They put their hands on this head to forgive him in the name of the Gods. They can and may not make another movement. In order to have them stand up, Badessi has to lightly move their shoulders up and down seven times, as if he wants to pull them upright. By doing this, he asks the Gods for permission. When they have to sit down again, he has to push their shoulders seven times. Badessi cannot not liberate the children because he has not yet saved the money for the sacrifices. Till that time he will not see the girls again.