|About the Book|
Just leave the tree-trunk alone, the beetle is crawling out. This Bawong proverb means: surrender to the divine course. Man must not start tugging at this tree, the beetle is already busy cleaning it up. In 1967, Tony van Buren went as a missionary-sponsored anthropologist to the Bawong of the Congo, neighbours of the Lele made famous by Mary Douglas, initially to investigate her contentions about the non-religious reasons for the missions success there. Like Douglas, he found his encounter there to be the most important of his life. Stalled by the prospect of presenting beliefs he could not believe to be true, van Burens outlook was changed by his own authentic Bawong experience: a dream in which he was visited by the tribal chief and his wife. Simultaneously attempting to do justice to both European and Bawong points of view, and incorporating stories from over half the inhabitants of his host village, this is a magical-realistic travel story through the land of the Bawong from a man experiencing overlapping beliefs.