Carnival is still going strong somewhere in Salvador, but for me, Ash Wednesday began on Sunday. On the morning of March 2, a beloved elder, mentor, spiritual guide and friend, Valdete Ribeiro dos Santos, better known as Detinha de Xangô and Obá Gesim, passed on and became an ancestral spirit. She was best known for her gorgeous orixá dolls, an art and craft that she handed down to her daughter-in-law, Maria Izabela “Bezita” dos Santos Silva, but for the Ilê Axé Opô Afonjá community, she was a haven, a consolation, a font of ancestral wisdom. Irreplaceable. R.I.P.
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