Tuesday, April 7, 2009

So first I should start with an apology to our fans: sorry we have been delinquent with our posts. But here is a recap.

After Ai left, Mo and I headed back to Burkina Faso for a mini vacation, but I guess we needed a reminder about how tiring vacation can often be. In Ouaga we just hung out in the luxury (TV and half-working A/C) of our hotel and ate some great food. In the picture below (bottom center photo) you can see that we feasted on french bread, strawberries (yes, Burkina has a strawberry season!), olives, mangos, pears, local yogurt (our favorite), goat cheese (also locally made), and a huge bag each of cashews and sugar coated peanuts. We were in heaven. We went back to the good brick oven pizza place and had goat cheese pizza and beer (the SoBBra pic). Then, we decided to take the train from Ouga to Bobo since it was described as a "pleasant"ride and we thought it sounded all romantic and such. . . well, I guess we forgot the whole "it is still in West Africa" part because I can’t say it was all that "pleasant"!  If we had taken a trotro it would have been around a 5 hour ride; the train took 11!  Plus add people chomping on chicken bones all around us, the battle of music being played loudly on several people's phones and the general inconsiderate pushing nature of west african transit. That all being said, it was not "pleasant" as the book said but rather long and arduous (Mo: much like a Monty Python anything). Then when we arrived in the Bobo station we had to fight to get off the train because people mobbed it trying to get on (the train continues to Ivory Coast).  I had to punch and push my way through the crowd to get free (good thing dad taught me how to throw them elbows in soccer!).  It was actually kinda scary, I was on the steps debarking when a flood of people was released and they all came running at me.  I went to take the last step to reach the ground and they pushed me back on my butt and started to trample over me (Mo was still on the train trying to get our bag) so I threw ‘bows and started to punch people in order to free myself and stand up. I waited a good five minutes for Mo to get free of the train and apparently he had a similar experience in the cab of the train (one guy who was also trying to leave was attempted to crawl through him while the flood entering was pushing him from the other direction as well).  I would not recommend train travel in West Africa!

That being said we ate some veggie pizza when we arrived at our hotel and watched 90210 and Dawson's Creek dubbed in French(two shows I wouldn’t normally watch in the US, I think I actually used the word "excited" when I saw what was on!). Bobo had a couple of supermarkets nearby our hotel and so we had (top left pic) hummus and baba in a can (not too bad when you are craving them), Kracks (aka non Frito-Lay approved Pringles), and sachet milk (you can get anything in a sachet here!).

Bobo was really cool and we did “touristy” things there like go to a museum which was described as being full of masks and information on local tribes, but had a visiting “special” exhibition that was more about Switzerland than anything else (did you know they use masks in celebrations in Switerland?). But they did have permanent examples of different housing styles (below the top left photo is of me and Mo sitting in a Fulani hut). We also went to a woman’s cooperative where they turn gross plastic bags (which are off-puttingly referred to as “rubbers” here. “Yes, Madame, I would like a rubber for my food,” or “Please put your bananas in this rubber,”) into fabric which is then sewn into handbags. Pretty cool.

So now back to Ghana. For my mom, I have included some pics of our house (complete with goats and everything!), but let me explain. Working clockwise from the top left, our beautiful pink house. Next is the sink and stove set up where the ants decided to move their home that time. Next (bottom right) is the hallway. Bottom center is the bathroom/toilet rooms and the big green container is full so that when the water “is finished” (aka, our connection is cut) we can still flush the toilet and wash our pretty faces. Finally, Bottom left is our living room with is currently functioning also as an office, lab, and bedroom (it has become so hot at night that we now sleep on the living room floor).  

The next pics are of Mo with a goat (no surprise), a stall in Bongo market, and the bats that apparently live in the trees shading the market (makes me want to wash my produce a little more carefully now that I have noticed them living up there).

Below are some of my favorite Bongo moments. I have started to take weaving lessons (as you can see) and my teacher (Apuko, pictured with me) is really nice. I love being in their workspace and just listening to the chatter of women (even though I don’t know what is being said). There is something about the rhythm and tone of a group of women hanging out that is just so comforting! Then, I was able to help some women out in Feo plaster one of the local houses and, I guess as a result, was challenged to a dance off (and yes, I was “served”)

The day of plastering ended with drinking pito with the cheif (no surprise there) and listening to this “small boy” play the local guitar with such awe-inspiring skill. Two strings, a few bottle caps, half a calabash and a dead goat are all he requires for a 45 minute show. He’s making ours as we speak.


Anonymous said...

Busy, busy, busy!

Not to be pushy, but when are y'all coming back to the States? I got a question for you... Check your email (gmail) when you can...

Anonymous said...

Bubba? Wow, long time no see! How long have you been in Ghana? What are you working on there? Just wanted to say hello and wish you two the best of luck over there! Take care :)