West Africa 2005-Ghana, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali travel blog

NIce building in Ouagadougou-sahel

Street scene Ouagadougou

Students discussing a problem-Can anyone tell what they are working on?

Art center in Ouagadougou-wonderful bronz statue

Artistic fabrics

Wonderful trees

Me and undependable motorcycle on way to visit a Lobi village near...

Lobi village scene from roof

Young people at village

Group of Lobi kids

Lobi boy enjoying the visit

Young band but good...we all danced

Old woman mining for gold

Red-haired boy at Gaoura market-there are a few

Lobi woman at market

Getting her hair braided

Friendly guy at Gaoura market

Mossi village near Ouagadougou on way to Goram Goram

My rented Toyota on the way to Goram Goram-unpaved about 1/2 of...

Mosques in Bani....very wonderful site

Detail on mosque

Some of the 7

City of Bani

More gold mining

Pretty gold miner

Friendly man at Goram Goram market

Kid at market...nice haircut...note the scars

Puel man at market

Another

Puel coming to market

Another wonderful tree...a baobub

Goat department...note hats are Puel

Some Tuareg

Shopping as a family

Goram Goram faces

Goram Goram faces

Goram Goram faces

Goram Goram faces

Goram Goram faces

Goram Goram faces

Goram Goram faces

Tuareg

Hard to convince her to be photographed but I am glad she...

Goram Goram faces

Goram Goram faces

Lunch, beer and soap opera (african style)

It says "cusine"...this is the kitchen (clucking suddenly stopped here)

It really does work to keep the dust out of your nose

North of Goram Goram on the way to Gao...the sahara starts to...

North of Goram Goram it is difficult to scatch out a living

She will have a hard life

Mosque at Bobo-Dioulasso

mosque again

"Sunday" school room

Laundry service...not mine!!!!!!

This same game is played all over the world


Hi Everyone!!

I am hoping some of you will write your comments and send them to the blog....do it!!!!!

Ouagadougou (Mossi People)

On 3 Feb I flew Burkina Air to Ouagadougou. It is a very nice airline and everything worked very well. At first it looked very impressive but now tha I have been here a while it seems a little scary....lot of street people and my guide book says stay in nights so I will try to. It is much cooler here. There are far fewer street sellers here...they almost only sell phone cards here. A few older topless women.

West Africa is not a cheap place to travel. A basic hotel can be about 20-30;;;;Food ( beyond street food) is a lot too. Taxis add up. There are no zemi jons here ('motorcycle taxis)

My Hotel here has an ATTACHED toilet seat.....luxury....also hot water....very small....cost about 16000 (32);;;;;a big rip. I have been enjoying some classic books I find in the book stores here.;;;;Dickens, Joyce, others; Read and outstanding book on youth and children workers.....says they dont like the movement to stop their ability to work but they ony want a lighter job, some time to play, time off if they get sick and RESPECT;,,,,,I will bring it home.

Spent about half a day trying to find the National Museum.....saw many grand government building with 5 or 6 guards sleeping while guarding...but nothing going on....finally found it but it was closed on Monday....ill go back tomorrow...went to the good hotels and they didnt know where...finally found out at the University where I waw a great IDEA;;;;They have several blackboards w chalk around where the students hang out....they can easily discuss their subjects and ideas....i saw it in action.....how about for UWL???? The musee was very good.

Lots of their foreign trade dollars are spent on wine I notice...too bad.

Here is an Idea that might help some of our heavier western girls and women feel better.....Think how hard it must be for the thin western Africa girls;;;;watch robust women on T.V., in ads, etc.

The big Market here was new when it was destroyed by fire;;;;;in 2003.....waiting to rebuild but people are marching in the streets to get it rebuilt soon!!!

Some do the four kiss thing when meeting. I tried it with my cab driver

More moslems here....always seems to be a group of money changers near the mosque. reminded of the bible story. lots of cous cous on the menue.

Gaoura (Lobi People)

It is always hard for me to cast off and head out into the unknown. Will I find a place to sleep, will the food be rotten, will I be able to get back, etc. Ate breakfast and peed at the first bus stop; Breakfast was a piece of Frencd bread and a coke (delic and nutric) Gave my unfinished bread to a skinny little girl in exchange for an excited smile. Peed with all the guys near a big tree. Sahile is almost desert....not much value to farm...but they get something out of it.....wonderfol houses with short silos topped with pointed grass roofs. Mossi tribe. Whent to Gaoura for the market and to see the Lobi people....Lobis are very interesting..a long two day process; Early start on TRS Bus line...got worried when I could not find bottled water but I finally did..... 10 hour bus ride but the hotel was really very nice!!

Hired a guide.....a 30 yo guy who says he is a guide, anyway. Long bargaining session...but I am getting smarter..

First he wanted car 50,000 (US100), Guide 20,000, I pay gas

I said forget it, i will go on my own

He said motorcycle 6000, guide 10,000, I pay gas

I said motor cycle 5000, guide 5000 and I pay gas

Is thatAAALLL I will be paying...photos, etc?

He said yes

I said OK;;;;meet me at 7 am

We arrived at 7:30;;;;He needed gas and wanted me to pay;;;;;long discssion;;;;i wanted a full tank on arrival;;;;no money;;;;I paid 5000 in gas and that woul be ALL the gas I will pay.....I measured the heigth of gs in the tank before we filled it to see how¨"dishonest" he was so I could compare it at the end....he did not like that

he needed coffee...I paid

We cycled for 45 minutes interestig scenery;;;;but the cycle started to stall....had to push it up the hills

Oh....he forgot to tell me of the village chiefs fees;;;;one was 2000 and the otherv 3000

He did pay them something....maybe about500.

Got to Lobi village;;;;;wonderfull;;;;;few middle aged adults because they were at work in the fields;;;;lots of naked, dirty kids;;;;;older teenagers played Lobi music and the were wonderful;;;;we all danced::::this was not fake:::::we enjoyed some good music and they loved to dance;;;;;;wonderful houses;;;;wait until you see them

45 minutes of driving and stalling back to the big market;;;;was a let down after the village

Time to eat???of course I paid

Settled ouragreed upon deal and he wanted a tip, of course, I was very happy with the village visits and I gave him a tip .....I measured the gas and we used about 2000 worth....he gained another 3000

You probobly think I am silly dealing this way.......think of what the cost would have been if I did not watch the deal closely.......EVERY transaction is this way....all day...every day

Bani (Puel Tuarg People)

This was wonderful!!!! 7 moslem temples built in Sahel style (mud cvering frame and wooden spikes sticking out) The 7 temples face mecca and are placed in the shape of a mosque. reminds me of BageN in Myanmar but much less extravigant; Wait until you PHOTOS OF it.

Stayed in Dori which is about a four hour dirt road drive beyond....very primitive but clean hotel and very dirty restaurant....yuck....smell of rotten food and a goat head near entry since that is where the butchered it.

Goram-Goram

Before the market we drove 'rented car)to the North almost to the border of Mali to find a Taurag village....these are the blue men of the Sahara...the dudes that took camels across the desert to get salt. That was very valuable and was the riches on which the fantastic cities (at tht time) were built.....Timbuctu, Gao, Bani, Djenne, Mopti. The are nomatic and we found only abandonded villages but there are still a few around...I met some at the market..i especially like them...they are very good salesmen...remind me of Kashmieries.....men ride camels women ride ass. Men wear long sheath dresses and scarf/head wrap to keep the sun off and the dust away...often a blue color. Talkedd with a two brother team...older (about 35) and younger (about 23). To make conversation (sign lang and French) I asked the older if he was married and had kids...he said yes...had three sons.....asked the younger if he was married....the older answered by saying no and moving his loosely closed fist up and down and we all laughed

The market was filled with several colorful tribes who live on the Sahel-Peule, Belle a few Mossi and Tuareg....good photos and I bought a cloth to make my turbin too keep the dust off my face...it really works

TURBINED MAN SAID HELLO TO ME AND i smiled and said hello.....to show me his smile he pulled the fabric away from his face

There are about 10 kids that follow me around in the market making it a circus...when I want to take a photo I need to point my camera at the WRONG thing....the kids immediately run over to get in the photo.....the I quickly point it at the thing I really want to get a photo of and snap it before the kids can reposition themselves

Manega (Mossi)

Visited a museum here devoted to the Mossi culture....interesting

Bobo-diolasso (Bobo)

I went to the bus statin eary in Ouagadougou to figure out how this bus worked. A young man (6 foot 5 inches tall-150 lbs weight-luggage worker) noticed me and took it on himself to make sure everything went well for me...that is typical of people here..very nice

On bus ride we went thru one town at moslem prayer time...for some reason some men prayed in the middle of the road so the bus had to find a way thru the dusty streets to go around them....sot of like the Christian right

The French really travel a lot!!!! I know they have a lot of vacation time, but how do the get the diposable incomes with their very high taxes?

Nice city...a little touristy....All French tourists here....I like to say "howdy" when I meet them...they immediately think of Geo Busch and we get started immediately on the wrong foot...saves a lot of time pussy-footing around. Music and dance is the thing here!!!!! Bobo and Lobi love music and dance; Anyone interested in music, I supse, knows this music and dance but it is newto me and wonderful. Hired a big musculr guy from my hotel to take me "out on the town" (bodyguard and guide). Say a gathering og hundreds of people in an open space listening to music and dancing...was a sort of circular line dance...almost all women;;;;some with baby on back...all ages (mostly younger than Jerry);;;;they love to dance.....went to a few bars with recorded music and ended at Bamboo....live traditional drum band...WILD and WONDERFU....also Faatastic energitic young women dancers;;;;how can they keep it up????

Otherwise usual musee, crafts, marshee (market), etc

Soon I go back to Ouagadougou and fly to Maki (Bamako)

They work here in the morning until noon. Then break until about 3:00 and work into the evening.....avoid the HOT midday by taking a nap in the shade....mny eat a late supper...after 8:00.

Lots of Foosseball games around; Kids love to roll tires;

I think a farmer from Rajestan India would have A LOT in common with these guys...even the houses are a lotalike

Every bus stop has a good number of young skinny kids with cans begging for food or money....I gave 100 (20 cents) to one who cryed when he got it. I run out of change and smaller bills very quickly. Does anyone need a kid or two;;;;I am sure I could find you some. sometimes when I try to give to one others rush over and ther is a tussle;...LOrd of the Flys

seeing different people around the world (Asians, Austroasian, Euros, African, etc causes me to wonder about the origion of man...now the think there were several sources and that they may have mixed in different ways...or was it Ham, Shem? and Jacob

Fly to Mali on Burkina Air

I am not too excited about some of the art but I do like the Tureg leather work. there are several masks and several carvings that are wonderful

On being here I appreciate how fragile the economic system is here and how any political or natural problem can cause mass starvation....MANY peole have NO money in their pockets untill they sell the next phone card or box of kleenex;

There are many patterns for facial scars...some are very interesting. Used to identify who you are partially

Tody I saw a woman very dressed up with beautiful bright patterned dress and matchig turbin....she was on her Honda Wave scooter.....she made me think of Beverly on her way to a club meeting

Mossi people around Ouaga....Bobo people around Bobo-D Some people have special joking relationships with each other;;;;;like the Norwegians or the Poles;;;;;Twins are VERY special here too....special place in heirarchy for them

This is the region of the "talking drums" (remember the movies)....the used and still do send messages by drum

Beverly was right;;;;;the special shirts are better;;;;;best copy this or I wont admit it again

the help children learn the zilaphone-like insrument by naming the "keys"...small to large...chick, hen, rooster, puppy, dog,,,,,,,,,finally elephant

Share taxis are a good idea and much better than our system of renting the entire car

If these young kids get immunities from their mothers milk, why cant we "fortify" our mothers milk? Any doctors out there

Policemen get a lot of respect here;;;;;lots of bowing and scraping....the have a lot of arbitrary power

Most travelers here are from France....almosy none from USA....should our Universitirs require 2 months in a developing country for graduation?

Ate on the road.....ordered riz and chicken......" minutes later I heard some frenzied clucking suddenly stop.....fresh food

Many government buildings have very long names......"Bureau for the advancement and improvement of ground nuts"

I showed some kids my magic trick......they really ate it up.....but none would come near me after that

I love Baobub Trees

Their seems to be a lot of waste that comes from not maintaining the investments already made

People pump water very energetically and pump air into tires the same...they jump with their legs and force the handle down with straight arms

People ride asses from the back seat...they sit on the asses rear end

Met Japanese "peace corp. Two years here was trying to improve the trees. he says he likes the food but will return home in two months and have sushy

The sahel is a hard place to be a farmer....very hard to grow anything...most raise energetic fopppy eared goats, some asses, a few long horned humpbacked skinny cattle, and very few camels. Burkina Faso is one of the worlds poorest country...157 of 162 in Human developement indexes..have no natural resoures to developeThe asses are really powerful for their size...pull very heavy loads...but dont seem very trainable....lostly they seem to react by being hit very hard with a big stick...could that be where the saying "dumb ass" came from?

That,s all the random thoughts for now-Burkina Faso



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