Friday, November 9, 2012


Grandma Tildy had no interest in elephants, but we sure did.
It was our fondest hope that our northern trip would conclude with some
close encounters with real live, wild elephants.  So we went to 
Mole (Molay) national park, where, we were told, the elephants roam freely,
along with many other African animals.
And so we went, with hopes sky high...

We started out with a crocodile,

some affectionate baboons,


warthogs (doesn't this one just look like a lady?),

and kobs, but all we could find of the elephants were

their footprints...
they make big footprints.

On our disappointed way out of Mole Park, we stopped to see one of the oldest
mosques in Sub-Saharan Africa.  This mosque was built in the 1400s, before John Calvin was even born.

Who can resist a picture of twins?

We concluded our trip with a visit to the bead making place we missed on the first day (we passed
it right by and didn't notice until it was too late).  These beads are made out of bauxite,
the raw material for aluminum.  Here's what it looks like when it starts.  Not too impressive.

But if you chop the stones into smaller pieces,

drill holes in them,

string them up,

and sand them on a grinding stone,....

well, they're still not very impressive.  But hey, they are round and they have holes in them.  If you're shooting
for that natural, earthy look, then bauxite beads are for you.
And so ended our northern trip.  We tried out kente cloth weaving, 
stamped adinkra symbols onto traditional cloth, met with farmers, both men and women, 
talked with a village savings group, watched the process of shea butter making, 
danced and sang with children in a rural school, drank fermented pito at another village,
visited a drip irrigation project, watched young women as they learned to sew
on cement bags before moving on to real cloth, wandered into Burkina Faso, practiced
making bauxite beads, saw some cool African animals, 
and rode on the back of a crocodile.  

But no elephants...

Still, it was a very good trip!!!!

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