mole, part 1

mole national park was pure enjoyment. and heat. it was so hot, even at night, i'm telling you. anyways, our only activities were walking safaris and swimming in the pool (dont get too jealous- it was only 3 days). we were especially fortunate on our 2nd (sunrise) safari walk to find an elephant! we got so close to him and followed him around for awhile. i'm sure he loved that.


the warthogs were like squirrels at mole. seriously. still wild, but used to humans. they just trotted around, looking awkward.

sunset scenes from our first safari walk

more from the North

on our way to Mole National Park, we stopped in the tiny town of Larabanga, famous only because of its historic mosque. Historical accounts differ, but the structure is very ancient and is still in use today.

we walked through the no-man's-land right up to the Burkina Faso border. the mean French-speaking guards would not let us put a toe across the border (although some rogue members of our group may have accomplished this while the guards weren't looking)

another view of the mosque...

we visited the town of Paga to see this sacred pond full of harmless crocodiles. according to the myth, every meneber of the original royal family has a corresponding crocodile living in the area. they just wander around, and people dont mind them.we bought 2 chickens and sacrificed them to daddy and momma crocodile in order to justify our visit. our guide was quite sure we would all want to take photos with the crocs, so that's how i ended up sitting on the back of a large lizard

the donkeys were cuter, though. the local boys tolerated our ridiculous behaviour and let us ride the patient pack animals.



after Yendi, we headed down to Tamale for a few days. We visited Catholic Relief Services, World Vision, and a few others. We also ate amazing breakfasts and wandered the streets at nighttime. Patrick had his first Cliff bar! (NOT found in Ghana- Corrie had been carefully saving it for a special occasion)
pillow fight!

asian photo op

quintessential jumping photo

we really really enjoyed Tamale, especially at night. walking around the markets and talking to people was so great

rice, from an ngo we visited

yummy ginger drink (sort of like tea?) you can buy on the street. they put it in plastic bags and you bite off the corner and drink it

we tried to teach some Tamale kids how to dance like Americans (he he)

they had some incredible acrobatic skills

writing this 2 weeks later, it all feels so distant. my world is completely different now than it was then...infinitely more complicated. Tamale was good times.


the north: witches' camp

while in the north of ghana, near yendi, we visited a witches camp for the afternoon. this village is a safe haven where women accused of withcraft can find shelter. witchcraft accusations are very common, often arbitrarily levelled, but carry very serious consequences. every woman assembled at our meeting said that she was falsely accused, but now they all live here in exile from their families and hometowns.
the delightful, yet difficult, part of our visit was spending time with all the wonderful children who live in the village. they flocked to us, held our hands and sat in our laps, and tried to teach us Dagari, their language.

it was so hard to leave that evening. i just didnt feel right, and i think i was not alone in that sense. ive been wondering- what can i possibly do to make a differencein the lives of africans? short of monetary donations, or working at an ngo out in the bush, or doing humanitarian fundraising around the world...i have no conclusion. i feel rather more stumped by my options, or percieved lack thereof.

after a long pause...

well, once upon a time long ago, we went to the north of ghana for a week. it was wonderful- my favorite excursion by far. here is the compound of a female chief we visited. they were working on their corn harvest.
we used many, many latrines- toilets are not common at all in the very rural north of the country

and we went dancing! with our ghanaian friend richard. it was very fabulous.

here is patrick, ben, and naomi with our friend richard. he invited us to his house for the day and his family cooked us a delicious traditional meal of fufu

oh, wine parties!! back when we had time for such things. now its papers, research, papers, presentations, exams, and studying. did i mention research? with the power going off in accra every other day, its been very (VERY) difficult to get anything done. any prayers anyone can offer up would be very appreciated. 3 weeks from now, it'll be blissful free travel! more updates as soon as i can- i have tons of photos.