Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lived in a mud hut in Africa

While stationed with VITA, in Burkina Faso, I lived in a mud hut with a grass roof. My humble hut was located about 10 miles outside of the capital city of Ouagadougou. Just enough room for a bed and a small table. A mosquito net kept most of the bugs out at night! No running water, but there was a pump... so cold showers! And a hole in the ground surrounded by a woven grass mat fence served as the bathroom.

No electricity either! So I used the light of a kerosine lamp to write in my journal. Was really very enjoyable for on the night of the full moon, the villages in the surrounding area were alive with the sound of drums and singing! And in the dark of the moon, the air was so clear and the stars seemed so close that it felt as though one could just reach out and touch them.

While living in Mali ..... I encountered....

A real fetisher .... or witch doctor! What was amazing about this picture, the sun had already set, so it was getting dark in the village. I snapped the picture .... no flash! I thought for sure, the picture would be so dark that the witch doctor would not ever be visible.

Someone worked some very special magic that night to make this photo come out the way it did! And it certainly was not me!

Imperial China

Dressed for a Minnesota winter, I climbed The Great Wall on a cold, rainy day in March 2008.

Using great care, I slowly pushed open the massive door leading to a place I was not to enter ...... The Forbidden City in Beijing.

Feeling like the Emperor himself, I strolled around the mystical grounds of The Forbidden City.

On a foggy morning, I slowly walked along the mote, that for centuries has been protecting The Forbidden City from common folk like me.

Been to La Grande Mosque in Djenne

The largest mud mosque in the world, originally built in the 13th century. In 1988 La Grande Mosque de Djenne, located in Mali, West Africa was designated a World Heritage Site.

The current structure was built in 1907.

While stationed in southern Mali as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I traveled to Dejenne and visited this incredible structure. That's me.... looking out from the highest turret of the mosque.

The town of Djenne is situated on an island in the Niger River. Legend has it that whenever someone tried to build on this island, floods or earthquakes would destroy the buildings. A witch doctor was consulted and advised the daughter of the Chief should be sacrificed. A wall was built around the island, and she was entombed alive in the wall. Above photo marks the location in the wall where the young girl was placed....