Monday, January 30, 2012

Ghana Photo Chronicles

The 100 ft high, swinging rope bridge at Kakum National Park, is held by cables attached to the biggest trees.
Joakim making his swaying way. After awhile, all you could do was marvel at the amazing perspective it gave you.
Next time, I plan to sleep in a tree-house the park offers and take the canopy walk at dawn when the forest is filled with birds.
My favorite tree- I have no idea what it is

One of the most unusual trees I have ever seen

With its dread-like seedpods
Closer up
From Elmina Slave Castle in Oguaa (Cape Coast). This is where Europeans first made contact with- what was to become the Gold Coast- then Ghana
The University of Ghana in Legon
In Kasoa- this image stays with me.
Buying smoked fish at the makola- the vendors were very friendly- mostly Ga like Joakim
Slice of life in Accra
This one cracks me up. Could the guy look any more desirous? This very popular movie series is described as "sexy, sassy and full of wahala"- which is pidgin for "trouble". Note the sign for church organist training below it.
The makola in Accra- multiply this 100 times and add loud music coming from multiple directions to begin to get a 360 degree sense of this thriving marketplace.
Kente cloth, native to the Akan people of Ghana and Ivory Coast, decorates a roadway.
This is the scene from the Cape Coast Slave Castle- which I will write about in the future. A beautiful beach, but tragic story.
These are the last photos from Ghana I will be posting for awhile. Working now on some video! Stay tuned. someone on FB recently said-
"My favorite new, flower teacher"
Queen of the Night...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ghanaian Portraits

Joakim Lartey- Best Life Partner!
At the marketplace in Kasoa

The matriarch, Emily Lartey with adopted son Evans and his fiancee Patience

Near Shai Hills- When the kids saw me they took my picture so it was easy to ask if I could take theirs.

Jamiles, Joakim's brother-in-law Tony and his daughter Naana

Jamiles, his Grandma Emily and Joakim
Joakim's sister Naadu with Jamiles
Kids in Accra

En route from Kasoa to Accra- This was the reaction after I waved

Joakim's niece, Naana- as someone called her "The Future President of Ghana"

 The Patriarch, "Over to You!" Joe Lartey- respected and beloved by Ghanaians everywhere!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Selected Flora and Fauna of Ghana,West Africa

These photos start and end with the Queen of the Night- an amazing flower we had the honor of seeing on three different nights. Each flower blooms for one night only. All that exquisite showiness for a few sweet hours. They certainly reign in the night!

I also caught some baboons, unidentified pink flowers, a beach path, a tiny owl (Elf Owl?) with a mouse, ostriches, an Agama agama (the brilliant lizard), a termite hill, a fresh almond and a crock! I was going to add trees to this, but decided the amazing trees of Ghana deserve a separate post!

A word on the owl. I got that shot on our last night at the beautiful, ocean-side, eco-resort Kasapa Center, outside of Accra. Proprieters Kofi and Susanne are good friends and true visionaries. They began creating this green, sustainable "village-like" resort about ten years ago. They combine traditional African architecture with the latest technologies, such as solar electricity, a bio-dynamic sewage system and modern hygienic compost toilets that work great.

The beauty of the place is only matched by the attentive and caring staff. Everyday, we ate delicious food under a big open air, thatched roof pavilion. One night when Kofi alerted me to the presence of the owl, I left the dining table to get this shot. When I  came back, I mentioned that I knew some African people were afraid of owls. My dear sister-in-law, Naadu said, "All of them are!"

At that point one of the staff looked over my shoulder at the picture. "Oh my, was that taken in our country?" she asked. "Yes, I just took it right over there." She let out a shriek and ran to the kitchen laughing. Susanne and Kofi said they are seeing their night visitor in a new way and are enjoying catching glimpses of him. So I hope I helped rehabilitate the image of the owl a little bit.

We felt blessed to spend our last few days at Kasapa, a slice of heaven, where the Queen of the Night flower presaged the emergence of the true Queen of the Night!

All photos and artwork by Barbara Upton
more photos on Facebook

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ghana Travels

 Along the road from Oguaa to Accra- the reaction after I waved.     B Upton

Enjoying my month stay in sunny, vibrant Ghana. We are visiting family and soaking up the sun and warm hospitality for which Ghanaians are renown. Here is a little photo essay to give you a taste of this beautiful West African country.

God's Grace Barberings- You often see scripture embedded in business names- one of my favorites- "Forgive them God They Know Not What They Do Saloon" 

A slow day (Sunday) at Kaneshie Market

This is Accra's central market, down the street. There are 8 million here and on any given day they all seem to be at the Makola

Ghana National Museum
The first is a mask used by the Gelede cult dedicated to paying homage to the spiritual power of elderly and ancestral women. I like that cult. Next to it is a Chi-Wara headdress depicting a half human half antelope that was thought to have taught the ancestors how to farm. The Chi-Wara dance always had a male representing the sun and a female the earth to ensure an abundant farming season. Below are traditional woodcarvings representing communal ideas, myth and proverbial sayings.

And I will leave you for now with some refreshing pictures from the rainforest at Kakum. We had fun walking 100 feet above the ground on swinging rope bridges. The trees and plant life were gorgeous.


My step son Jamiles called this tree the Tree of Souls from Avatar!
It did look magical.

Next time- photos and a thoughts on the Cape Coast Slave Castle. One of the most moving experiences I've had since arriving on Xmas day.