Passing Time with Primates in Tafi Atome

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September 12th 2006
Published: September 12th 2006
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Ventured back to the Volta last weekend.

September 9: Arrived in Tafi Atome, I discovered that the only accomodation in the village was occupied by a small group of Danish volunteers. This initially disheartening revelation soon turned into an opportunity, and a very kind local invited me to stay at her home for the evening! I will not even attempt to spell her name, it was very peculiar, but she was incredibly hospitable and I immediately felt at home in her small place. Before she served supper, I ventured into the village (which was populated by no more than 1,000 people by my estimate) and weaved my way through mud-and-thatch houses, marveling at young boys making kente and old women cooking palm oil. I quickly attracted a flock of young children, who yelled and giggled with excitement whenever I acknowledged their presence, and several curious adults. I eventually decided to take out my camera and ask an older man for permission to photograph the village, and with the little English he spoke, he replied that I was welcome to snap away. Showed the children my camera, and after taking a picture of four in the immediate area, turned to show them the image on the LCD screen. Caused quite a commotion. The children went wild with excitement and it seemed every young child in the area (some partially clothed, some naked as the day they were born) wanted to strike a pose for the camera. Needless to say, I got some great shots of the children and myself and, when I was satisfied with my pictures, a man volunteered to take me around the village and explain (with broken English, for most people in this town speak only their dialect of the Ewe language) the various activities occuring just beyond the thatched fences and mud walls.

I later returned to my hostess' humble residence to feast on - what else - rice and sauce, at times being interupted by a boom of gunfire. Pushing the frames of her thick black Buddy Holly glasses with her index finger, the woman explained that a village child had been killed by a snake the previous day while walking to school. The people of the village were conducting the service nearby, honoring his life by firing old muskets every hour.

September 10:Watching monkeys swing through the trees near the village this morning. Some of Monas came within 2-3 feet of me as they searched for food in the village. At around noon, I caught a tro-tro to Hohoe, the second largest "city" in the region (around 90,000) and from there, arranged accomadation before finding another tro-tro headed to Wli falls, on the Ghana-Togo border. After an easy 45 minute hike through dense jungle and over meandering streams, I was greeted with the sight of Ghana's largest waterfall, Wli, which cascaded from a ridge 60 meters above. I was drenched from the cool mist of the falls and from the muggy air of the jungle, but I felt absolutely at peace listening to the waters thunder nearby. Countless fruit bats flying overhead added a cacophonous chirping to the experience.

Heading off to Kumasi and the Northern Region this weekend for my field studies class. Stay tuned.

Additional photos below
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12th September 2006

It sounds wonderful
Brian, It sounds like you are having some incredible experiences! Tell me more about the food... What was the "sauce" like?
12th September 2006

what a delight!
Dear Brian, First, thank you for remembering your Dad's birthday. That must have made him feel very special! I was teary-eyed reading your astonishing account of your experiences. You describe everything so vividly--I can just picture it. I'm very happy that you are taking advantage of this opportunity. (And to realize our common humanity and all of the good people in the world!) xoxoxo, Love to you, Brenda
12th September 2006

Sounds amazing
This all sounds so amazing. Sorry I haven't left any comments yet, I have been really busy. I hope the rest of the semester is amazing as it has been so far. Miss ya buddy. Have fun and be safe.
13th September 2006

Thanks for the B'day call, B. This is the first time we've been able to get the comments section of your blog to open for us. Looking forward to your field trip pics. I goofed; Mom's work ext. is 218. Enjoy the field trip. Love, Pop.
14th September 2006

I am so jealous. Keep track of how many times you see monkeys. I plan on beating your number. It's a race to the year 2016! GO!!

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