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Sirigu and surrounds

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Sirigu wall

Sirigu is a village in the Upper East Region (geographically in the far north) of Ghana. The women here paint their adobe home exteriors in bold, geometric and animal designs in reddish-brown, white and black.  We visited the Sirigu Women’s Association for Pottery and Art (SWOPA), where we learned about the crafts made in this area and saw an exhibit of works.   SWOPA has a guest house as well.  We didn’t get to stay there this time around.  Maybe next time.
sirigu woman

At the village market, this woman spotted Dan trying to stealthily take a photo. She was not pleased.

Sirigu market

The market was packed with people and busy with activity.  We saw some women with intricate, spider web-style facial scarring.  Alas, we have no pictures of them.
Sirigu family

The girl on the left approached us and asked us to take her picture. Her name is Lydia, and she would like to go to America. Her brother also asked us to take him with us.

goat bus

On our way out of Sirigu, we happened upon a bus with about 30 goats riding on top.

Larabanga and Paga

Sunday, February 11th, 2007

After leaving Mole National Park, we headed to Larabanga, famous for its Sudanese-style mosque. It supposedly dates from the 1400s, but there is no documentation from those days that supports that claim. An agressive crowd of “guides” led by a guy in parachute pants (a sure sign of sleaziness, according to our friends) assailed us for admission fees in addition to “voluntary contributions.” This was the least appealing interaction we had with Ghanaians during our whole trip. We were not allowed to enter, but we were allowed to take photos of the exterior.

Larabanga Mosque
Parachute pants guy tried to shoo away the hangers-on, but these kids still hung around.

kids closeup

The wooden posts sticking out of the mosque are structural supports, according to parachute pants guy.

kids in Larabanga

Nearby, a girl in a school uniform gave a smaller child a piggy-back ride.


We left Larabanga and drove to Paga, on the border with Burkina Faso. Paga Pio’s Palace is the compound of a local chief. We got a tour of the mud buildings around a courtyard. One of them contained a tiny kitchen, pictured here.

Paga kitchen

It must’ve gotten mighty hot in there because there was only a tiny hole in the ceiling for ventilation.  The opening to the outside, which was only about 3.5′ tall, was located in the next room.  In the kitchen, there is no chimney from which smoke could escape.

We asked if people still had kitchens like these. The guide laughed and said no. However, on our way out of Paga Pio’s Palace, we glanced in another mud building and saw what looked like a working one of these kitchens.  Hmmm.

Mole National Park

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007
Tour de Ghana, leg 5: Mole National Park. Mole is famous in Ghana for its wildlife, and justly so, we discovered. Minutes after our arrival, we saw elephants! elephant with bicycle We were very excited but ... [Continue reading this entry]

The Road to Bole

Sunday, February 4th, 2007
Tour de Ghana, leg four: Bui to Bole on Jan. 16. Saw some calabashes for sale on the roadside. Dan got out of the car and was surrounded by kids wanting their picture taken. At first this ... [Continue reading this entry]