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Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Somewhere Saturday" - West Africa

I mentioned yesterday that starting today I would feature some photos from places I have lived in or visited in the past. Since I spent about 15 years living in various West African countries many of my photos and reminiscences are of that area. Today's photo is of a beautiful Toucouleur woman in the midst of her family. I knew this family well and visited them several times in their village and stayed in their compound. Note the large gold earrings that are traditional amongst the Toucouleur women. Also note the baby peeking out from her back, another very typical sight. I chose this photo for my first post about West Africa because it is full of people looking peaceful and friendly and it was that which made my time in West Africa so interesting and rewarding. I mention this because for many people in the rest of the world Africa is synonymous with animals - lions, elephants, wildebeest, giraffes, etc. - rather than people. Most of these animals are found in modern times in East Africa. West Africa on the other hand is more characterized by dense human populations. In terms of population, the largest black nation on earth is in West Africa - Nigeria, with a population estimated at 154 million. West Africa has a fascinating history and hundreds of ethnic groups.
Above right is the village where the people in the top photo live. The houses are made of mud bricks and thatched with straw. I hope you have enjoyed this brief introduction to West Africa. It's a wonderful and little-known part of the world full of warm and friendly people. Tomorrow and Monday another new feature of this blog begins - photos and posts from another team member, my daughter, Fern Long.

I wrote about many of my African experiences in a book called "The Moon's Fireflies." You can buy a copy from if you would like to find out more about West Africa.

5 comments: said...

Wonderful and informative post, and a great concept for broadening the photos that you post. I look forward to your future posts.

Your concept of showing photos from other places on Saturdays is similar to what my wife (Julie of Scottsdale, Arizona, Daily Photo) does on Sundays. We post photos from somewhere in the world every Sunday on so we could share photos of more places than Arizona or Costa Rica.

Sailor said...

Beautiful pictures!

Carola said...

Great idead this new concept. "Somewhere Saturdays". I realy like this and I'm looking forward to it.

I enjoyed Ferns photos, so good to see more.

Wonderful post. Africa is so interesting. You may know that we traveled all the way across from south to north. But we missed West Africa. For a route across all was to difficult. It's a pitty.
So I like to see your photos and impressions from there.

JoJo said...

What an amazing life you have had Ben! Thank you for sharing these pics from West Africa. I do love that beadwork.

Benjamin Madison said...

JoJo - yes I've been very lucky to have an interesting life. When I posted this photo I was thinking you might enjoy the beads.