Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

West Africa - Our Virtual Trip Begins


It is (well into) 2014 and we are exploring West Africa. I have deviated this year in choosing a region rather than a country. There are a few reasons for this: for one thing, the political divisions of nations were made by colonists based on the colonial interests of the time, with no thought to the established cultures, often dividing ethic groups between countries. The region of West Africa is indeed similar in the cultural aspects of food, music, and clothing, which will offer cohesiveness in our exploration. Within these similarities, by exploring more than one country, the diversity within the region will help to imprint the recognition that Africa should not be reduced as one nation, but rather the continent of nations it is. 

We're getting excited, based on the bit I've learned so far. Among others, we'll be learning about the Ashanti and Yoruba cultures.


Traditional Ashanti Performance
Photo Credit: John Tolva
We'll be getting creative with textiles, such as kente, adinkra and mud cloth.


Weaving Kente Cloth
Photo Credit: Damien Radermecker
We'll be playing mancala and listening to highlife music. Reading folk tales and getting to know the trickster Ananse.  


Game of Mancala
Photo Credit: Adam Cohn
We'll be cooking and eating many a soup and stew, dishes that feature peanuts, cassava and plantains, and hopefully I'll figure out how to make fufu. 


Making Fufu
Photo Credit: R. Baird
And of course, there will be African dance, drums and ceremonial masks :)


Dogon dancers
Photo Credit: Carsten Brink


Map Sources: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ecowas_map.svg; 
http://wikitravel.org/en/File:West_Africa_regions_map.png

6 comments:

  1. You know how much I am looking forward to this!

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  2. Looking forward to all of it! I think I'll get the children to read along also (they did whilst you were doing China). You write in such an interesting way, they are absorbed from the very start.

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    1. I find it hard to believe my writing is worth being absorbed by! But thank you :) I'm looking forward to it too - couldn't I just get paid to do this?? That would be so much fun!

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  3. So exciting. I am sure both you and your girls will learn a lot from this virtual journey!

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