16 October 2012

ouidah outdoors and indoors

Back Camerayou’ve started dipping your feet in the water.

Back Camerayou won’t go further than this – the undertow is just too strong.

Back Cameraand those waves? relentless.

Back Camerayour favorite beach moment is when the waves nearly make contact with the clouds. visually, at least.

Back Cameraouidah is a tiring city. loud. polluted. crowded. vibrant. busy. not that you dislike it – far from it – but the beach helps balance it out with other things you need: space. remoteness. quietness. trees.

and when you aren’t going to the beach for a break, you’re heading inside your house.

tsewing01to your sewing machine.  not the same one that you left in mali, but a similar one. one that works just as well.

tsewing02fabric has been collecting around in your house.

tsewing03and apologies in advance if this turns into a sewing journal – you can’t help it, you only write about things that happen to interest and inspire you at the moment.

tsewing04for this particular moment of your life, it is west african fabric.

tsewing05which technically isn’t west african at all, but then is at the same time because of how well it has been culturally adopted.

tsewing09a scalloped hat has already been made to keep the face hidden from the sun.

tsewing06a practice basket weave inset has been created as well with scrap fabric.

tsewing07what will this eventually become?

tsewing08ideas crowd into your head – too many, in fact. so you release them onto paper where later you’ll refer back to when planning your next thing to make.

07 October 2012

ganvié, benin

Back Cameraif its one thing you really dislike doing in west africa, its touristy things. nothing is ever clear. in the eyes of many you’re only a big pocketbook.

and somehow you got talked into visiting ganvié, a village on a lake.

Back Camerawhile you don’t regret it, doing touristy things your first few weeks here was not in your plan at all. or in your desires. and is most definitely out for a few more months.

what makes you happier is being on a bike in the middle of rural nowhere where there are zero expectations. that is your idea of a fun trip.

Back Cameraas you said – no regrets. how can one regret being on a pirogue on a lake in west africa? that would just be silly.

Back Cameraunlike venice in italy which is walkable, ganvié has no streets or bridges. everybody moves with a boat. houses are built on wooden stilts with doors and windows that open to water. a place where one swims better than one walks.

Back Camerathe village was originally founded by people fleeing slave capturers. here on water they found immunity from those trying to kidnap them.

Back Cameratoday people come to avoid the noises of cotonou. after all, motorcycles and cars don’t work very well on lakes.

Back Camerathen once your pirogue returns to land, its back to the normal rhythm of city life.

ouidah, you promise, will make plenty of appearances here soon.