Friday, February 22, 2008

My family and I just spent a week in the small village of Jon Fa Kuru (in Western Mali).  It was a really good experience for us all - it had been some time since we had been in the rural environment.  Here are a couple of pictures of our trip.  First up is a scene of the village at dusk.

Here I spent the morning with my teacher collecting medicine.  We wandered from tree to tree out in the bush cutting bark and a few limbs.  

This would be the "bush" in western Mali.  Hot season is coming on, so much of the vegetation has been burned back.  

Here I am greeted by the mothers of my friend - they came into the compound shortly after I arrived, singing and clapping.  

In this picture we are making our way to Kita (a large town) via a fish truck.  I am riding in the back with the freight - a few Malians are also hitching a ride.  

Friday, February 8, 2008

Faunal Fashion

The Artisana specializes in filling custom orders for clients and merchants.  In the first photo you can see a leather worker finishing several belts (10 of which are made with Rock Python).  These belts are part of an order placed by a Lybian merchant.  The merchant will pick up the order in a few days once it is complete and take it to Lybia to sell.  

In this photo you can see a pair of custom made crocodile shoes.  They are being made for a Malian man (an atternoy of civil law).  He paid for the shoes up-front and will pick them up in a couple of days, once they are finished. 

In this photo you can see a leather worker preparing crocodile skin wallets.  Similar to the first example, these wallets were commissioned by a transnational merchant.  There are 17 croc skin wallets, in two different sizes.  In addition to the croc skin wallets, the merchant ordered a dozen Nile monitor skin wallets and a dozen Savannah Monitor skin wallets.

Here you can see several Rock Python skins that have been soaked and are drying in the sun.  These skins are destined to become belts, purses, wallets, and briefcases.