Thursday, February 26, 2009

Other things from Mendeline and Elsewhere

* Mendeline refers to the areas of Sierra Leone (mostly Eastern and Southern Provinces) where people of the Mende ethnic group live. We lived in Kenema which was the capital of the Eastern Province. 


The Game of Warri: this was a game that seemed to be found all over Sierra Leone and West Africa. This one I had commissioned and was made by Bockarie "Su" Gande - who was a well-known wood carver (see prior postings about him). Played with cowrie shells - almost every village had enthusiastic players. At the top is fellow Peace Corps volunteer, Lloyd Ziegler playing the game in the Kuranko village of Sokurella in March 1970. for more on Warri:

Examples of Mende clay pots, these very fragile pots were made in the small village of Vaama Nongowa - the maker is unknown. Vaama was a village of a few houses that was close to the west bank of the River Moa. Clay from the river bank was used to make these.  The making of pots in Mendeland was the responsibility of women and was many times an inherited craft. 

above:  are what were called "Kissi Pennies"  and although I found them in Kenema they came from where the Kissi ethnic group lived near the border of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone to our east. In earlier times they had been used as a means of monetary change. 

to learn more about Kissi Pennies check out the site below  

The carved horn above was given to me by my friend Patrick Garlough. Hollowed out on the inside it was used to carry snuff by Patrick's grandfather who lived in the Kailahun area to our east. The long spoon was crafted from U.S. silver dollars which were used for money in next door Liberia (they had no such use in Sierra Leone). The country cloth was used to wrap the snuff. 

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