Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Favorite Images

Over the next few weeks I plan to post the images that I took during my Peace Corps days that I like the best. Many of these images will have been posted before - but I think it will be worthwhile to post these again. Some are just quality pictures or portraits that I like because of the subjects in them, and for how they came out.  Others either remind me of wonderous events or of wonderful people who I met while living and working in Sierra Leone.  As I have said before - I did extensive travel throughout the area where we lived [Nongowa Chiefdom - Kenema District - Eastern Province] and I was always carrying two cameras with me on these treks.  One camera contained color slide film. The second camera contained black & white film.  When I took portraits of people - I usually ended up returning and giving each person a black & white print. I suspect that many of these pictures still exist and are in the posession of the people who were willing to have their picture taken.  So if you follow this site - stay tuned. During the next few weeks I will post those images that I consider my best. I hope you will enjoy them. They will be posted at random and in no special order of preference.  I would appreciate any comments.  Please note that all images are copyrighted by me and can not be used for any purpose without my permission. Thanks

photo © by Chad Finer
This photo is of the local area Bondo at the village of Bitema in Nongowa Chiefdom. The young girl in white was the initiate from this village in 1970. Taken in early 1970 many of the women in this picture were neighbors. Among them is Moiyatu (purple headdress with hands on hips) who was a Bondo initiate in 1969 in Kenema. To Moiyatu's left (in green docket and next to the Bondo Devil) is Bonya.  She was a wonderful singer who lived across from us on Dama Rd in Kenema. The older woman (with yellow headdress) is Mama Hawa, one of the leaders of the Bondo Society in our area. Standing next to her (to her right) is her daughter. Bitema was a small Mende village on the road from Kenema to the town of Dama and to Dama Chiefdom.  Consisting of perhaps a dozen huts, the village was remote in the sense that it had no electricity and no modern conveniences. It sat about 3 to 5 miles outside of Kenema proper. 
[posted April 18, 2013]
Pa Sam at his farm house
near Vaama Nongowa
circa 1969

photo © by Chad Finer

Taken in the mid afternoon after I had gone to visit Pa Sam at his farm house and to see his upland rice farm. His upland farm of several acres was cared for by him and his wife Massa. On this afternoon he sat on a log taking a break from the day's work and allowed me to take his picture. The farm house, more of a lean-to than an actual house, was made of a wood frame and a roof of palm leaves. During the rain season this could provide shelter. In this photo are many of the accessories that Pa Sam might need. By his right leg is his sling shot which with stones was used to keep birds away from the ripening rice. His trusty umbrella is to his left, and behind him is a heavy coat that he might use during the coldest of evenings during the dry season. To the far right of the picture is full grown rice nearing ready for harvesting. 
Circa December 1969
[posted April 19, 2013]

                                              photo © by Chad Finer
Dancing with the Devil:  taken at the Mende village named Tokpombu in Nongowa Chiefdom in Kenema District. This village sat less than one mile from our house on the road to Dama Chiefdom to our south. It was the seat of a lot of Bondo activity in our area and as a result I was frequently there as an observer and visitor.  It was here that I had a village blacksmith make me two machetes. From this village was a bush trail that went to other local villages such as Vaama, and to the River Moa about 6 miles from our house.  For many a Bondo event I was notified by our neighbors, and Susan and I would head off to watch at Tokpombu. On this weekend we watched as the Bondo Devil or spirit came and proceeded to dance with a number of the women who were celebrating.I am told that Tokpombu, once a seperate village is now totally incorporated into Kenema.  circa. 1969 [posted April 21, 2013]

photo © by Chad Finer
Bondo gathering at the village of Tokpombu Nongowa
in this photo the Bondo Devil dances with a group of women villagers as others, including Susan, look on. Circa 1969
[posted April 22, 2013]


photo © by Chad Finer
Bondo at Tokpombu Nongowa
taken on the same day as the previous photo - these two photos (this one and the one previous) are two of my very favorite photos that I took during our years in Sierra Leone. Another favorite is also above - the portrait of Pa Sam that I took as he was sitting in his farm house. More to follow [posted April 26, 2013]


                                                    photo © by Chad Finer
This photo was taken in the remote Kuranko village of Sokurella, a village situated at the base of the Loma Mountains (and the summit Mt. Bintimani) in the northeastern section of Sierra Leone. It was taken in March 1970. It was in this village that I stayed on my yearly trek of Bintimani. I remember the people here were incredibly welcoming and hospitable, although I suspect that they were also somewhat amused at our interest in climbing. In March 1970 we got delayed in the village since my fellow traveller (fellow Peace Corps volunteer) was briefly not feeling well. In this photo the villager has picked the cotton and is carding it in preparation for making cotton thread for clothing. The heat in March could get well above 100ºF during the day, and sitting on the veranda was quite comfortable even with the heat. Up in Kuranko country the village houses tended to be round and with a rich palm-leafed roof.  [posted April 27, 2013]


Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you have any pictures of Capitol Cinema (in or out). We are the current owners of the building, and trying to build an archive about it.
Many thanks in advance

sl 68-70 said...

I will look through my files and see what I can find. Tell me a bit about you.

Musu Kamara said...

It's very amazing to see pictures like this. I'm currently working to form a dance troop. My mother was a Mende singer in the Moyamba district, she use to compete in the cocoa show her stage name is Sabewo. Unfortunately there is little known about her and I was wondering if u have photos of other contestants in the show during that period.

sl 68-70 said...

I do not have many pictures from the Kenema Cacao Show - one year there was some political trouble that closed it down, and the other year it was somewhat watered down. What years was Sabewo at the cacao show. I do have a few pictures somewhere of a Mende singer - she has a segburre if I remember correctly. I will see if I can find it and post it. Thanks for your interest. Good luck in your dance troop. Do you live in Sierra Leone?