Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sokurella - a Kuranko village at the base of the Loma Mountains

Location: as noted, the village of Sokurella was a 10-15 mile hike from where the road ended at Kurobonla. Although this stretch to Sokurella was not very steep, we passed through savannah country. The heat was oppressive. The last stop before getting into the Loma Mountains was in this village (Sokurella) and it was here that in March 1970, fellow Peace Corps volunteer Lloyd Ziegler and I stayed for two nights. Sokurella consisted of perhaps 20 houses and several hundred people. Given their remoteness the habitants remained quite open and friendly. We were the first to ever stay in the village - most other hikers passed through. But Lloyd was a bit under the weather and we decided to set up our tent in the village after gaining permission to do so - and we stayed for two days. We certainly were a curiosity - but the villagers went about their many activities. Neither Lloyd nor I spoke Kuranko so language and communication was a challenge (we both spoke Krio which was only marginally helpful there). But somehow we were able to make due - I was surprised at how well we were tolerated. I remember it being the end of the Bondo season there, and during the day Bondo initiates walked about the village in fine dress (there were 3 initiates). On our first night there was a spectacular celebration with villagers from elsewhere coming to sing, to dance, and to celebrate. 

Date: March 1970

photo © by Chad Finer
A view from Sokurella looking to the Loma Mountain range and with Mt. Bintumani (our destination) in the clouds in the distance on the left

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