Saturday, September 3, 2011

A forest in the City

While I was in Ouaga this summer, I went to visit a big park, referred to here as The Forest. There is one entrance located near the transit house where we stay when we are in town, but I have seen other entrances on other roads, and the map shows that it is a pretty large area. Near the entrance we saw this tree, carved with several animals and people. The message on the open book, in French, is something to the effect of, “We did not inherit this from our parents but pass it on to our children.” I think the point is that this park is not something people thought of having in the past but it should be preserved for the future, as the world changes.

Here is a picture of one of the paths through the woods. As you may be able to tell, this place has quite a mixture of different kinds of trees and other plants. There are not any really tall trees, but there are not many really tall trees anywhere in Burkina Faso.

The tree in the foreground here, with the shiny leaves, is called a karaté (sounds like carrot-a) tree. From its nuts you get beurre de karaté, which you all know as shay butter.

Here is one of the few mushrooms I have seen here. I don’t know enough about mushrooms to know if this is good for food, but I sure would not take any chances!

Here is one of the strangest flowers you are likely to see. Sorry, I have no idea of its name.

There were lots of birds flitting about, but most of my attempts to take pictures of them are just pictures of leaves. This guy, however, sat nicely on the road and I was able to enlarge a little corner of my photo so you can see him.

Here are a couple of pictures of what appear to be a lot of birds swarming around this tree. In reality, most of these are big fruit bats. I was surprised to see them out in broad daylight.

This plant has lovely little thorns, as to quite a few of the plants here. If you don’t want to be eaten by the roaming goats, you had better taste pretty bad, or be pretty prickly.

Last, but not least, is this plant that looks like an agave plant. I suspect it is becaquser I understand they were imported to Europe from the southwest by the early explorers. The climate is certainly right for them here!

That's the end of the travelogue for today. Just a final note to tell you I am doing very well. My health has been fine and we just had our mid-service medical checkup, so that is official! My French is improving, although far from good, and I am happy to be here.


  1. Great pictures! I'm happy to hear that you are doing fine, are happy to be there, and, especially, that your health is good. Kind regards, Bill

  2. I really enjoy reading your posts about everyday life from your perspective which would be similar to mine if I was there. It is a unique chance to share your experiences with you. Best wishes, John