During our October stay in La Celle sous Chantemerle, France, we went for daily walks through the village, enjoying the variety of houses and sheds, both new and old. The older buildings especially reflect their aging and add character to the street scene. They also provide great subject matter for those who are trying to improve their painting skills.

SousChantemerle1

SousChantemerle3

sousChantemerle4

SousChantemerle2

My first experience in Ghana was a two year contract from 1971 to 1973, teaching in the secondary school in the remote village of  Half Assini, in the Western Region of the country. Before that time, the most common means of transport in and out of the village were called mammy lorries. They were built on Bedford truck frames with frames and drive trains imported from Britain and assembled in Ghana. Local craftsmen then built covered boxes for the trucks that were designed to flexibly carry human cargo or produce or a combination of each. The boxes were painted in various colours and given unique names, often based on traditional sayings and proverbs or sometimes from religious sources. By the time I arrived in the country, the Bedford trucks were no longer being imported and they were slowly being replaced by more modern vehicles. These two wagon boxes were sitting alongside the market wall in Half Assini, hoping to once more be put back into service.

IMG_1650

Dug-out canoes have been used for centuries and have enabled fishermen to provide sustenance for their families along the coast of the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. In recent years, fleets of  trawlers from Europe and Asia have been operating in the Gulf, most often without permits, and have decimated the fishery. This in turn has caused hardship for fishing communities that have relied on the ocean to provide for them. This canoe was returning to its home base in Busua, Ghana. IMG_1640

In a previous post you saw one view of the village of La Celle sous Chantemerle. Here is another, looking over a wall, with the nearby forest in the background. The village name translates literally into English as “The Cellar below Chantemerle” and refers to the champagne cellars in this village with reference to the neighbouring village of Chantemerle which is located on a hill above.  The Chantemerle is a particular bird common to the area.

IMG_1644

If you saw a previous post, you will already know that one of my passions is sailing, and that one of my favourite places to sail is Lake Diefenbaker. In 2013, my sailing buddy and his friend and I packed our camping gear onto WindRider trimarans and set out from Tuft’s Bay, near the village of Elbow, Saskatchewan. We pulled up on a beach next to Hitchcock Bay and chose that for the first campsite of the trip. It was near perfect, especially the next morning as the sun rose and from the hilltop behind our tents we could see the lake stretching out to the east and south. Check out  more about the week’s experience on this Youtube video.

IMG_1646

The fishing village of Busua is nestled between two lagoons on the coast of Ghana. Those villagers who do not go to sea to fish tend their farms in the rolling hills that extend back from the ocean. The village is home to the Ahantehene, Nana Baidoo Bonso, the Paramount  Chief of the Ahanta people. Nana was a student in the Half Assini Secondary School when I taught there in the early 1970’s. This view is from the rooftop of the African Rainbow Resort in the village. IMG_1647

In October I was blessed with a wonderful reason to visit France – the arrival of a grandchild!! It was my first time to the country and I was not disappointed. Most of our two weeks were spent in a small village, La Celle sous Chantemerle, in the heart of champagne country, with several family champagne houses found down narrow lanes and vineyards extending in all directions. It was idyllic – the countryside had a feeling that it had not changed in centuries and it had a rural charm that took my mind back to a simpler time, a time of community and self-sufficiency when neighbours were important.

IMG_1638

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 40 other followers