Saturday, March 22, 2008

Just checkin'

In case anyone checks this blog again, I just wanted to make it clear that you can check out my regular photography blog at I'll be updating it with all my regular shoots as well as pictures from Africa, Paris, and London. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 8, 2008


I'll start posting pictures from my trip on my regular blog,, as soon as I can get through some of them! So check them out and as a final post, here are a few highlights from Paris and London:

I did a LOT of night photography, and it was one of my favorite things to do. I loved it. I love Paris. I love London. But I really love Paris.

I ate a LOT of croissants. And tarts. Raspberry tarts. Chocolate tarts. Mm. I miss them.

I went to the Louvre

I went to Sacre Couer

I saw Big Ben
And I went to the London Eye

And French men are worse than African men. I had several try to kiss me, kiss me (no lips), ask me to kiss them, propose, say they love me (in German, French, and English), try to hold my hand, etc. Most of them were old enough to date my mom. (This isn't a highlight by the way).

I ate duck. It was absolutely incredible. I recommend it.

I watched the sunset on the Eiffel Tower. Twice.

And I can now die happy (though I hope I can get through editing these pictures first).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's finished!

As the Ghanaians like to say (they use that word-finished-all the time).  Anyway, I'm done with Africa.  Crazy!  My last few days were kinda busy and I was proposed to several more times ("You will be the mother of my children" from the guy on the bus and from the guy at the reception desk at my hotel "when you are ready to get married you come back to Ghana and I will marry you") and now I'm in London!  I photographed an engagement shoot today and I have another shoot tomorrow.  I leave for Paris on Thursday!  So excited, but I won't have internet access in France.  I'll be eating a lot of croissants and crepes this week :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tribal marks and other fun scars

Since I've been in Ghana I've noticed that a lot of people have scars on their faces. Usually one to three small ones beneath the left eye. I finally asked someone about it today. Apparently, if children have convulsions the parents take them to the priest (witch doctor) and he cuts their face and rubs in this black powder, which is just the ash from a certain type of leaf they burned. They do the same thing if you have headaches, but it's a cut in the forehead and a different kind of leaf.

A lot of the other scars are tribal marks, mostly from people in the north I believe. Two of the new kids at the orphanage (the first orphanage I went to) have all sorts of tribal scarring on their bellies. One of them is like a sunburst around the bellybutton. I took pictures. After I took pictures of the 2 year old another boy lifted his shirt to show me his scars and wanted me to take pictures. Very strange.

Pounding fufu

For those of you who don't know what fufu is, it's this. It's a big gooey mess of yams and cassava and whatever else. You need someone really strong to pound it. I am not really strong. I hit it like three times and I was done. You have to use this 6 foot long wooden thing and it looks kinda like this. I apologize that I don't have my own pictures to show. Mmm fufu. (I actually haven't tried it, but I hear it's worse than banku. I think I'll pass).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Animal sacrifices, what??

That's right. I got to go visit the fetish priest today (aka witch doctor). I saw an animal sacrifice (it was a chicken), but I wasn't allowed to take pictures. I did get a picture of the main priest though. He's very tall and has dreadlocks. Pretty cool guy.

Apparently, the chicken sacrifice was for this guy who wanted prosperity. SO, the priest was sitting there and slit the chicken's throat (I think, I was behind him so I didn't get a good look), and poured some blood on the ground and then smeared it on this little round thing and said some stuff and I don't really remember what else. I think he cut the head off too. Then someone else took the chicken away (it was wiggling pretty badly). I think they eat it. But first they had to bring some of the organs back out and put it on that little round thing for the gods, obviously (um, I kinda snuck a picture of the whole set up from far away, but don't tell, I don't want to die). Some guy was hitting a rock on a bigger rock the whole time. Oh, and later he came back and rang these bells for 5 minutes or so.

The main priest did some weird egg-throwing thing a couple times. At one point he was talking to me and someone handed him this egg and he just chucked it as hard as he could onto the ground as if it were the most normal thing in the world. He wore a couple different outfits and people came to consult with him. After he did some weird ritual thing involving egg-throwing, throwing some kind of dust around from a machete, and walking around the shrine with his helpers he went into this room and called people in one at a time.

Apparently, if you disobey the priest, he will kill you. And it sounds like sometimes you just kinda die. Last year, I was told, this priestess just died because she disobeyed one of them or something. And I was also told that this priest was so tall because he has the spirits with him now. AND if the spirits don't like a certain food he can't eat it again EVER. There's one priest that can't eat rice. This one has been seen eating fufu, so I guess the spirits are okay with that.

More babies!

Mom, I'm sorry you're confused. If you are, I'm sure there are more. What are you confused about? I'm in Mampong-Ashanti and I've been going to a "Babies Home" here. They take kids typically after their mothers die and keep them until they're 4 or 5 and then usually the dad takes them back (they apparently can't care for them when they're young). It's a pretty bad situation. I don't know which is worse...but I guess if the dad's really can't care for them...I dunno. The youngest is one month and she is TINY.

And get this, formula is apparently too expensive, so they give ALL the babies (including the one month old) porridge. Basically oats, milk powder, sugar, and water. It's thick too. They have to poke huge holes in the bottles. It make me sad for them. They don't get held much either. For the ones that are sitting they sit on the ground and a woman will hold two bottles and feed two babies, so they don't even get held when they're eating!

Apparently, they don't even like the kids to play with the toys the volunteers donate because they'll just break them...right. No toy at all is obviously better than a broken one. I don't know what I was thinking.

Anyway, I went in the morning and afternoon today and took lots of pictures of them and held them and fed them. One of the volunteers got a picture of me when I was holdling the one month old and the next youngest (3 months maybe?) so I'll try to get a hold of that!

Some of the volunteers are here for 6 months. I don't know how they would ever be able to leave those babies after all that time!! They're watching them grow up.

Obviously, there are many things I don't agree with, but the babies are a lot of fun and they seem to be thriving (incredibly and thankfully). I'm kinda glad I won't be here for too long because it's so easy to get attached to them!! Can't wait for you to see pictures! They're too cute.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


So I went to the "Babies Home" here in Mampong. I may spend my next few days just holding infants! So freaking cute! There are tons of them. The youngest is 1 month and the oldest are 5 year old twins. There are probably about 12-20 babies from 1 month to 18 months. Sorry you won't get to see pictures, I packed super light and didn't bring my card reader...

Anyway, they were a lot of fun to hold, and I'll be going back soon and probaby everyday the rest of my time here.

Oh, and I changed my flight, so if you were wondering, I'm now coming back on March 4th, not March 3rd. Love and miss you all!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Trotro overdose!

If a trotro driver says to arrive at 5:30 am or earlier, get there earlier! Or be squeezed between 4 men for 6 hours that are so tightly pushed together that you're not shoulder to shoulder, you're overlapping. I held my huge lowepro on my lap the entire time. Also, we got stopped at 4 police check points within the first hour and a half and 8 altogether. Not my favorite thing. Thankgoodness for my iPod! I don't think I could have moved my arms enough to read a book.

That was just the trip to Kumasi. Then I got in another trotro and went to Mampong. Which is where I am now. On that one I got to sit in the front, but with my duffel between my legs and the backpack on my lap.

I'll be in Mampong until Friday or Saturday doing some more photography mostly at a baby orphanage and a deaf school. I'm excited!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Kpando (pronounced Pahn-dough)

I made it safely to Kpando, which was fun. I'll have to fill you in later! I got some really cool hand-made pottery from the Kpando Potters in Fesi (look it up, you'll probably find something). I saw 2 funerals and took a 1.5 hour trotro ride to Ho, where I am now. I'll go to Church tomorrow here (the only one in the Volta Region) and Monday around 5 or 6 am head out to Kumasi and then catch a trotro to Mampong. I bought a duffel bag in Accra for roughly $6, and it's getting heavier by the hour!

Oh, and I hung out in this sweet little village that's part of Fesi, and made friends with the kids there, who showed me around and had me take pictures of them :). They carried my duffel on their heads for me and took me to a shrine or something. I had to give them 2 cedis (pronounced seedies) so the priest could pour libation (?) to the Gods and pray to them or something before I could take a picture. Lol. First time someone's asked for money for a picture, I think, and although it was strange, they were nice, so I didn't care. It was a lot of fun!

(as posted by Brie because the internet here sucks and won't let me do anything besides email)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Off and Away

I don't know what my internet availability will be like the next couple of weeks, so posts may or may not come! I'm done with the orphanage and now I'm traveling around Ghana for a week to Kpando, Mampong, and Kumasi. Hope I'm able to post again soon!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Q and A

[Jean]: Kelli, how old are the children when they leave the orphanage? Are they prepared to do some type of work? Are any of them ever adopted?

This orphanage is very new, so I don't know the answers. It just started a couple years ago and I think they just got their license to be able to adopt out or something, but I know it's planned that some will be adopted in the near future, even some of the older ones. If I were adopting one I'd probably take one of the older kids, they're so great!! Seriously. Amazing kids.

[Jenna]: Why do they all keep their hair so short Kel?

I dunno, most people keep it like that, even as teenagers. I guess it's easy and cool.

[Brooke]: so what is all the crap in the sky that makes it so hazy?

Sand from the Sahara, so I've been told.

[Brie]: Maybe they were just wishing you were a twin cause then there would be 2? What's my name?

Lol. Perhaps. I'm assuming you're Akua as well. That just means "born on Wednesday." I don't know what the twin names are.

[Brooke]: Do they all have slightly flat heads???? (this is a serious question by the way)

Haha. They usually have a towel or some type of cloth on their heads that's flattened.

More randomness

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Taxi updates

By the way, my taxi driver now hot wires the car before he starts it. Fun, huh?

Also, I was in a share taxi the other day and it broke down. We were already halfway there, but when he couldn't fix it he flagged down another taxi, who got all of our $.40 fare. I felt bad for the first guy!

Welcome to Teshie Tebibiano

This is where I live. Kinda. enjoy

Face-off! A daily occurrence.

The road they battled (and I ride over every day)
Yay trash

We have sheep
And chickens
And goats.
The internet cafe I'm in RIGHT NOW. An oasis. Despite the pc's (ugh).
We have lots of stores with God's name or other religious references
We have chickens in our trash, by the road

We even have public toilets!

More later when my computer will cooperate better! This took nearly 3 hours!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A few pictures!

He still looks tough even with all those hearts, eh? Can you tell they're obsessed with stickers??


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Wearing babies

Thought I'd try it out for fun. It's a lot of tucking and twisting and folding a plane rectangle of fabric. Charity is 5 (first pic). I'm sure babies are a lot easier!
Noah felt left out and wanted on! Trying to figure it out.
This brings me to another point. Don't ever bring anything white to Africa. Honestly, what was I thinking? (And please excuse the lack of make-up and otherwise grungy-ness, I must like you a lot to show these pictures!)

And yes, this means I handed my camera over to a 10 year old kid. Not bad, eh?

Friday, February 8, 2008


Ghanaians are given a name corresponding to the day of the week that they were born on. I was born on Wednesday, so this is mine. I'm not sure what they do with twins exactly...maybe Brie would have the same name. Big Mama did seem to indicate that all her daughters were named Melody (maybe it's just not a big deal, kinda like George Foreman and his kids).

However, when I was riding with my taxi driver someone yelled something to me and I've gotten in the habit of asking him what they're saying (it's usually in Ga). He said they called out a name, maybe it was a nickname he gave me (I go the same route a couple times a day). The weird thing was, he said the name means "firstborn twin." And then he told me what second-born twin was. I told him I was a firstborn twin, and he laughed.

I saw the sky!

Walking to the internet cafe today I actually saw clouds and the sky! Usually it's just gray haze.
Just thought I'd let you know.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Buckets on the head

This is one of the smaller things people carry, but you get the point. I've seen tables, fruit, water, all sorts of things. They don't usually hold them with their hands either. It's a talent, for sure.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I'm fine, really

[Kristin]: Holy Cow Kelli! Please don't tell me you were walking again. Where did that happen? Glad you're ok!!!!

Walking? Yes, I was walking...but it was during the day in extremely busy places. The crazy drunk guy was in Accra when I was trying to get a trotro, the other guys were in Teshie.

[Jenna]: Do they think that all American's are really rich and just waiting to give things away?

Yes. It seems that way. They don't understand that there are poor and homeless people in America (I ran into the same problem in the Philippines, they couldn't believe homeless people in America didn't actually have homes). They mostly want to get to America because they think all their problems will be over and they can get money anywhere (we've even heard this from people in our program).

[Brie]: Can you hire a body guard or something? Or will he want to marry you too? So, how do you get out of a wrist hold? And how do they react when you do it? Have you ever been truly scared by one of these guys or do you just like giving us all heart attacks?

Lol, to get out of a wrist hold you just put the pressure against the weakest part--the thumb. I didn't have to try very hard to get out of it though. No one has actually scared me, just weirded me out or annoyed me. With some of them I start to get a little angry...

However, I don't want it to appear that all Africans or Ghanaians are like this. I've had many helpful people throughout Accra or Teshie when it comes to finding the right taxi or trotro or things like that. People at church have been especially helpful, but even random strangers on the street will ask me where I'm going when I'm having trouble at a trotro stop. Some people even ignore me and don't call out to me at all.

[Jenna]: Was it just a bunch of fat? You are really brave. (in response to "is that chicken?")

Haha, it was hard, like it was all bone. I don't know how they found that much bone on a chicken, but whatev. They gave me the same thing the next day. I passed.

[Kristin]: Weird! Does it happen with other bottled drinks? or just beer? (the exploding beer)

I don't know...but it's only happened to us with beer. I don't drink any bottled drinks here though, so I shouldn't have to worry about it. Interesting side note, however, they don't use high fructose corn syrup for sodas. Real sugar. I guess America is the only place that does that?

Blog Lock

For various reasons I will soon be locking my blog to all those who aren't on an email list. If you read this blog and are a friend, friend of a friend, client, someone who likes my blog, etc, just email me at or leave a comment with your email address and I'll add you! I'll give you a few days until I lock it. Thanks!

Superbowl Monday!

I have never been so excited for the superbowl in my life. It didn't start in Africa until about 11:30 pm, so most of it was watched on Monday, and didn't finish until well past 3 am. I met this great family from Indiana and they invited a bunch of people over. We had taco soup for dinner (amazing), then Sarah and I made mango salsa (which we ate with plantain chips), peanut butter cookies, and we cut up some fresh pineapple and mangoes. Heaven. Pure heaven.

When everyone else showed up around 10 or 11 we made brownies and had snickers bars. I think there were 8 or 9 people (all American's) there. We watched the game as various people fell asleep. Most of us slept in the living room afterwards.

In the morning everyone else left really early, but I got a hot shower (a real shower!) and french toast.

All in all, it was glorious. Simply glorious.

Oh, and on Saturday I had pizza at a place called Hallo. It was amazing.

Happy Hump Day!

I'm pretty sure this is my hump day for Africa (and only 1.5 weeks left at the orphanage). Crazy, isn't it??

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Um, is that chicken?

Last night we were fed some meat with our yams. They said it was chicken. I'm not so sure. It was dark, like beef, but that could have been the sauce it was in. I couldn't actually find any piece of discernible meat on it to I didn't. Even if I had I don't think I would have taken a bite...


Africa, the outdoor toilet

Um, yeah. I can't count the number of men I've seen on the side of the road relieving themselves. Some of them don't even face away from the road. Don't worry, I always turn my head like a good Mormon girl.

Yesterday, our trotro driver pulled over, jumped out, and peed of the side of the road.

And apparently, according to Tom and Rory, at the school they teach at the front yard is for number 1 and the backyard is for number 2.

There are some moments when I really miss the US...and the air that comes with it.

One reason I'm glad I don't drink

The other night a beer bottle exploded. Why? I don't know. Tom grabbed it to open it and it just exploded in his hand. He hadn't even touched the lid yet or anything. The glass cut his hand and hit Natalie in the face. Right above and right below her eye. She is so lucky.

Apparently, it's quite common here.

I will marry you!

It's about time. I'd been in Africa nearly two weeks before someone asked me to marry him. I mean, heck, I know girls that didn't last that long at BYU.

However, this psycho was totally drunk and followed me and this woman that was helping me across a few busy roads and through a market to the taxi station. He actually tried to get in the taxi too and said he was going the same place as me, but the 2 men in the taxi and the woman that helped me were verbally very forceful and took care of me. That didn't stop the guy in the front seat from trying to get my number though. It's starting to get extremely tiresome. Children and adults alike will follow me and say, "I want to be your friend" and try to get my number or just plain say, "Give me something" or "Give me money." I've even had a guy ask for things like a laptop or camera.

And boy, was it a busy weekend. Later on that day another guy walked with me and was asking if I was coming back to Ghana so I could get married. He was very persistent in the whole phone number department.

And luckily, the first thing they teach in self defense is how to get out of wrist holds. A couple guys on Sunday grabbed hold of me on my way to church and wouldn't let go as they tried to get my number. Way to win a girl's heart, eh?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Meet my taxi

Beautiful, isn't it? If only you could see the inside.

Hey, would ya look at that

Me, Allie, and all the kids :)

Prince and Jacob Faith

Philip, Jacob, and Micah

Hope (being grumpy)

Jacob's feet

Rebecca and Jacob