Twenty-two years ago, I sat on a bench in Lomé, Togo watching a stream of people running in anger toward the central marketplace. Moments later, black smoke was billowing from the market. Soon, the panicked crowd was moving in the other direction as police reacted to the rioting. The government of Gnassingbé Eyadéma, controlled by … Continue reading West Africa’s Illusory Development
The elephant that charged me.During my Peace Corps years in Togo, I lived on the edge of a wildlife preserve called Le Fosse aux lions. Created out of what once had been twelve villages, by 1988 (when I arrived) it was the home of a herd of about forty elephants. My experience with one of … Continue reading Stopping Wildlife Poachers Isn’t Easy and Can’t Be By "Us"
As I prepare for classes and have little time for writing at present, I thought I would share a few snapshots of West Africa. The first was taken in April, 2007 in St. Louis, Senegal. The second in Boumbouka, Togo, probably in 1990. The third in Djibo, Burkina Faso in November, 1985. The fourth in … Continue reading Pictures of West Africa
[Crossposted from Free Exchange on Campus]When I was in Peace Corps, I taught farmers the rudiments of using oxen for plowing. I did this at an instruction center in the north of the West African nation of Togo. It was a complicated task: Aside from the actual plowing, the farmers had to learn to 1) … Continue reading Why I Teach
As I've written about the elephant that charged me in 1990 and about the death of the small herd that elephant came from, I couldn't resist posting these, pictures of members of that herd, taken within sight of my house in Tambaong, Togo... where, some months later, that one elephant let me walk away:From Tambaong
Harmattan dust comes down from the Sahara each December, fogging the views of Mt. Bombouaka, to the east, and Mt. Nassiet, to the west, filtering sunlight all through the early months of each new year in the village of Tambaong. When the haze masks their tops, these crests often look like the bottoms of real … Continue reading Dust and Smoke