- Loropéni is a market town in southern Burkina Faso, lying west of Gaoua. Local features include pre-European stone ruins, about which little is known. One theory is that they formed the enclosure of the courtyard of a Kaan Iya (king or paramount ruler of the Kaan people) from antiquity. There is a similar, though much-degraded ruin around the current royal courtyard in Obiré. Another theory is that the ruins may have been a slave holding site for slave raids in the area.
- The Loropéni ruins were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2009. The ruins are the country's first World Heritage inscription. Surrounded by mystery, the 11,130m2 property is made up of an array of stone walls. Loropéni is the best preserved example of a type of fortified settlement in a wide part of West Africa, linked to the tradition of gold mining, which seems to have persisted through at least seven centuries. Loropéni, given its size and scope reflects a type of structure quite different from the walled towns of what is now Nigeria, or the cities of the upper reaches of the river Niger which flourished as part of the Empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhai. It thus can be seen as an exceptional testimony to the settlement response generated by the gold trade.
Outside the Loropeni Ruins. The first and only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Burkina Faso (just got accepted to the list this year). AND I live only 19km away!
Yours truly outside the Loropeni Ruins. According to Leslie (she read this somewhere), these rocks were put together with honey and shea butter.
Marita and Julie inside the Ruins.
Emily and I looking off into the distance...wearing our Obama gear. Gotta represent Obama in Africa!Biking back was harder than I thought but I was able to show everyone my site's centre-ville and for dinner, I made something that I've crafted as my specialty: Mikey's Minestrone Soup (noodles, tomatoes, onions, garlic, a little bit of powdered milk to thicken it, tomato paste, lots of spices/salt) and Grilled Vache Qui Rit Cheese Sandwiches...delicious!
Everyone left to head back to their sites on Tuesday and it meant back to work for me = continuing class observations at the Ecole Primaire. It's been no doubt an interesting experience and as I said in my last entry, I'm getting more and more ideas for projects. I realized that many students have trouble reading aloud and I think starting some type of Reading/Book Club would be a good idea. Observing classes really forces me to think of creative ways to make school more interesting for kids here so that they're more likely to continue their studies until high school and beyond. I'm observing classes Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday all the way way up until December when I have VAC and IST...so I'm keeping myself busy.
Aaaaand I'm starting to really love my site. I think it really has to do with the fact that I chat it up a lot with my neighbors (Ali's family -- the Ouattara's) everyday and kind of see them as my own family here. I was reading on my porch one afternoon and it was getting really dark. Madame Ouattara (Ali's aunt) comes by and tells me not to read in the dark because I'll ruin my eyes...something my Mom would tell me back home, haha! They even make the most delicious peanut brittle and toffee hard candies I've ever had. Jon and I are addicted! I even invited the Ouattaras over at the end of the month to celebrate Thanksgiving with me so we're going to have American and Burkinabè dishes! Now if I can only think of a way to cook a Filipino dish, too...