White Volta Rapids North of Gambaga

The White Volta River flows east to west just a few miles north of me and I’ve hiked down the Gambaga Escarpment to it several times. I recently visited a section of the river that appeared to have some rapids in Google’s satellite imagery. I was trying to find the exact spot that Dr. Rudolf Fisch photographed in 1901 and suspected (incorrectly) that this was the place.

My friend Nils accompanied me and we biked from Nalerigu to Dintingi to the scarp, hiked down (with our bikes), then rode to the farm settlement of Ayoobu, and hiked along the river bank to the fishing settlement of Achebu (Kyeebu). It was a trek of about 17km.

As we approached Achebu, we could hear the roar of the rapids. As we came out in the open it was a sight to behold! The massive river gets funneled down through a narrow spot full of volcanic rock which causes it rush and explode with energy.

I met Frances, the chief of the fishing settlement. He’s a kind man and a Christian – in fact, he was reading his Bible when I arrived. The settlement was a mix of several ethnic groups: Mamprusi, Kusasi and Ewe. The latter surprised me a bit for Ewe are typically found in the southeast of Ghana and southern Togo. However, they explained that Ewe are fisherman and tend to follow major bodies of water wherever they lead.

2002 Mampruli Bible Dedication Video

Markus Feusi recently posted this 15-year-old video of the Mampruli New Testament dedication in 2002. Markus was working IT for GILLBT at the time and documented the celebration of the work on the translation being completed.

I was really excited to run across this on YouTube and see some of my friends such as Tony Naden, Tarana, FBC Nalerigu’s Rev. David, Namoori Naaba, Talata James and others.

The Domes of Fabedougou

Just north of the town of Banfora, Burkina Faso and past the sugar cane fields there are some incredible rock formations. Geologists identify these cool domes as being Mesoproterozoic sandstone formed by millennia of erosion. As awesome as their geological history is, they are even more awesome to climb, hike and get lost in!

We visited the domes with Heidi’s parents in the late morning and the sun was brutal. After a couple hours of climbing and exploring (Ken even got lost!) we headed back to the hotel to cool off in the pool. Later in the afternoon, Ken and I returned as the sun was setting to get some better photos and drone footage.

It was epic.

 

Trey’s 11th Birthday Party

Trey’s birthday was in August but he postponed his party until all his friends and his grandparents were in town. So on September 4, we celebrated at our house and had our friend Baby bake another delicious cake for us.

Some of the games Trey and his friend played were tag, water balloons, capture the flag and a freestyle trampoline jumping contest. The most fun was watching Trey try to blow his trick candles out over and over and over again!

Traditional Mamprusi Hunting Songs

Zɔkri of Nalerigu, Ghana is a soothsayer but also plays a two-stringed banjo and flute that his late father passed down to him. The guitar is made of goat skin over a gourd with the strings being rubber strips. We visited him on July 17, 2017 with musicologist Sarai Brinker and our language teacher Philip Jangdow. He performed several folks songs for us and we recorded him. Then we went through the recordings with Philip and translated them.

It was fascinating to see the layers of complexity packed into their seemingly short and simple songs. So much context is needed to understand the meaning of the songs as is a familiarity with local proverbs. It was great to have Philip guide us through the lyrics so that we could document these songs for others to hear and understand.

My Heart is Happy

Mampruli

Di bɛ sa’azugu ka bɛ tiŋŋa
Kumnila wunni
Di bɛ sa’azugu ka bɛ tiŋŋa [response]

Di bɛ tiŋŋa ni ka bɛ sa’a
Kumnila wunni
Di bɛ sa’azugu ka bɛ tiŋŋa

N sufu maaiya, n sufu maaiya,
Wa n-kpalim

N pu maaiya, n pu maaiya,
Wa n-kpalim [2x]

N sufu maaiya, gɔsima, n sufu maaiya,
Wa n-kpalim

N sufu maaiya, Ma mi n sufu maaiya,
Wa n-kpalim

N-dɔ’ai bii ka u niŋni nŋɔ
ŋɔn dɔ’ai ŋɔn laama

I di pɔ’a ka u deaai i yuubu
ŋɔn dɔ’ai ŋɔn laama

I kuli doo ka u deaai i yuubu
ŋɔn dɔ’ai ŋɔn laama 2x

ŋɔn dɔ’ai ŋɔn laama [response] Ka u niŋi I yuubu
ŋɔn dɔ’ai ŋɔn laama

U dɔ’ai bii ka u deaai u yuubu
ŋɔn dɔ’ai ŋɔn laama

English

It’s in the sky and in the earth
Crying to the gods
It’s in the sky and in the earth

It’s in the earth and in the sky
Crying to the gods
It’s in the earth and in the sky

My heart is happy, my heart is happy
Dancing remains

My belly is happy, my belly is happy
Dancing remains

I’m happy! Look! I’m happy!
Dancing remains

I’m happy! I know I’m happy!
Dancing remains

I have a child and he does this
She who birthed him should smile

You married a woman who obeys your will
She who birthed her should smile

You married a man who obeys your will
She who birthed him should smile

She who birthed him should smile
And he obeys your will
She who birthed him should smile

She births a child and he obeys her will
She who birthed her should smile

My Father's Footsteps


Mampruli

N ba nɔba ka n dɔla,
Nɔbkura ka n dɔla

N ba nɔba ka n dɔla,
U nyɛ la Yilaan nira ka n dɔla
Nɔbkura ka n dɔla

N ba nɔba ka n dɔla,
U nyɛ la Zaadaari nira ka n dɔla
Nɔbkura ka n dɔla

N ba nɔba ka n dɔla,
U nyɛ la yoo ni nira ka n dɔla

N ba nɔba ka n dɔla,
U nyɛ la yani nira? Ka n dɔla

Nɔbkura ka n dɔla, nɔbkura. [response 5x]

N ba nɔba ka n dɔla,
Kunduŋŋu za’a yuuri dima

N ba nɔba ka n dɔla,
??? [di tɔ] ???

Kambonbiisi, ba nɔba ka n dɔla,

Nɔbkura ka n dɔla,
Nɔbkura ka n dɔla,

N ba nɔba ka n dɔla,
Saa daari boori niriba ka n dɔla

English

I’m following in my father’s footsteps
I’m following old footprints [response]

I’m following in my father’s footsteps
He’s from Yilaana and I’m following
I’m following old footprints

I’m following in my father’s footsteps
He’s a Judgement Day person* and I’m following
I’m following old footprints

I’m following in my father’s footsteps
He is a wilderness man and I’m following

I’m following in my father’s footsteps
Where is from that I’m following?

I’m following old footprints, I’m following. 5x

I’m following in my father’s footsteps
Hyena refuses naming

I’m following in my father’s footsteps
???[unclear]???

Warriors’ children, father’s footsteps that I’m following

I’m following old footprints,
I’m following old footprints,

I’m following in my father’s footsteps
Rainy day wants people and I’m following

* aka, he’s dead

Our Spirits

Mampruli

Ti wunni, ti wunni,
ka za’a wuna n-diri pɔ’aba

Ti wunni, ti wun, ti wunni,
ka za’a wuna n-boori ligri

Ti wunni, ti wun, ti wunni,
ka za’a wuna n-diri naam

Ti wunni, ti wun, ti wunni,
ka za’a wuna n-dɔ’ai biisi

Ti wunni, ti wun, ti wunni,
ka za’a wuna n-diri kpaya

English

Our spirits, our spirits,
we reject the spirits and go marry women

Our spirits, our spirits,
we reject the spirits and search for money

Our spirits, our spirits,
we reject the spirits and search for chieftaincy

Our spirits, our spirits,
we reject the spirits and birth children

Our spirits, our spirits,
we reject the spirits and eat malt *

* to “eat malt” is an expression meaning to drink beer

Two Hunting Songs

This is two hunting songs with the same tune.

Mampruli

Bɔ, n-bɔ n bu nya n-ku
N niŋi wula ka di maai ma?

Bɔ, n-bɔ n bu nya n-kuli
N niŋi wula ka di mara?

Bɔ, n-bɔ n bu zi n-kuli
N niŋi wula ka di maai ma?

English

Search and search and didn’t find to kill,
What’ll I do to be happy?

Search and search and didn’t find to come home,
What’ll I do to be happier?

Search and search and didn’t carry to come home,
What’ll I do to be happy?

Song #2

M ba nyɛ la Yoonaaba, yee
ka niŋi yoo bumbilla

N-dɔli ba…

Kyɛ ka n-dɔli ba n-baŋŋi yoo
Ya kur kyɛ ka n-dɔli ba n-baŋŋi yoo

N-dɔli ba, Yilaana nira,
n-dɔli ba n-baŋŋi yoo

N-dɔli ba, yanliri nira,
n-dɔli ba n-baŋŋi yoo

Song #2

My father is the chief of the wildness, ooo
and I become the wildness child

I follow them…

Allow me to follow them and know the wilderness
Ya’ll just allow me to follow them & know the bush

Follow them, Yilaana people*
and follow them & know the bush

Follow them, yanliri people**
and follow them & know the bush

* Yilaana is a village
** yanliri are those with magical vanishing powers

Footsteps Don't See Feet

Mampruli

Ka nɔpongu bu nya nɔ[ba],
Tingbana wuri ma ni

English

Footsteps don’t have [çsee] feet,
Earth spirits love me.

Mɔkyeeriba or The Chief’s Horse Grass Cutters

Mɔkyeeriba means “grass cutters” in Mampruli and is a slang term for young men who are eligible for chieftaincy. The label comes from the fact that chiefs used to send their young sons and grandsons out every day to cut grass for their horses.

Very few chiefs own horses these days, but the paramount chief who lives in Nalerigu has two. His grandkids sometimes come around my house to cut grass for his horses. Sometimes even KJ gets in on the action!