patria mea totus hic mundus est - discoveries on a globalizing planet.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

African Natural Joys and the Orchid Hunters in History

Recently, I discovered an article that taught me something about a historical phenomenon so far unknown to me: the adventurous orchid hunting. The aims of orchid hunters were to find undiscovered orchids and other beautiful flowers in remote areas so to be able to claim first discovery and the right to name those.

Northern Cameroon may probably count to such areas. As I found out, Africa has incredibly beautiful things to offer: During my year in Ngaoubela I made it a habit to go for walks in the wilderness of the savanna almost every day, preferably in the early morning before sunrise, frequently going to a beautiful viewpoint where the landscape could be seen best. Walking through the savanna this way, I was regularly surprised with the beauty of wild flowers. At different times of the year various plants have their time of blossoming, so there is always a surprise for alien visitors living there for some time. I would like to present a small selection of those marvels. Most are not orchids, yet their exotic beauty is no less fascinating.

This one looks like it is carnivorous.


A Pineapple blossoming.

A wild orchid.

Note that all of those flowers grow naturally. Unlike gardeners in other parts of the world, people do not need to seed them or invest effort in planting them, they are all in their original natural environment.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ngaoubela - now available on Wikipedia

During my year in Ngaoubela, Cameroon, I had a colleague, Fabian (see his photo here, he is in the left front), who later has drawn my attention to the *German* Wikipedia page on our little village that he edited. While I have participated in updating it a little every now and then, I noticed that there is not even a most simple page in English language for it.
Finally, I have taken some time to fill this online-information-gap:

Please comment on it and feel free to add further details!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Moving Borders Photo Exhibition

I happily announce that after two years again a few of my photographs are exhibited in a gallery in Vienna throughout July, beginning with the vernissage on July, 2, 2009.
You will be able to see relative differences between what is considered as "rich" and "luxurious" in contrast to what is seen as "poor" and "miserable" in the particular cultural settings.

See also some pictures of the vernissage itself here.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fantasia in Tibati - the Celebration of "Eid-Al-Fitr" or the End of Ramadan

It might not have been pointed out clearly so far in my blog, the North of Cameroon, i.e. where I am living right now is predominantly muslim. Although, allegedly, their number is not that much higher than the number of Christians in Adamaoua. Consequently, Ramadan is respected strictly by large parts of the population meaning that people do not only refrain from eating but also from drinking between dusk and dawn. And everybody impatiently awaits the end - since fasting in Ramadan in African heat unavoidably means suffering. What a relief, when this period of self restriction finally is over - whatever poor one might be - that calls for celebration!

From babies to grandmothers - everyone wants to assist the big fantasia in front of the Lamido's palace in Tibati putting on the finest pagnes or clothes one possesses.

In a huge demonstration, the warriors of the Lamido get the chance to show off on their horses, neatly decorated with fine tissues reserved only for important festivities.
Authentic African Musicians, looking like funky clowns to the European eye contribute with their doodeling around and Tam-Tams while the "chevaliers" are swinging sables, lancets, swords and bows on their galopping horses in front of the Lamido - who appreciates their show by 'generously' distributing some bills of money among the heros.

Less apparently, the horses are not very well trained. No wonder, they are hardly ever ridden throughout the year, yet also no wonder that one of the maltreated had a fall during the galopp towards the Lamido's. On photos one will not easily find acts and consequent marks of violence against the animals, yet their grimaces may tell you a bit of what is happening.

When the sun sets down, the Lamido concludes the spectacle by retiring into his palace and the people go home to continue the feast by consuming everything that was limited for such a long time.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

From Side Actor to Movie Producer within a Year

It was about july when two young guys from Ngaoubela paid me a visit with an unusual question: As I was often taking pictures in our village, would it not be possible to produce a movie with my camera? First I was very surprised and had big doubts of the quality of a movie made by a photo camera, in particular as the microphone might not be of the highest quality and the autofocus works at a different speed than a movie camera.
Nevertheless we tried some test shots and found it at least possible to do the project, so one weekend in August we decided to hike into a traditional village, two hours away from Ngoubela and do the whole thing. People prepared themselves well, Rene, the leader of this association of culturally aware youngsters organized all the equipment and traditional clothes like animal skins and beaten plants as well as huge leaves of bananas and other bush plants.

Like this, to maintain this cultural heritage for future generations, we shot a well known traditional story of the ancestors narrated among the GBaya tribe. At first everybody was very shy to wear as little as a few leaves and/or some animal furs, but after I have demonstrated them that there is no need to be shy at all they got convinced that it is best to just do it :-)
Back in Austria I should be able to upload some cool dancing scene, for the moment the African internet connections do not allow such large data streams.... stay tuned!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

On the Road to Austria

What are the odds of "randomly" meeting somebody from your neighbour village in Europe in the middle of nowhere – ie the African bush in Adamawa?

Apparently they are high, otherwise we would not have met a couple from Unterwolfsbach, Lower Austria in Malarba, the trucker’s night stop nearby Ngaoubela.

Peter and Sabine are about to tour around Africa with their lorry “August”, a 4wd Mercedes 1311 from 1966. What a pleasant and unexpected surprise!

After short reflection they decided to stay in Ngaoubela overnight where we learnt more about their tour from Austria to South Africa via Eastern Africa and back home via Western Africa including quite a number of exciting stories and plenty of photos. In the end we discovered that both them and me were about to go to Ngaoundéré for some reasons so they gave me a lift – my first ride on a truck – and what an awesome one!

On the road we found some of the “outstanding” lorry drivers besides their trucks which fell off track… fortunately Peter is an excellent driver, so August could bring us sound to the Camp Norvegien in Ngaoundéré.

Check out and find news on their latest journeys!