Sunday, November 18, 2012


Susanne: This lovely meal was the long-awaited fufu, a Ghanaian delight consisting of cassava pounded into a doughy ball (like thick mashed potatoes) served in a soup.
Our soup today was palm fruit with goat meat. We were told we had to eat it with our hands. A spicy mess ensued...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy Kids & Local Puppetry

KRISTA: To every single person who contributed to our fundraising campaign for Puppets Without Borders, this is what your money is doing: making hundreds of village kids so very happy by having their very own art supplies and getting to have a week-long puppetry adventure with two somewhat bizarre Canadian women! Thank you for making this possible!

SUSANNE: At the time of this photo, the children were still a bit shy with us. By the end of the day they were high-fiving us and smiling so big!

KRISTA: We are so incredibly lucky to be staying with a Ghanaian puppeteer, Makosa, and his family. On our second night in Ghana, he took us to this puppet show that he has produced –which is touring villages on a flatbed truck– on the subject of election issues such as the importance of registering to vote. This is especially amazing because Ghana does not have a tradition of puppetry. I'm very excited that our community shadow puppetry performance on Friday will be double-billed with this show!

Saturday, November 10, 2012


We've arrived safe & sound in Accra, Ghana's capital. This is a random shot outside our hotel compound. This afternoon we'll be traveling to Ho, and tomorrow will be meeting the chiefs and elders of Bakpe, the first community we'll be working in.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Stuff That Art Is Made Of

For the last couple of weeks my life has been ruled by stuff, as my dining room has been gradually overtaken by boxes and bags of art supplies. I was getting seriously worried as to how we were going to get all of this to Ghana. I took a drive to the ever-awesome Wallack's art supply store in Kingston, where I picked up eight more boxes of stuff. Then I started getting really nervous. Had I drastically miscalculated what we could bring?

Susanne came over with a bathroom scale under her arm. Our goal was to cram all this amazing stuff into four suitcases weighing no more than 50 pounds each, meeting airline requirements. 

Here's what we packed:

For our shadow puppetry project:
180 pencil cases, each containing scissors, a pencil, pencil sharpener and eraser
65 rolls of duct tape
1600 bamboo skewers
A whole whack of gels, donated by some very kind lighting designers in Toronto

170 squares of black bristol board
800 sheets of construction paper
A shadow screen and some rope to string it up
Two low-voltage lighting kits that can be run off of car batteries, put together by our friend Chris Clifford (pictures to follow when we've got the thing rigged up)

For our after-school program making hand puppets:
152 hand puppet forms, sewed by yours truly over the last few months

550 buttons... and yes, I counted them!

Several hundred rolls of thread, donations collected by Picton Fabric World

...which we bundled into sewing kits

91 squares of fabric and fun fur

Yarn... for puppet hair, of course!

And just for fun:
154 sets of pastels
86 packs of crayons
3 glitter caddies (I couldn't resist!)
5 sample puppets
9 books: 3 copies each of Alligator Pie, Oh, the Places You'll Go, and The Snowy Day (I deliberated a long time over what books to bring)

PLUS a whole lot of miscellaneous things like sketch books, markers, pipe cleaners, pom poms... and a few t-shirts to pass out.

I can't believe that we did it! All of our personal effects are going in our carry-on luggage, which will also inevitably be holding some of the odds and ends we couldn't fit in the suitcases, and if the airport scales say that we're at all underweight, I'm going to cram a few glue sticks in wherever I can. We'll be picking up a few other items once we get to Accra.

Our journey begins tomorrow. After 10 months of planning, it's finally happening! I can't wait to meet the kids we'll be working with, and start passing out all this stuff. The magic of art supplies is that they contain so much potential... potential from which all sorts of beautiful magic can spring.