On the first day in Ouagadougou (often just called Ouaga) I was on my own. I walked around town for most of the day.

On the second day in Ouaga, my tour guide showed me the city. In the evening I visited a restaurant that had live music and other entertainment. It was pretty good, including a show with three men on high stilts that gave a really good performance.

The next day we drove to Ouahigouya, for the last night in Burkina Faso. In Ouahigouya I visit the local market.

The two hotels I stayed in in Burkina Faso were OK, clean, with running hot water (which was not always the case in Mali).

Outside of the main cities, people live in small villages, mostly mud brick and straw huts. Food and other things are stored in separate granaries. Each family has a man's and a woman's granary. Women are not allowed to look in the men's granaries, and vice-versa. My guide said that part of the reason for this is that men are afraid that a woman might leave them if she looks in the man's granary and doesn't see enough food there.

There are may different tribes in Burkina Faso. Some are farmers, others (e.g. the Fulani) are herders that raise cattle, goats, and sheep.

Women mostly wear traditional ankle long dresses. I did see women wearing western style clothes, but these were distinctly in the minority. Men's clothing was more equally divided between traditional kaftans and western style t-shirts and pants. One thing that had to do with clothes was baffling me till almost the end of the trip. When women work with things on the ground, they bend down from the waist, not squat down in the knees. I somehow always had an odd feeling about that, it just didn't seem right. I finally realized why when I saw a teenager in a mini skirt in Saint Louis in Sénégal. I am a cross-dresser, and a while ago I started wearing mini skirts myself. I very quickly learned the lesson how to pick something up from the floor while wearing a mini skirt. You do not bend down from the waist, as I saw the women in West Africa do, when you wear a mini skirt, unless you want do flash the people behind you. I had learned that embarrassing lesson so well, that it made me uncomfortable even to see other women bend down like that. However, women in West Africa almost exclusively wear ankle length dresses, so they can afford to bend down from the waist.

The most common food crops are millet and sorghum. My visit was during the dry season, so the fields were fallow. After the harvest, the millet and sorghum are thrashed. The millet straw is collected and stored in trees to dry. The straw is later used as building material.

The other important building material is mud. There are mud holes near every village, where the villagers make the mud bricks for their houses. The mud bricks have to be redone every year after the rainy season. The mud bricks are sun dried only, they are not fired.

I saw men, women, and children make these mud bricks. In general, it seemed that most of the work is done by women (which was also what my tour guide told me). Children also work frequently. The men seem to mostly sit around and talk. This was the same in Mali and Sénégal, and was similar in East Africa, although maybe not quite as obvious.

Transportation for people between cities and within is with buses. Private transportation is a lot with motorcycles and mopeds. Outside the cities a lot of transportation of goods is with donkey carts. In the towns, people drawn carts are frequently used to move goods around. And a lot of goods are carried by men and women on their heads, especially when they bring goods from the settlements to the markets and bring back their purchases.

The markets are an important part of society. In the larger towns, the markets are daily, in the smaller villages they may be only once or twice per week. I visited a large market in Ouahigouya; it was quite interesting to walk through the market. Everything is for sale that you may need. One part is the food market, the other part is for other household goods.

The largest market that I saw was the Grand Marché in Ouagadougou. It was brand new, it had burned down a couple of years before and was rebuilt.

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.

Villages and Towns

Local Village Mud Straw
Local village with mud and straw huts. (1107k)
Close-up Village Right Storage
Close-up of a village. On the right is a storage platform for millet stalks, and next to it a straw covered granary. (1137k)
Millet Straw Stored Tree
Millet straw stored in a tree for protection from grazing animals. (835k)
Mud Brick "factory" Mud
Mud brick "factory". The mud bricks are made locally, often by kids. (1113k)
Village Well Villagers Filling
Village well with villagers filling up their water containers. (1094k)
Seen Frequently Women Working
As seen frequently, the women are working, while the men are watching. This was a common theme throughout my trip through West Africa. (939k)
Kids Working Well Too
Kids are working as well. That too was common throughout the trip. (1032k)
Sheep. (831k)
Cow Exclusively Humped Zebu
Cow. They were exclusively the humped Zebu type of cows in West Africa. (1050k)
Hot Pink Yellow Colors
The hot pink and yellow are the colors of Zain, one of the cell phone companies, the same as I saw in Kenya. (905k)
Small Mosque Outside Ouahigouya
A small mosque outside Ouahigouya. (987k)
Mosque Small Town Between
A mosque in a small town between Ouaga and Ouahigouya. (914k)
Cathedral Ouagadougou
Cathedral in Ouagadougou. (684k)
Front Cathedral Ouaga
Front of the cathedral in Ouaga. (708k)
Hotel Room Ouahigouya Throughout
Hotel room in Ouahigouya. Throughout the trip, the hotel rooms were basic, but fairly clean. I stayed in "upscale" hotels, so I almost always had air conditioning, but not always hot water. (440k)
Little Brook Running Ouaga
A little brook running through Ouaga. It was extremely dirty and stank to high heaven  :-( (1057k)
Drainage Ditch Ouaga Filled
A drainage ditch in Ouaga, filled with garbage. This was common throughout the trip through West Africa. It was a lot worse than what I saw on my trip through East Africa. (1035k)
View Buildings Grand Marché
View of buildings in the Grand Marché in Ouaga. (1015k)
Colorful Goods Store Grand
Colorful goods at a store in the Grand Marché in Ouaga. (1191k)
Carved Tree Street Ouaga
A carved tree on a street in Ouaga. (855k)
Carved Tree Ouaga Had
Another carved tree in Ouaga. It had carved slogans about AIDS prevention, talking about abstinence, marital fidelity, etc. (760k)
Village Chief Visiting Town
A village chief was visiting the town. He came on horseback with a large entourage of people singing and chanting. (935k)
Visiting Village Chief Procession
Visiting village chief procession. (842k)
Visiting Village Chief Procession
Visiting village chief procession. (1070k)
Visiting Village Chief
Visiting village chief. (780k)

Markets and other shops

View Produce Market Ouahigouya
View of the produce market in Ouahigouya. (1333k)
View Produce Market
View of the produce market. (1179k)
Market Vendor
Market vendor. (1163k)
Fruit Vegetables Display
Fruit and vegetables on display. (1005k)
Vendor Selling Tomatoes Peppers
Vendor selling tomatoes, peppers, and onions. (959k)
Customer Bending Check Offered
Customer bending down to check out the offered wares (see comment in main text). (913k)
More Relaxed Vendor Market
A more relaxed vendor in the market. (1108k)
Bananas Sale
Bananas for sale. (815k)
Rice Millet Sorghum Grains
Rice, millet, sorghum, and other grains for sale. The goats and sheep were ubiquitous. Sometimes they would start eating the produce, if the vendors weren't paying enough attention. (945k)
Grain Peanuts Vendor Child
Grain and peanuts vendor with child. (968k)
Dried Tamarind Dried Onions
Dried tamarind and dried onions for sale. (1000k)
Grain Peanut Vendor
Grain and peanut vendor. (1072k)
Dried Fish Very Smelly
Dried fish. It was very smelly in that area. (965k)
Household Goods Market Across
Household goods market. It was across the street from the produce market. (984k)
Pots Sale
Pots for sale. (1088k)
Tailor Market Foot Operated
A tailor in the market with a foot operated sewing machine. (814k)
Food Stall Roasting Chickens
Food stall. He was roasting chickens on an open grill, and peeling onions with a machete. (901k)
Guide Obama Baseball Cap
My guide (with Obama baseball cap), selecting a chicken from the grill. My driver is on the right. (1025k)
Restaurant Market Ouahigouya
A restaurant in the market in Ouahigouya. (1007k)
Food Vendor Street Ouahigouya
Food vendor in the street in Ouahigouya. (1013k)
Cooking Street
Cooking on the street. (943k)
Tourist Shops Bronze Statues
Tourist shops with bronze statues in Ouaga. (986k)
Artisan Shop Artisan Village
Artisan shop in the artisan village on the outskirts of Ouaga. (1312k)
Restaurant Ouahigouya Glued Tv
Restaurant in Ouahigouya. They were glued to the TV, watching a football game in the Africa Cup that was held in Angola. (921k)
Horse Racing Betting Parlor
Horse racing betting parlor. (954k)


Lot Goods Carried Heads
A lot of goods are carried on the heads. (951k)
Woman Way Grand Marché
A woman on the way to the Grand Marché in Ouaga. (779k)
Woman Grand Marché Carrying
A woman in the Grand Marché, carrying produce on her head, and her baby on her back. Small children are carried exclusively like this. (906k)
Street Vendor Cart Goods
Street vendor with a cart of goods in Ouaga. (897k)
Bicycles Common Modes Transportation
Bicycles were common modes of transportation, both for men and women in traditional clothes. (885k)
Bicycle Rider Traditional Clothes
Bicycle rider in traditional clothes. (902k)
Also Used Carry Large
They were also used to carry large loads of goods. (946k)
Donkey Carts Everywhere
Donkey carts were everywhere. (1237k)
Even Center Ouaga
They were even in the center of Ouaga. (1000k)
Motorcycles Mopeds Everywhere Especially
Motorcycles and mopeds were everywhere. Especially Ouaga was full of them. Here is a street full of them, waiting for a green light. (961k)
Small Buses Main Transportation
One of the small buses that are the main transportation in the towns and between towns being loaded. (913k)
Trucks Frequently Second Hand
Trucks are frequently second hand from Europe. This one was from Germany, from a moving company in Hannover Isernhagen, a city I am very familiar with. (935k)
Since Cars Trucks Frequently
Since cars and trucks are frequently second hand, they need to be fixed frequently. Here is a repair shop in Ouaga. (878k)


Men Traditional Clothes
Men in traditional clothes. (893k)
Man Head Scarf
Man with head scarf. (730k)
Pondering. (866k)
Deep Thought
Deep in thought. (696k)
Way Somewhere
On his way to somewhere. (821k)
Kids Always Smiling Always
Kids were always smiling and always ready to pose. This was much more relaxed here than in Mali and Sénégal, where even kids didn't always like to be photographed, and frequently asked for money when I tried to take pictures. (1053k)
Teenager. (1080k)
Young Kids Posing
Young kids posing. (831k)
Young Girl Cute Hairdo
Young girl with cute hairdo. (847k)
What a smile! (733k)
Smiling Girl Cute Hairdo
Smiling girl with cute hairdo. (729k)
Young Boy
Young boy. (631k)
Impish Smile
Impish smile. (763k)
Young Kid Sure Whether
Young kid, not sure whether to smile or not. (941k)
Young Girl Even Youngest
Young girl. Even the youngest girls had elaborate hairdos. (753k)
Wonder Whether Going Chickens
I wonder whether he is going for the chickens. (936k)
Young Woman Traditional Dress
Young woman in traditional dress. (1078k)
Smiling Woman
Smiling woman. (866k)
Woman Child Colorful Dress
Woman and child in colorful dress. (818k)
Woman Traditional Dress Toddler
Woman in traditional dress with toddler on her back. (723k)
Woman Western Clothes Carrying
Woman in western clothes, carrying her baby. (851k)
Woman Traditional Dress
Woman in traditional dress. (752k)
Colorful Clothes Closeup
Colorful clothes closeup. (833k)
Older Woman Market
Older woman in the market. (882k)
Closeup Woman Elaborate Hairdo
Closeup of woman with elaborate hairdo. (753k)
Beautiful Hairdo
Beautiful hairdo. (789k)

This page contains 89 pictures

Burkina Faso
Main page for Burkina Faso

Page last updated on Tue Sep 24 19:53:43 2019 (Mountain Standard Time)

People in Burkina Faso on soaring.guenther-eichhorn.com

© Dr. Günther Eichhorn
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