John De Lisa can combine modern technology with primitive artifacts.
A teacher at St. Joseph Hill Academy, he recently gave a PowerPoint presentation on what he learned last summer as the recipient of a Fulbright-Hayes Summer Seminar Abroad Scholarship.
One photograph was of a helmet mask from the Mende people of Sierra Leone, which De Lisa explained represented the queen and was worn during the initiation of young girls into the status of womanhood.
"It is believed that the spirit of the queen possesses the wearer of the mask and speaks through her, giving instruction to the initiates in the lore of the tribe and the knowledge she will need as a wife, mother, and adult member of the community," De Lisa said.
Another artifact was an Akua-Ba from the Asante people of Ghana. A woman who wants to become pregnant straps the carved, wooden fertility statuette to her back and carries it as she would a real baby. The Akua-Ba is thought to ensure not only conception but a healthy infant.