Making the lelo ball

Filling the empty leather ball with sand and dirt; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

About 11am on Easter morning, Pavle led us to the home where the lelo ball was being made. We saw children stuffing an empty leather ball with sand/dirt, while adults talked, laughed, drank red wine and vodka, and ate various snacks. Some adults poured wine and vodka into the ball. As the ball filled, they used a stick to pack the sand tighter and tighter. The goal was to have the ball weigh 16 kilograms (about 35 pounds). Some people believe the lelo ball should weigh 16-kg because a puti—an ancient Georgian measurement equivalent to 16 kilograms—traditionally described the ball’s weight.

Adding wine to the lelo ball; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, Goga Khachidze, pours vodka into the lelo ball; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

Weighing the lelo ball to make sure it is 16 kilograms (35 pounds); copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

Tying a knot made of a leather thong to seal the lelo ball; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

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About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

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