Monday, July 30, 2007


Sorry for the delay in posting. I’ve been away from the computer for a while, having switched partner organizations. I’ve wrapped up my work with the Community Water and Sanitation Agency. EWB requested that I open up a partnership with a new organization, and in the spirit of a new challenge and opportunity, I’ve started working with the Community-Based Rural Development Project (CBRDP). I’ll have more details on this shortly, but right now they’ve got me in the field, evaluating some of the myriad of projects they fund.

In the meantime, I thought it might be interesting to offer a pictorial display of my most recent village stay.

I spent 6 days in the community of Nantinga, part of a larger community called Missiga, which is in the Upper East region of Ghana – almost in the extreme north-east corner of the country. I stayed with a man named Imoro, a friend of Junior Fellow Ryan Case, and an employee with the Bureau for National Investigation – Ghana’s equivalent to the CIA.
So below are some pictures from Imoro’s home, and captions describing them. I hope they’ll help paint a bit of a picture of rural life in northern Ghana.

Imoro bikes his son, Raouf, to school in the morning.

This woman is weeding her field. Most weeding is done by hand using a hand hoe, hunched over for hours on end. It isn’t easy – hoeing can start at daybreak and last until the midday sun forces a retreat – but farmers are incredibly tough.

Oxen being used to plough a field for millet.

Here I am trying to control the oxen. It’s not a simple task.

The rows should be straight. I’ll keep practising.

These high-tension power lines skip merrily over Nantinga on their way to Benin (two countries to the east of Ghana). Ghana exports quite a bit of power to the surrounding countries, but not all communities in Ghana have electricity. Nantinga is one such example.

Obligatory cute kid and her sister.

As the sun set and the weather cooled, children would go to the borehole and pump water for their families.

This was taken at a nearby marketplace. This is a sahelian cow, bred for ruggedness in the inhospitable Sahel terrain. Lots of interesting animals get brought down from Burkina Faso and Niger, and are sold in this market.

Missiga gets traffic from Niger, Togo, Burkina Faso, and more.

This is Cool Boy. I’m not clear on how he got this name – all I know is that it involved a mysterious trip to Kumasi, and he came back a new man. In any case, Cool Boy was collecting sand for concrete – he was renovating one of the rooms in his family’s compound. Cool Boy was a bit of a wild man with his donkey cart, racing it throughout the village like a Roman chariot race.

Here, members of the community crack open groundnuts (peanuts). This is quite a communal activity – people will sit around for hours in the dry season talking and cracking open peanuts in order to sell them or cook them in food.

Nantinga is a predominantly Muslim community. Here, two men take a break from cracking peanuts for their three o’clock prayers.

As the sun sets, these children are playing a board game that’s quite popular in Ghana.

This is Imoro’s father. He was out every morning around 5am, weeding his fields. Here, he’s dressed himself up for the picture – normally he wouldn’t wear his nice smock and prayer cap to the field.

Imoro’s father and me, with hoes in hand.