Lens on… is a new photo series inspired by our reporters journeys to areas less traveled in West Africa. Through these photos, you will meet individuals who reflect the diversity found within our shared culture and experiences. Their personal testimonies exhibit their passion for their everyday life which demonstrates their ability to be extraordinary in a not so ordinary world.
Family on Farm, Twenedurase
“I have two kids. One of them is at school now but the rest of the family is here planting our corn. There is local corn and then there’s the ‘agric’ corn. This here, is ‘agric’ corn. The difference is that this one has been treated and the other hasn’t. So when I plant this corn, by Saturday God willing with the rain, it will start shooting out. And no termites will get to it because it has been treated. And tomorrow I will come back here to plant some cassava and plantain. In three months, everything will be ready.
This land is the government’s because it is a forest. So when you want to plant here, you have to ask for their permission and then they will cut out a piece of land for you. They don’t pay us and we don’t have to pay them but we are both benefiting. Even though there was a forest fire here, I’m still able to work here.”
Festival tour man, Obomeng
“I come from a family of entertainment, it’s in the blood. We love to do pubbing, nightclubbing and those kind of businesses. I tour 22 festivals in Ghana and my family who i based in Accra always move with me. There are more than 22 festivals so if there’s a clash, I have to choose my best out of the clash. I choose where the ‘amount bosses’ will be.
This space here is just for the Easter. We started setting up two weeks ago. It’s because of finances right now but I could have done it in one week. I even do two days setup. I do the designing and painting here and show the guys how to do it too. Colors are lovely. They’re like flowers. They attract people. A lady could be walking by and say “Hey, this is my color. Let’s go inside.”
It’s my ninth year in Kwahu. When I first started out, I was just selling ice cream and then one day I realized I landed my hands on a big space so why should I sell only ice cream? Last year, I started with Level 3+ but before that it was only Level 3. After Level 3+, what next? In everything in life, you have to upgrade.”
“I am 25 and I recently graduated from design school. I was training to be a seamstress and it is my dream to open my own shop one day and work. But for now I need to make some money to support myself and to help me open the shop. So, I come to the market and braid hair for ladies who need it. The market can get really busy so this is a good place to be right now.”
Fruit & vegetable vendor, Akateng
“This boat belongs to me. I use it to come here every Tuesday and Thursday from Afram Plains, with one other family member. We bring the best of our melons and yams to sell and we leave in the afternoon around this time. I’ve been doing this for a while.”
Trinket trader, Akateng
“I used to be a regular guy, I was a Christian in fact and then one day I found Jah. He says we should go back to our roots. So I started selling things made in Africa. If you sell things made in China and India, some of the profits will go back to them and much won’t be left for you, or nothing at all.
So we have to learn to support ourselves by selling the things made by our own people. See the beads, my flag, the Star of David? I’ve been selling my stuff at this market for five years and so far business is good.”
Kontihene of Asona, Obo
“I was born on Christmas day in 1953. I am very proud that I can remember my date of birth. My brother lives in this house here. I came to visit him today. He is also a chief and I am the kontihene of Asona, which is close to Nkawnkaw. A kontihene is the custodian of a land.”
Old lady, Obo
“We didn’t go to school so we cannot be sure of our age but I am old. I know that. I think I will be 90 soon because I should have been about 20 when Ghana gained independence. My first son is 65. But look at me, I am still strong.
When I wake up in the morning, I exercise like this and walk up this hill to go and buy food like fish and banku or yam. You met me on my way to buy my food. After that I am going to get dressed and go to visit my father’s house not far from here.”
“I first started carving in Nima and then I went to Aburi. But I’ve come to Boti because the land belongs to my family. My mom passed away here. I am happy to settle down here because it is peaceful.
When I go to sleep, I dream and that is how I get my ideas for the things I make. My work is different, like this drum. It is how I met my second wife. She is a dedicated Christian but I am a Muslim. When I was in Aburi, she visited my shop, she liked my work and she became friendly with me. Soon, we fell in love and she agreed to marry me. She is still a Christian. And maybe I will marry a third wife one day.”
Laborer, Twenedurase Caves
“I used to be a ‘galamsey’ miner in the Brong-Ahafo region. We would go deep down in the mines and one day there was a blast, and a piece of stone hurt my eye. So after that incident, my sister suggested I move here to come and recover and work.
My dad is from Bawku, in the Northern region but I was born in Brong-Ahafo so I was named after the man in whose house my father was staying in at the time. So I am Yaw Amankwa. That is not common name for a Northerner. But I am also called Alhassan.”
“Please, I want to dance.”