People in Ghana were generally friendly, more so in the north that in the cities in the south. In the cities in the south, especially in Accra, people don't like it at all when you take pictures, they can be quite hostile. One got really rude and aggressive when I took a picture of the street scene, not even of him.
Near Kumasi I visited the house of a local family. They were cooking the meal on a fire inside the house without a chimney. As I understand the inside fires cause a lot of problems with lung diseases.
In Kumasi I watched the monthly reception of the local chiefs by the Ashanti king. The king arrives in a large procession and is seated on his throne. Then a long procession of dignitaries and local chiefs arrives. Each dignitary pulls his gown off both shoulders before getting to the king. He bows before the king. The whole reception takes several hours. The gowns are mostly black and white. There were only a few that wore colored gowns.
I saw two dance performances, one in Cape Coast and one in Tamale. The one in Cape Coast was outside, the one in Tamale was in a restaurant.
Business is done a lot on the streets or in the markets. Most streets through villages and small towns are lined with stands that sell everything from victuals to clothes, etc. There are also usually small stores along the roads, with a lot of the merchandise outside.
Agriculture is a large part of the business there. Stands with food and women carrying food for sale on their heads are everywhere. Food is generally sold by women, men sell other stuff like clothes, leather goods, etc.
Chicken are everywhere. Livestock is mostly goats and some sheep. In the central parts they have cattle as well. They do have donkeys to draw carts. There were very few horses and very few dogs in Ghana.
Palm nut processing is a major business in Ghana. The oil is extracted from the flesh of the fruits as well as from the nuts. The nut shells are then used to fuel the fire for cooking the nuts during processing.
School children gathering to watch us. (976k) School children playing soccer. (939k) School children on their way home. Mostly they were walking, only a few had bicycles. (759k) Relaxing after school. (873k) School children greeting us. (1062k) Soccer player exercising on the beach. (681k) Men relaxing at playing cards. (906k) This was a class for women to learn sewing with sewing machines. (786k) One of the very few times I saw women relaxing and not working. (809k) Impromptu music performance at a roadside stand that sells drums. My guide in the yellow Hawaiian shirt joined the music. (960k) Washing up in the river. (857k) Woman in traditional dress, carrying her baby on her back. There are no strollers in these countries, women always carry their babies on their back. (641k) Woman in formal dress, still carrying her baby. (991k) Women in western style clothes still carry their babies on their back. (725k) Woman in modern clothes. In the southern parts of Ghana many women were wearing modern western style clothes. In the northern parts they were wearing more traditional clothes. (676k) Formal male footwear at the reception of the Ashanti king. (743k) Women carrying stuff on their heads. These loads sometimes where quite large. Most of the time they didn't hold on to then load, they were able to balance it without their hands. Some men also carry things on their heads, but not as much as women do. (621k) This was an especially large load. (747k) Young girl with a basket on her head. (671k) Women pumping water from the community well. (989k) Young children pumping water. The little girl had to jump up to the handle and then hang on it to pull it down. (1060k) Men only VERY infrequently do such chores as pumping water. (894k) This bucket full of water is quite heavy. (834k) The house that I visited near Kumasi. (801k) Interior of the house that I visited with the meal cooking on an open fire inside. (688k) The children of the family, smiling. (866k) The father of the family, discussing something with my guide. (914k) The mother of the family that I visited near Kumasi, chopping vegetables with a BIG knife. (781k) A group of children posing for a photo. (858k) They didn't stand still for very long, they got all excited. (828k) Young child with a sachet with clean drinking water. It is good that they have access to clean water, but the plastic sachets are starting to cause a garbage problem. (618k) Smiling young kid. (539k) Cute little kid. (687k) Even the young children carry their younger siblings on their back. (796k) He wants to become a truck driver (724k) I saw some women wearing head scarfs, but not too many. (645k) I saw some wearing this kind of head dress as well. (673k) Attractive young women in format dress at the reception of the Ashanti king. (607k) Older man in formal gown at the reception of the Ashanti king. (491k) This is my guide and driver Samuel. You can see that we were really close to the elephant. (617k)
Tire shop. (693k) Household items for sale. (689k) Many shops had hilarious names. (651k) What a name for a bar. (694k) This is a shop that sells caskets for funerals. The caskets are shaped according to what the deceased did in life or wanted to do. A fish for a fisherman and a camera for ?? (645k) Women selling food stuff in a traffic jam. (592k) He is selling jumper cables in a traffic jam. (691k) Roadside vegetable stand. (884k) Pineapples for sale at a roadside stand. These pineapples are slightly different from the regular pineapples that we know. They don't last long, so they can't be used for export, but they taste much better, sweeter, and more flavorful. (1059k) Roadside stand selling the partially processed cassava. These stuff in these blocks is then used to make fufu. (992k) Charcoal for sale. Charcoal is still used a lot for cooking. (1067k) Fresh coconuts for sale. (1134k) Bakery oven. (1065k) Mud brick manufacture. (709k) Roadside stand with wooden drums. They are made right there. (1135k) One of the large wooden drums. (804k) Making the drums. (1046k) Roadside kitchen. Notice the wheels used for holding the frying pan. Similar interesting solutions for everyday problems can everywhere. (851k) Kente weaver. Kente are the long, colorful shawls with beautiful designs. (828k) Close-up of the Kente weaver. You can see part of the Kente design. (700k) The warp yarns are very long for weaving Kente. (820k) Palm nut processing. (988k) Small women's co-op for processing palm nuts into Shea butter. The fires are fueled by big logs that burn on one end and are pushed further into the fire as the end burns. (773k) Buckets of finished Shea butter. (694k) The Shea butter lasts indefinitely without refrigeration. It is wrapped in cloth and prepared for sale in the market. (616k) Clothes market. (838k) Shoe market. (890k) Used pants are washed, dried and then sold. (858k) Cloth market. (1071k) Grains and nuts for sale. (1163k) I don't know exactly what this is. It looks like some chocolate paste. (1169k) Vegetables for sale. (795k) A lot of the fruit and vegetable stands in the market looked very nice, colorful and well organized. (1238k) Stacks of cloth for sale. (1312k) Fish market. (958k) Okra. (891k) Tomatoes. (1015k) Even small kids do business. These made some money washing out car. (956k) The bane of Africa. These black plastic bags that are used in all the markets are a pest; they litter large areas around every village and town. (723k)
Agriculture and Livestock
Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera, german: Kokospalme, french: Cocotier). (533k) There was a disease in the area that killed most coconut palms. They are trying to develop a hybrid that is resistant to the disease. (580k) Long grass. It is used for roofing. (976k) Bananas. The fruits are covered with a plastic sack, to prevent animals from getting to them. (1009k) Plantain. They are similar to bananas, but you don't eat them raw. They are fried of roasted, or pounded with manioc to make fufu. (958k) Cashew Tree (Anacardium occidentale, german: Cashew, french: Anacardier). (1032k) Cashew Tree fruit (Anacardium occidentale, german: Cashew, french: Anacardier). The cashew nut is in the hard shell at the bottom of the fruit. The fruit itself is not used. (677k) Cacao Tree (Theobroma cacao, german: Kakaobaum, french: Cacaoyer). (1109k) Cacao Tree (Theobroma cacao, german: Kakaobaum, french: Cacaoyer) fruit. It has nut-like seeds in it that are used to make cacao. (808k) Cassava field (Manihot esculenta, german: Maniok, french: Manioc). Each plant grows in its own mound of earth. (1130k) Freshly planted Cassava field. (1097k) Roadside stand selling Cassava tubers. (809k) Drying corn. As always, the domestic animals try to get to the people food. (867k) Chicken. This one is in very good shape. I saw some very scrawny ones. (863k) Peacock in the Ashanti King's palace. (1361k) One of the few dogs I saw. There were surprisingly few dogs in Ghana. (832k) Goats. (598k) Sheep. They are hugging the wall to stay out of the sun. I finally learned how to reliably distinguish sheep and goats: In goats the tail goes up, in sheep it goes down. (1087k) Small pigs. I didn't see many of those. (888k) Donkeys. (986k) Cattle. They were mostly the Zebu kind with the hump. (1003k) Fish trap. (1142k) Fisherman casting a net. (810k) Small fishing boats. (957k)
Street in Accra. The streets in the south were mostly in good shape. (715k) Dirt roads in the center and the north can be difficult to drive on when you are following another car. (550k) Street in Kumasi. Further north there were more potholes in the roads. (787k) At some of the construction areas they watered the streets to keep the dust down. (822k) There was quite a bit of road construction in the southern parts, not so much in the north. (611k) Most of the villages had speed bumps on the road through the village. (615k) City traffic. (645k) Transportation in rural areas is frequently on foot by carrying the loads on their heads. (789k) Some of the loads they carry on their heads were quite large. (646k) Local transportation on the coast and on the Volta River was often by canoe. (785k) He was carrying a rifle to go hunting. (1044k) You can see that he was paddling hard. (1168k) He was taking a picture of me with his cell phone. (818k) Building a large wooden boat. (830k) Building dugout canoes. (924k) We were towing a tour boat whose motor had failed. (785k) Local transportation on the coast. (946k) Fishing boat on the coast. (1069k) Small freighter on the Volta Lake. (813k) Diagram of the Volta Lake, the largest man-made lake by surface area. (691k) People often transported goods on hand-drawn carts. (721k) Donkey cart. (759k) Lots of motorcycles in the center and north of Ghana. (742k) One of the ubiquitous taxis. (718k) They load as much as they can. (639k) Many buses and taxis had these kinds of decorations. (763k) Our Mitsubishi Patchero 4WD SUV. (823k) One of the public transport minibuses, as usually loaded to the gills. (718k) Another way of transporting people. (723k) Many of the trucks were spewing exhaust like this. (616k) Logging is still done a lot. (685k) Tanker trucks. A lot of them go to Burkina Faso, since there is no pipeline or railroad to connect Burkina Faso with the coast. (582k) Broken-down trucks were a common sight. (839k)
Dance band in Cape Coast. (875k) Drummers in a dance band in Cape Coast. (903k) Drummer close-up. (673k) He was quite enthusiastic in his drumming. (633k) Dancers. (643k) Dancers. (779k) Dancers. (711k) The dancers too were quite enthusiastic. (577k) Drummers at the dance show in Tamale. (796k) Drummers at the dance show in Tamale. (692k) Dance group in Tamale. (706k) Dance group. (729k) Dance group. (603k) Dance group taking a well deserved rest. (611k) In this group the men were wearing skirts. (706k) Drums in the museum in Accra. (533k) Traditional dancer's head dress. (613k) Head rest ornately carved out of wood. (456k) Collection of carved figures in the chiefs compound in Paga. (907k)
São Jorge da Mina Castle in Elmina, built by the Portuguese Diego de Azambuja in 1482. (696k) Interior courtyard in the caste. (640k) Canons on the castle roof. (598k) Fort Coenraadsburg on St. Jago Hill, opposite the castle, built by the Portuguese in 1555 under the name Forte de São Tiago. (768k) Fort between Accra and Cape Coast. (635k)
Cities, Towns and Villages
Independence Square in Accra. (618k) Mausoleum of the first president, Kwame Nkrumah. (635k) Jamestown lighthouse. (473k) Statue in Kumasi. (498k) Statue in Kumasi. (713k) View over the market in Kumasi. The whole market is under a roof. The market extends as far as you can see the flat roofs. (809k) Street in Kumasi. There was quite a bit of garbage on the streets. They do street cleaning, but they can't seem to keep up with the garbage thrown in the streets. (753k) Local village. In many villages, then houses are painted by the phone companies in their color. The yellow is the color of MTN. (686k) The red color is for Vodafone. (716k) Palace of the Wa Naa, Paramount Chief of the Wala traditional area. (592k) Larabanga Mosque. It is said to date from 1421, but there are doubts about its real age. (647k) Christian cathedral. (609k) Small mosque in a local village. (568k) Small church in a local village. Many villages had several churches for the various Christian sects. (762k) Local settlement. Some of the villages use metal roofs. They are longer lasting, but much hotter underneath than the traditional thatched roofs. These are rectangular buildings. (1144k) Local village. In this area, buildings are usually round mud construction with thatched roofs. There was often a lot of garbage around the local villages. (802k) Local settlement. In this area, the buildings were mostly rectangular, clustered together and connected with walls to protect the interior space. (834k) Interior of one of the villages. The buildings are clustered together, with a wall between the ones on the outside. (854k) Local hut. This one was mood and reed construction with thatched roof. As always there is the wooden mortar next to the hut. (853k) Mud brick hut with metal roof. This hut seems to be on the brink of collapsing. (1059k) House in the compound of the local chief of Paga. Notice the tree trunk used as a ladder. This type of ladder is used everywhere in Ghana. It always has a fork at the top to keep it stable when leaning on a wall. (889k) This was the outhouse in one of the villages that I visited. (973k) This used to be the village school. (812k) The government is distributing these solar-powered lights to villages that don't have electricity. (711k) Working on palm nuts. (787k) Cracking palm nuts by hand. (1153k) Pounded palm fruit flesh, ready to press for oil. (931k) Communal pounding of manioc (or some other food stuff). (664k) Cooking dinner. Note again the tree trunk ladder. (812k) As soon as the woman left the cooking food, the goat started eating. (785k) Some of the work areas are under a thatched roof. (945k) Food storage to keep it out of reach of the goats. (898k) Domestic work area. (876k) Fireplace. As usual, there are a few big logs that get pushed into the fire as the end burns off. (798k) One of the big wooden mortars for pounding manioc, etc. (842k) Fishing nets on Bosomtwe Lake, an impact crater lake in Ghana. (722k) Mystic stone of Larabanga. According to stories, whilst a main road was being constructed, whenever the stone was removed to make way for the construction, it always returned to its original place. They build a detour of the road around the stone. (879k) Advertisement to stop AIDS. There were many health related advertisements like this. (583k)
Drum musicians at the reception of the Ashanti king. (935k) Local chief, arriving at the Ashanti King's reception. The chiefs have a retinue with an umbrella bearer to shade them. (917k) Meet and greet among the chiefs and other dignitaries. (960k) The procession for the king. He has more elaborate, colorful umbrellas. (617k) The throne of the king deserves its own umbrella. (593k) The king is arriving. (673k) The king, ready to receive the dignitaries and local chiefs. (929k) Procession of the dignitaries and chiefs with bare shoulders. (834k) Some of the dignitaries brought gifts with them. (1002k) Bowing before the king with bare shoulders. (695k) There were a few dignitaries that had this kind of head cover. They are from a distinct tribe in the area. (667k) A few women approached the king and bowed as well. (787k) One of the women dignitaries. (854k)