N 09°12.067 E 01°02.510, also known as the Ghanaian village Torovili, was the location of one of my most impressive cultural experience. Luuc, my brother, for a Ghanaian-based Dutch company and was responsible for contact with their farmers located in the ‘bush’. One day he brought me and my parents along.
The day we drove out into the Ghanaian bush to visit one of the villages Luuc told us that the people living there still lived according to the lifestyle of their ancestors and that they didn’t speak English, except for one villager who’d be our translator.
When we arrived we found the village-elder sitting beneath a enormous tree, waiting to greet us. Curious children and villagers gathered around to take a look at us. Luuc introduced my parents as associated of the company and my as a journalist so chances where I was aloud to take pictures. The villagers agreed and I took out my camera.
First the villagers wanted to show their corn- and groundnut fields. They tried to tell us about their crops, felt a bit like playing charades, and gave us some local fruit. When we got back people wanted me to take photo’s of them and posed for me. A proud mother even got her son an cleaner shirt and pushed him for the to me. I was surprised things went so smoothly without saying anything to each other.
I was so amazed by their way of living that I wanted to photograph everything. When in kneeled to shoot a picture of a goat I heard laughter, when I looked up from my camera I saw three kids laughing at me for being interested in their goat. Apparently goats weren’t something special over there, haha.
When we where done with the tour and the photo’s the villagers gathered under the tree and presented my dad (our group eldest) with some eggs, apparently a token of their gratitude for our visit.
After we got back to Tamale I edited the photo’s I took in Torovili. I remembered that Luuc told me that most of the villagers never owned a picture of themselves so once I was done I made a selection of the portraits and brought them to a printshop. Unfortunately the photo’s weren’t printed yet before I had to get back to the Netherlands so I got Luuc to take them to Torovili on his next trip. He did and they where so happy to receive them!
I’m still feeling good about spending the extra money, knowing that I made a lot of villagers happy with their portraits.