Obroni in Ghana   4 comments

Obroni (oh-BRO-nee):  A Ghanaian term for a foreigner; a white person.

Five days in Ghana (it should have been six — thanks a lot United Airlines) does not qualify me as an expert on much of anything.  Our December 2011 trip to this west-African nation was only a glimpse, augmented by my wife’s always-astute observations, and by my daughter’s much more relevant four-plus months of travel and study in Ghana.  However, one thing was certain — our status as obroni did not allow us to blend in.  We were constantly observed, in a friendly but obvious sort of way.  Unfortunately, the result was that there was little chance of capturing photos of everyday life on the streets.  We were too obvious.  My camera was too obvious.  At times I wasn’t even comfortable pulling it out of the bag.

So much for the preamble.  Here are some of my better photos from Cape Coast in Ghana.  I will save the photos from Cape Coast Castle (slave trading fort) and from our visit to the orphanage where Hannah worked for later, separate posts:

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.  Cape Coast Castle wall on left.

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.  Fishing boats.

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.  Girl selling water sachets.  In Ghana, no one drinks tap water.  Bags of water (called sachets) are purchased instead.  Considering that Ghana is very close to the equator, constant hydration is a must.  Women and children most often are the sellers, here on the beach and along most roads.  These water bags, as you can imagine, are not refrigerated or iced.

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.  Fishing boats and nets being readied.

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.  Old man mending fishing nets.  See my earlier post for the black and white version of this photo.

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.  Fishing boats at the base of Cape Coast Castle wall.

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.  Town and beach.

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.  A more quiet beach on the opposite side of the castle.

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.  Although Ghana is in the top third of African countries based on GDP, there is a good deal of poverty.

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.  The “7 Jesus”.  Ghana is primarily Christian and very devout.  However, there is a strange (by our standards) convergence of religion and commerce.  Some of the other business names that I wrote down during our travels: “King of Glory Bakery” and the “Death and Judgment Taxi”.  How the taxi ever gets any fares is beyond me.

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.  Fishing boat under sail.  The sails are a patchwork of whatever cloth material each boat can find.  The result is economical and colorful.

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.

(Above) Location: Cape Coast.


Posted December 26, 2011 by ~ Bruce in Travel Photography

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4 responses to “Obroni in Ghana

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  1. Bruce — these pictures are incredible!! Tom said he wishes he could take you with him to Kenya.

    • Thanks, Bobbie! I’ll have to talk to Tom about becoming the official photographer for your/his organization. That would be my dream job, travelling the world to photograph, just like a National Geo photographer.

  2. Bruce, these are FASCINATING as well as striking photographs…..when we are next together in person, I’d love to look at these and ask you some of the questions they provoke. The colors are remarkable. Such poverty, yet such vital rich colors and scenery…..

    Clearly, there is pride in the aesthetics of the fishing boats as well as just the structure of them. And that green of the fishing nets becomes an anchoring color throughout the town as well as on and by the boats themselves…..Are they making their own paints and colors? Did you stumble upon that? The sails are wonderful!

    Was struck by the photo of the old man mending nets….the monochromatic content….then the color of plastic buckets to the side…..

    The intense sun must have impacted your shots both in terms of how you worked and what you got?

    I look forward to talking in person (hopefully, before long?) and hearing more.

    Thanks for sharing these, Bruce.

    • Hi Marion! Thanks for the comments. I’m not sure I will have answers for many of your questions, but any excuse to get together is fine by me. :o)

      I would really like to go back to Ghana in a photojournalist role and explore so many things. It is something that I suspect is very difficult for an obroni to do. Maybe it would be possible if I had a Ghanaian guide to “smooth the way”.

      I’ve promised so many people that I’ll make a road trip back down to central Virginia that I’m going to have to live up to my promises pretty soon! But if you are headed up here any time soon, you know that you are always welcome . . .

      Take good care!

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