bizmark's family
(accra, june 99

This is Bizmark (left) with all of
his brothers -- they embraced us,
shared their lives with us and we them.


It didn't take long for all the family to warm up and pose for the camera.


One of the brothers, "fingers", was a tailor and made outfits for both alex and myself.


This is Ampi, with his daughter.


Ampi was hoping to finish building up these walls in a suburb just outside Accra, and move in with his new family. He was tired of sharing quarters with other family members and tired of the constant buzz of life downtown Accra. He was trying to save the $100 or so it would take to finish the walls and roof.


Ampi was a carpenter, and would charge about $15 to make a sofa and two armchairs. I couldn't imagine how long it would take him to save enough money to build his house.


They came to the airport to see me off to Paris. It was a happy and sad moment.



one of our best experiences in accra was meeting and making friends with Bizmarks' family. I met Bizmark while wandering one afternoon through downtown Accra. This is the alley where his extended family live. Most lived in small little clusters of shacks/buildings off this alley, and all of them seemed to wash, prepare food, celebrate funerals all cramped into this alley.


Family frying fish along the alley


Wrapping dried fish to sell,
or save for later.


They insisted that I come "outdooring" one night -- this is when a friend has a new baby and celebrates by throwing a big party. Everyone got dressed up and I wore the shirt that "Fingers" had made for me.


The new father is on the left. There must have been about 200 people at the party -- it seemed like everyone wanted to dance with me, and after quite a few beers, I obliged.


even these women selling something out of the bowls on their head couldn't resist from joining in the dancing. One of them was not only dancing with a big bowl on her head, but also a baby on her back!!