Ch 1 - Getting Adjusted

And so it begins...

Traveling to a new country carries a lot of responsibility. Add a toddler to the mix and that responsibility multiplies. Last week, my family moved from New York City to Ghana for an 8 month adventure full of unpredictable experiences. I received a Fulbright award to photograph Ghanaian dance and music and the influences on Western culture. There is a connection between hip hop, reggae, r&b, and jazz that links directly back to the African continent. They are all kindred rhythms. I am aware that this continent is massive and Ghana is one of many countries that have influenced musical traditions throughout the world. Dance and music has been utilized as a form of celebration and mourning. It has been used in preparation for war and as a form of resistance. I am tasked with capturing this connection through photography. This is a huge undertaking. But this is simply a starting point — a brief introduction to a much larger conversation. Although I have only been here a week, I decided to take it slow and observe my surroundings before diving into photographs. The views and opinions are my own. Peace.


  Layover at Schiphol, Amsterdam.

Layover at Schiphol, Amsterdam.

The house we are staying in has an empty garage space which we've converted into Talib's playground.

There are steps, uneven surfaces, and holes in the ground for the sewage system. It's all concrete. I want him to play but I don't want him to fall. Next door lives two kids. Together, we watch them run, jump and dive on the floor playing football. They are resilient. I loosen my grip on Talib and let him run.

  Searching for potatoes, yams, and other provisions. The only provisions I found were chopped up, fried and sitting in a glass case on the side of the road.

Searching for potatoes, yams, and other provisions. The only provisions I found were chopped up, fried and sitting in a glass case on the side of the road.

  Bay strollers are rare since cars have the right of way.

Bay strollers are rare since cars have the right of way.

  Children's mattresses tied to the top of a van during rush hour.

Children's mattresses tied to the top of a van during rush hour.

  The mate of this trotro calls out destinations to passengers and collects fares.

The mate of this trotro calls out destinations to passengers and collects fares.

Everywhere I've lived with a high concentration of African and Caribbean immigrants, there's always been an alternate mode of transportation. It's usually cheaper and faster than the public buses. But there was also unpredictability. In Jamaica, Queens and Flatbush, Brooklyn we had "dollar" vans. In Dominican Republic we traveled in "voladoras" or "conchos." Now we get to see where this culture of alternative transportation originated. Here in Ghana, folks ride the TroTros. Again, they are faster and much cheaper than taxis but share the same predictability issues. 

  Abandoned trotro has reached it's final destination.

Abandoned trotro has reached it's final destination.

  Daily commute during rush hour. 

Daily commute during rush hour. 

  Street vendors sell goods to passengers in cars, trotros and bikes at red lights.

Street vendors sell goods to passengers in cars, trotros and bikes at red lights.

Idris SolomonGhana, Travel, Fulbright