Friday, July 23, 2010

Ghana by Flashlight

I just found these photos at the New York Times. These nighttime portraits were taken by Peter DiCampo, an RPCV in Ghana. I think they are beautiful. They also make me very nostalgic. I remember using kerosene lamps at my home in Monapo. I felt conflicted about getting the house hooked up to electricity. I felt like not having electricity put me in solidarity with my community. My students studied by streetlamp while I graded their papers by lantern. But I cannot deny that electricity improved my life. Kerosene is bad for your lungs, and light is bad for your eyes. The small fridge open up more cooking possibilities. I stayed up later, reading more. I bought a radio that I didn't have to constantly feed batteries.

But some of my favorite memories are of walking through the bairro at night. Vendors lit up their stalls with small, golden flames. Because it was cooler, almost everyone was out, taking a walk, looking for friends to sit with. Take at look at the two links, there are more beautiful photos that capture what I'm talking about.

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