Potting clay is spread to dry after being mined and brought to Dorbour by a potter, perhaps aided by her relatives. The clay includes a combination of plastic clay (chͻklͻlͻ in Nafaanra) and sandy clay (sisa in Nafaanra) which are mixed together at the place where the clay is mined. After drying, the clay will be pounded, sifted, mixed with water and kneaded until the clay is the right consistency. A potter only mixes as much clay as she needs to make a batch of pots (6-8). Children may help with the work of pounding and kneading the clay. In the background, houses made of atakpame (coursed earthen-walls) with thatched roofs are visible. Dorbour, 1994.
The interior of a courtyard house surrounded by thatch-roofed rooms. Houses like this were often built over time, with rooms added as needed, gradually enclosing the interior courtyard. The compound in this photo is fully enclosed, with a doorway to the exterior visible in the center, back. Four hearths are visible in the courtyard, surrounded by a variety of metal vessels used in food preparation and other daily activities. Left, a pestle lies on the ground surrounded by groundnut (peanut, boŋgrɛ in Nafaanra) shells. Makala, July, 1994.
A youngster helps a woman remove a loaded headpan as she approaches the thatch-roofed veranda of a room in a compound house. A variety of metal containers used to prepare food and for other household tasks are placed about, along with several calabash bowls and low stools used in this kitchen area. A headpan containing dishes rests on a cluster of hearth stones, lower right. Makala, July, 1994.
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University of Victoria Libraries
Headloading; Metal pots; Headpans
Stools; Thatched roofs; Gourd, Calabash; Courtyards; Lifting and carrying
The exterior of a compound house made of adjoining rooms oriented around a rectangular courtyard. These were often built over time, with rooms added as needed, gradually enclosing the interior courtyard. The compound in this photo is open on one side, rooms surrounding the other three sides of the courtyard. Atakpame walls are visible as are the gabled thatched roofs that protect walls from erosion by rain. Makala, July, 1994.
Exterior wall of a compound house covered by a thatched roof. The coursed earth (atakpame) wall was built in stages as rooms were added. An exterior roof support pole is visible to the left. A coconut palm, an unusual tree in this area of savanna woodland far from the coast, is visible in the background. Houses and surrounding streets are kept clear of grass and other plants. Makala, July 1994.
The exterior wall of an atakpame (coursed earth) house. Atakpame is a technique for building durable earthen walls that can stand for many decades. The thatched roof is supported by interior and exterior posts and does not rest on the walls. When covered by well-maintained thatched roofs, the walls are protected from erosion by rain. A goat walks on the street outside. Makala, July, 1994.
A woman sifts flour in the foreground as two women in the background pound maize (corn, bledju in Nafaanra) in wooden mortars. The women are sheltered from the sun by the thatched roof that covers this entrance to the house compound. View to the street beyond. Makala, July, 1994.
A view of Makala's wide main street, standing at the west edge of town, looking eastward. A mango tree grows in the street at the far end of the street. Atakpame (coursed earthen-walled) houses with thatched roofs line the street. A single house with a metal roof is visible to the right of the mango tree. The streets and areas around houses are kept clear of plants. Makala, July, 1994.
Kitchen area of a household in Dorbour. Several hearths are clustered in the center of the open courtyard surrounded by low wooden stools. Several wooden mortars of varying sizes and a number of pestles are clustered along a porch. Pottery and metal pots used in cooking are near the hearth. A goat forages for food amid the hearths. Large vessels to the far left store liquid (water, or possibly pito, locally made beer). The courtyard is surrounded by thatch- and metal-roofed rooms. Dorbour, 1994.
A view across a compound courtyard toward the courtyard of a neighboring house. Several hearths have clay pots resting on their hearth stones (gbunu in Nafaanra). Two wooden mortars are nearby. The house in the distance is made of sun-dried blocks, with one side of the house roofed with metal and the other side thatch. The ground is clear of plants and clean swept. Adadiem, 1994.
Adwoa Miwo (right) learns to make clay pots from her experienced potter mother, Peni Ngunu Chͻ (center), as they work together in the interior courtyard of their house. Mosi Nyuu (husband and father) looks on. Partially finished clay jars sit nearby, resting on the palettes (kapankpa in Nafaanra) on which they have been formed. The more experienced mother is making a larger jar than her apprentice daughter. Also placed around the house's interior courtyard are two dark-colored clay soup pots (chiin sinyjͻlͻ in Nafaanra) and a wooden mortar (right). Thatch- and metal-roofed rooms surround the courtyard. Dorbour, 1994.
Afua Donkor, a Nafana potter, inspects clay jars of various shapes and sizes that await firing. The liquid red slip (chuma in Nafaanra) has been applied, allowed to dry and then burnished in prepartion for firing. Visible around the courtyard are wooden mortars, a pestle and a metal cooking pot. Thatch-roofed rooms surround the courtyard. Dorbour, 1994.
The earthen walls of a house on one side of a multi-room compound have collapsed, the walls filling in the area that was once the house floor. The thatched roofs of other rooms around the open courtyard can be seen in the background. Sabiye, 1994.