A woman and two men in Wewa thresh dried cowpea pods in an open area in front of houses. Men relax under a nearby mango tree in the background. Cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata; chibi in Nafaanra)--also known as black-eyed peas--are a valued legume with a long history in West Africa. They are grown inter-cropped in fields with other foodstuffs where they aid soil fertility by fixing nitrogen. Early West African farmers domesticated cowpeas, and they are found at some of the earliest archaeological sites excavated in the Banda area. They are a valued and nutritious staple used in making stews and soups. Two photos. Wewa, September, 1982.
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.
Calabash (gourd) seeds (fnumu in Nafaanra) are a prized ingredient used to prepare a much-valued soup (fnumu chiin; calabash seed soup). The pulp is set aside to decay, making it easier to remove the seeds, which are then cleaned, dried, and cracked by hand to remove the seed coat. Here women on Nduo Wulo Kwadwo's farm outside Banda-Ahenkro prepare to carry seeds home for processing. Outskirts of Banda-Ahenkro, August, 1982.
The New Yam Festival (Finjie Lie in Nafaanra) marks the day when people can begin to eat the new crop of yams (finyjie in Nafaanra). Here women gather round a wooden mortar to pound cooked yam tubers to make fufu. Women pound with heavy, round-ended pestles. Working together, they use their pestles to pound and turn the fufu. Pestles hit the mortar's edge as they pound, creating a rhythmic accompaniment to their work. The musical sound of women and their helpers pounding fufu or grain was an integral part of the soundscape of village life in the earlier times. To the rear (right) calabashes (gourds, chrԑ in Nafaanra) wrapped in netting are ready to be sent to market. To the front sits a pottery grinding bowl (left), a calabash (center) and metal cooking pots (right). Ahenkro, 30 August, 1982.
Adjua Anane (seated left) and Akosua, her young relative, prepare fufu by pounding cooked yams in a wooden mortar. Sister Yaa Yable Wo looks on. In the foreground is a metal grinding bowl styled after the locally made pottery grinding bowls that are found at archaeological sites dating back to the 1800s and earlier. Ahenkro, July-August, 1986.
Young boys (Kofi and Isaac, sons of James Anane) pound calabash seeds in preparation for making calabash seed soup (fnumu chiin in Nafaanra). They use a deep wooden mortar and pestles rounded at the base. A metal roof shelters the hearth in the background. A chicken searches for food as the boys work. Ahenkro, July-August, 1986.
Magdalene Attah uses a small wooden mortar and pestle to process cassava flour while two goats forage in the background. The large wood pile to the rear (left) is associated with the tobacco drying barns that line the south edge of Ahenkro. Ahenkro, May, 1995.