Northward Bound

Image by Peter DiCampo. Ghana, 2009.

Girls from Ghana's Northern Region sit together at the Assemblies of God Relief and Development Services center in the Agbogblushie Market area of Accra, Ghana, March 21st, 2009. The girls originally moved to Accra to work in markets across the city; many of them, unable to find a place to sleep, became part-time prostitutes in order to have a roof over their heads at night. The live-in AGREDS center offers them courses in hairdressing, sewing, catering, and other skills and provides them with safe living quarters before returning them to their homes across Ghana after one year if they wish to go back.

I'm in Tamale, capital of the Northern Region, an area that still feels like my second home whenever I visit. Later today, I'll hop on a bus to Tampion, a small village a couple hours away, where some of the Kayayo girls I've met in Accra are from. One recently returned home to get married, and another came back and, after arguing back and forth with her parents, has started to attend Junior Secondary School (she wanted to attend; they didn't see the point). Here, I hope to answer the questions that have been gnawing at me in Accra: Was it worth it? Did you gain anything by moving to the city? Do you still have any of the money you made? Or was it merely a brief interlude, at times novel and adventurous but at others difficult and dangerous, before returning to the north, and your previous life?