Regarding my travels in Ghana and Burkin Faso (word from other travelers about fighting between government troops and the Tuareg discouraged me from venturing north to Mali), most of my time was spent in Ghana’s Upper East region, in a small farming village called, of all things, Bongo. I had the great fortune to cross paths with a Peace Corps volunteer who took me to his village, Bongo, and gave me introductions to his “family” and coworkers, as well as the use of his home and facilities. Through them I gained access to some of the dwellings and was able to take photographs and measured drawings and to gather information about their building traditions. They also acted as liaisons to adjacent villages, offering introductions to the respective chiefs, who in turn gave me additional access and information. Logistically then, all was well. From an architectural standpoint, I believe the trip was a successful, too. Analysis of my drawings and notes and photographs should reveal something of the spatial characteristics of the compound dwellings specifically with respect to the ambiguous definition of their “common” space.
- Patrick Walker
From a letter dated 21 July 1994, London