Day five of the Ghana road trip: how palm oil is extracted.
Trucks with loads of palm nuts frequently passed. I decided that photographing the palm oil extraction process would be interesting.
Not far down the road from Nestor’s apeteshie still, we came across a palm oil extraction plant. It was rather large, with two giant open tin-roofed sheds and a big yard where drums of palm nuts were cooking.
The enthusiasm for being photographed is clear
on the faces of three out of these four guys.
What’s that thing on the one guy’s head, you say? It’s a rolled up piece of cloth to cushion his head. In a moment, when this batch of palm nuts is finished being shredded and the yellow basin is filled, he’ll put the basin on his head to carry it elsewhere for further processing. People in Ghana don’t carry much of anything in their arms like we do in the U.S. Anything of any substantial weight goes right up on the head, which is the easiest way to carry a heavy load.
This shy guy is transferring the cooked palm nuts into the shredder. I had to prod him into giving me something that resembled a smile rather than his previous expression, which was more suitable for being in front of a firing squad. His co-workers were laughing raucously as I tried to coax a smile out of him.
The shredded nuts are shoveled into the press.
The top is placed on the press, and the pressing begins. This young man was hurrying to put the shredded nuts in the press so he could be the one in the photograph!
The palm oil is collected from the press. It’s rich in carotene, which gives it the red color. Palm oil is commonly used as a cooking oil in West Africa, and I was told it is also used in soap making. There are dozens of other uses, which you can find out in a Google search.
This young woman was very friendly and eager to have me take her picture, though you wouldn’t know it from her expression. From experience, I learned that sometimes people don’t smile in photographs because they have missing teeth and they are ashamed.
Everyone was so friendly and I was having so much fun taking their pictures that I hardly thought to ask any questions.
The palm oil plant is owned by this woman. Again, it doesn’t look like she is very happy, but when I asked to take her picture she seemed very flattered and agreed right away. I think she was a little shy.
As we said goodbye, my BFF (seated, on the right) waved to me happily. Everyone was so nice here. It was one of my favorite stops of the trip. This day of nothing to see between Ko-Sa and Techiman was turning out to be quite interesting.