Every week, Ghana’s precious staple vegetable, the mighty yam, takes a journey from north to south on the gigantic Volta Lake, carried by the vessel “Yapei Queen”
Lake Volta is the largest artificial reservoir in the world and a project by African revolutionary and first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. A hydroelectric dam which flooded about 3000 square miles of land, and relocated 80,000 people.
Being so large the Lake somewhat divides the Eastern side of the country, and requires transport by boat to reach many areas. The Yapei Queen cargo ferry makes a weekly journey from Akosombo in the south to Yeji in the north of Ghana. Dropping large crates on the edge of the lake every few hours and returning two days later, to crates full of yams, which have been stacked by local farmers. Bought by two crews of female traders, who take the journey each week to buy from the farmers and sell wholesale to shop owners coming from Accra.
A community forms from this journey of the yams and the lake. Students ride the ferry as a scenic option to travel home for holidays. Traders create pop up markets on the day the ferry passes through, selling second hand clothes, snack food and drinks. Fisherman come on dugout canoes to drop large bales of dried fish to also be sold in Accra. A cook on board, and a crew who is like a family spending more time on water than land.
The slow and steady gliding across the lake, up and down, every week, a unique journey, a time to switch off from the world.