Phillip Martin Art

The Africa Collection

Krahn Bush School

The Krahn people, like so many African tribes, had special schools when their children approached adulthood.  What happened at the schools was a secret that nobody ever shared with any foreigner.  The girls went to a mysterious location in the bush and receive whatever training the elders believed was necessary for adulthood.

I didn't see girls who finished Krahn bush school very often.  In my two years in Zwedru, I think I saw this three times.  So, when I was at the market place and saw this girl, I raced home to grab my camera. I didn't care how much I had to beg, plead, pay or grovel. I was going to get some photos.

As it turned out, the girl was just as happy to get her photo taken as I was to take the picture. It was the people around us who insisted that I paid her. Well, I reached into my pocket and emptied all the money I had into her hand. It was only about 25 cents but she was delighted. I was too!

When I returned to Liberia 25 years later to paint murals with Ebola survivors, I had a mission to locate this woman.  Most likely, she now had a daughter about this age.  I wanted to give her a copy of the portrait and get a photo of her holding my drawing.  It didn't happen.  She wasn't located until after I returned home.  But, she has been found.  When I return to Liberia, it is still a photo that I want to take.

Continue on to Africa Image 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 or back to the Portraits Home Page.