My children go to an international school that is very close to our house. Behind the school used to be an area where carpenters, metal workers and small restaurants would have their businesses. It used to be a very busy and thriving place. However, they were there illegally and one day all the business were torn down by bull dozers and everybody had to leave. It was a sad sight and I felt so sorry for all the people who lost their livelihood and main source of income that day.
After a few days, little houses began to spring up. Made from left over materials, a family built a shack on the side of the wall and used the dead baobab tree for a storage/laundry/cooking unit. Even though this is not a building, I do feel that this space is a good example of how materials are used, how a place is used and shaped to become sort of liveable. These shacks are all about use. With the building of the shack, only materials that were there are given a function, which is the simple function of having shelter and being able to survive. I don't think one can really speak of how effective the use of the building is, since everything seems to be just lying and standing there, but when looking closer do have a function. About two weeks after taking these images this family had left as well and their huts were taken down. Here's the first selection of my images:
I will not submit the portraits of course, but did want to show them to you. Just to give the place a face and a recognition of the ingenuity and perseverance of the family who lived there. What a tough life they're living! To be true to the assignment and show the function of the place, this is my final selection:
Every image portrays an other aspect of their daily lives. Laundry, cooking utensils, the scooters that the man used to fix, doors for protection and watering cans to clean and cook. Every item has its function, and every item just looks like it's trash.
The building in the back is my children's school, the International School of Dakar. What a different life people can live so close to each other! I wanted to include the new buildings in the background, for which the shacks are taken down. There empty and look very planned and organised. The contrast of how one would like to live and how one actually lives in one image is very striking to me.