These images have all been scraped off the Web, over the last few months. There’s often precious little info given, and thus very little credit possible – either to those working or to the photographer.
There’s no story, or editorial line: there are many more images of people working with hoes out there – these are simply the ones that struck me most forcibly. They return fleetingly, in all their power and their poignancy, as I work with mine.
The daba, an African hoe made by village blacksmiths.
A broken hoe.
Blacksmith making and repairing hoes at the Lasajang community project in Ghana.
In Burkina Faso the hand-tools are generally renewed annually in the case of the mild-steel daba, and in some cases even twice a year. The pioche [pick], made from leaf springs, lasts 2-3 years. However, they are sharpened annually.
Locally-made plough shares are normally replaced every other year. Sickles last up to 10 years, but with several changes of the wooden handle. Knives often “get lost by the children”, but if not, they will be replaced every 2-3 years.
Tools are almost invariably bought from local blacksmiths. The figures in the table below provide an overview of the prices being paid by farmers for their tools.
Hand-tools in Francs CFA [100 CFA francs = 1 French (nouveau) franc = 0.152449 euro; or 1 euro = 655.957 CFA francs:
Pioche – 250-500 [in 1999]
Daba (hoe) – 500-1,000
Machete – 500-750
Knife – 100-150
Richard Bridgens, West India Scenery. From sketches taken during a voyage to, and residence of seven years in Trinidad, 1836.
Planting rice – 1859
Cotton cultivation, southern US 1875
Hoeing rice in South Carolina – in b&w.
Hoeing rice coloured.
Log cabin Virginia – 1870.
Sharecroppers hoeing cotton 20th.c.
Hoeing beetroots – Ile-de-France 1931.
Hoeing on Foula Island. Shetland Isles. 1937
digging for victory at Pannal village school Yorkshire, UK. 1940
1940s Land Army girls hoeing, Atherstone Warwickshire.
ca. 1941, UK Land girls pause to watch a squadron of fighters returning from France.
Women’s Land Army.
W.L.A – working on Fowler’s farm.
college students hoeing – University of Hawaii agriculture and home gardening school. Eliot Elisofon. 1945
Husband and wife hoeing. Macedonia. Joel Halpern 1962.
Peasants of North Vietnam. 1969
Maramures village, Romania. 2000. Kathleen Woods. Fine Art and travel photography. Kathleen & Henry Woods have lived for several years in Romania and Hungary, studying and photographing village life and culture. Their travel log is at Leafpile .
As Kathleen writes: Land is owned by individual families, but as one old lady said “what can one person do against a field this big?”
They band together by family or friendship groups and gang-hoe each other’s land.
African girls hoeing.
Hmong woman hoeing.
African man, with a very short, flat-angled hoe.
Hoeing his plot, on the Côte d’ Armor, Brittany.
Naia lending a hand.
7-year-old Constance Mabo, in Zambia.
The Kua art of fighting with hoes. [Ecole d’Arts Martiaux Frédéric Méjias]
Kua, or Kue [meaning hoe] is an ancient Chinese fighting technique.