The kids of Old Akrade There is a village, Old Akrade, that fills the land between the football pitches and the academy. Every day, students and staff from Right to Dream walk through it. The villagers, now used to the school and its contents, normally behave in a nonchalant manner, sometimes nodding or saying hello, but otherwise just getting on with their daily lives. This afternoon, I made my way back from the pitches, home. A little way in front of me, three small children were walking, their head buckets filled with corn from the fields behind the football pitches. A cliched photograph was tempting and when they saw my camera they didn’t seem to mind me taking their portrait. I walked up to them, took a photo as they stood, staring at me but when I showed them the photo, their faces transformed. The air filled with high pitched giggling that went up and down in a concertina of sound. All three mouths grinned so wide, the gaps in their teeth were visible. All three pairs of eyes twinkled like they’d been polished. A man in the distance scolded them, and not wanting to get them into trouble, I made a thank you signal and carried on walking. When I turned back, they were scurrying towards me, with all six hands steadying their buckets, all three mouths still grinning. I hesitated, waited for them as the sound of giggling grew louder and their smiles yet wider. And as I raised my camera for the second time, they spontaneously started pulling faces and lifting up their legs. It was impossible not to laugh, not to grin from ear to ear. This isn’t necessarily extraordinary – a lot of children play up to the camera and I have plenty of photographs of children in rural Ghana messing about in pictures. But these children were working, they were carrying heavy loads after a long day. All the time, they kept their buckets full of corn, on their heads, not dropping a single cornel. All down the path they posed and danced, giggled and grinned and an invisible line of happiness swept through the village and into my soul. That’s the only way I can describe it. To watch them, was to catch their high spirits, to hear them was to feel the happiest I could ever feel about the world. To look beyond their sense of fun, is to realise that they live without most comforts, without the safety net of western medicine or protection against dangerous snakes and mosquitoes alike. Nothing about their life is guaranteed and yet they gave me something which is priceless. In a chance encounter with three small children, my faith in humanity was revived. If you attach the ethos ‘Everyone has the Right to Dream’ to these pictures, the assumption, surely, is that even these three children, have a right to dream. Actually, in this instance, I believe that the ethos, is more accurately attached to the observer – these humble children, somehow equip the viewer with a sense of hope. They empower, encourage, provoke and remind the viewer, that everyone has a right to dream. I very much doubt it is possible to look at these photos without failing to smile.