Sunday, September 19, 2010

This is a picture of a coffin

In Ghana people are often more important in death than in life. When you die you become an ancestor and are still a part of the family, often being consulted. That means that to make you, the deceased happy, the family will have elaborate funerals.
In our neighborhood of Teshie/Nungua there are several workshops that make coffins in the shape of fish. cars, coke bottles..almost anything that might reflect the life of the occupant.
Because we are on the coast. fish and boats are popular, but a favorite of everyone is a white Mercedes.
The fish pictured here is from the workshop of Eric Adjetey Anang. You can see his website at
Right now it is only in French, but it's still worth looking at for the wonderful pictures.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

summer workshop

The village of Sumburigu is near Bolga in northern Ghana. In July three woman from the village packed their bags with important things like crushed stones, dowadowa leaves and coal tar and took a very long bus ride to Accra where Belinda, the daughter of one of them, joined them to travel to Aba House. Belinda was important because she was the interpreter from fra fra to english.
The women were essential because they were coming to paint our wall. Anyone can paint a wall, but not the way they do it On the first day the wall was chiseled and then plastered with a mixture of sand and cold tar. Traditionally cow dung is used, but cold tar served the purpose.
At the end of the fourth day we had a spectacular wall full of symbols relating to life in northern Ghana.
I asked the women to sign the wall (how western of me) and they each left a handprint (how African of them).
The womens names are Adintoge, Asinsoboro and Adompoka.
The workshop was truly in keeping with our mission of cross cultural understanding and next summer....... another wall.
The women had never seen the ocean and when we took them onto the deck for a view, they wanted to know how the boats stay on top of the water. Good question. Then they went to the water to dip their feet in the surf and they collected a botle of ocean water to take home.