Thursday, 16 February 2017

Phone loss, Birthday and African mask carving

Generally I’m a relatively calm person but last week I felt like Ghana was really trying to push me to my breaking point. Since arriving here my laptop has broken once(after becoming waterlogged in a tropical storm that leaked through my window) and my phone has had to be repaired twice, each incurring unplanned expenditure. My phone has now completely self destructed by bouncing into a fan and being sliced into pieces, if you were ever curious to know the cross sectional segments of an iphone see the photo below.


 Although it’s just a phone I can’t begin to explain how irritated I am by the fact that it has now broken. I had memories on there that I can now never get back, and photos from this trip along with the promise of being able to get more photos while in Ghana. Now I have to rely on other people for more photos. I’m in a really inspirational place with so many colours and patterns in contrasting combinations and I can’t document any of it. I can’t begin to explain how frustrating this is for me, especially seeing as I wanted to document my travels on my blog…..without photos it seems a bit pointless. I have a temporary camera phone while I’m here but it functions so slowly that no spontaneous shots can be taken and the colours are all a little off. It’s just so frustrating. Combine that to the fact that I have had severe travellers stomach since I arrived here and I’m not exactly in a happy state right now. That’s 3 weeks of having a grim stomach… 3 WEEKS!!! Every few hrs in the night I am woken up by some new and odd noise- the 3.30am sound of the nearby mosque(why 3.30 am I will never know), the cockerel that has no concept of time and crows from 4 am onwards, and the preacher/furniture seller that goes by the house at 5.40am every single morning screaming down a megaphone….I am very close to running after him with a carefully selected Bible quote…


In other news…I have now had my 26th Birthday. In true Ghanaian style I was forced to celebrate by being doused repeatedly in water and made to dance around the office. The soaking continued when we went across the road to Peace ghetto ‘spot’ for a Birthday shot of the local liquor. Here the wetting got worse as one of the locals found out and ran to the back room, returning with a giant bucket full to the brim with water. My friend/colleague caught the moment on his camera….


Needless to say after being soaked to that extent I definitely needed the shot….they gave me a double…I spent the day wet and intoxicated….

 Last Saturday we continued with some Birthday celebrations, by going to an African mask carving workshop at Stumble Inn. It was amazing!!!I had taken a lot of really great photos to show a step by step process on the blog, including a pretty amazing timelapse video but my phone evidently had other ideas. ANYWAY…here are a few photos I did manage to salvage from other people’s cameras.


The wood we were carving from was soft mahogany and it had been pre-shaped by Malik(the workshop man and mask master)into a pointed, stretched oval shape. We had originally been led to believe we would be doing the decorating and polishing of the mask but, upon arrival, realised we would be carving them ourselves too. I couldn’t have been more excited at the prospect of this, as you can plainly see in the photos.

It was amazing watching Malik at work, he was so fast and skilled with the carving tools, except for the part where one rolled off the bench and dropped onto my foot…that was slightly less skillful. I didn’t realise how much work goes into the making of the masks. They are drawn onto with pencil to establish where the facial features will be placed, then hacked into to remove all of the excess wood. Then the features are shaped with more detail, then further decorative details are added. The mask is then sanded down to create a smooth surface and sealed with a potassium mixture before being polished with shoe polish to give its final colour- INSANE!!!! 

I’ll upload a photo of my final mask when it’s done…..I have yet to sand and polish it!

ghana craft, traditional craft, artisan

On a sidenote, I forgot to post photos of the dress I had made by one of the Global Mama seamstresses for the wedding I was invited to. It fit really well and I will definitely be using it for future events, here are a few snaps from the day!

ethical fashion, fairtrade, life in Ghana



Post a Comment