My ten day road tour of Ghana begins in Accra, searching for a coffin maker.
Stanley, my driver for the next ten days, arrived at the hotel an hour early.
Before taking off in the Land Rover, we talked about what I was interested in and what sorts of things I wanted to photograph. First item on my list was to check out the fantasy coffins in Nungua, one of Accra’s suburbs. I had seen a coffin making workshop on the internet where coffins were made according to what type of job or interest the deceased had had in life. If you were a fisherman, your coffin might be in the shape of a fish. If you were a shoemaker, your coffin might be a boot or a shoe. It was a photo opportunity my dreams are made of.
Stanley phoning the office to check on the coffin maker’s location
We went to the place where the coffin workshop was supposed to be, but it was no longer there. Stanley stopped and called the office to confirm the location. Then he asked someone on the street about it and was told the coffin maker had moved to Nsawam. That wasn’t all that far away, but with the Accra traffic, Stanley figured maybe an hour and a half.
We got stuck in one traffic jam after another.
Catching up on the neighborhood news
Stanley said it was better if I took photos from the car rather than getting out and taking them because people could cause us a problem. He also told me that Ghanaians are embarrassed and ashamed of their poverty, and that’s why they often don’t like tourists taking their pictures. They are afraid tourists will use them to mock their situation.
I wish I could tell the Ghanaian people that it isn’t so. I take pictures of people everywhere I go on vacation. Making fun of people just isn’t part of the plan.
I always admire how people walk so gracefully with loads on their heads over broken sidewalks and other hazards, never tripping or dropping a thing.
Reviewing the lessons.
Children mostly liked it if they saw me point my camera at them. What was great fun, when I was out of the car and talking to them, was showing them their photo on the camera right after I took it. That usually caused screams of excitement and laughter.