(accra, june 99
This is Bizmark (left) with all of
his brothers -- they embraced us,
shared their lives with us and we them.
It didn't take long for all the family to warm up and pose for the camera.
One of the brothers, "fingers", was a tailor and made outfits
for both alex and myself.
This is Ampi, with his daughter.
Ampi was hoping to finish building up these walls in a suburb just outside
Accra, and move in with his new family. He was tired of sharing quarters
with other family members and tired of the constant buzz of life downtown
Accra. He was trying to save the $100 or so it would take to finish the
walls and roof.
Ampi was a carpenter, and would charge about $15 to make a sofa and two
armchairs. I couldn't imagine how long it would take him to save enough
money to build his house.
They came to the airport to see me off to Paris. It was a happy and sad
one of our best experiences in accra was meeting and making friends
with Bizmarks' family. I met Bizmark while wandering one afternoon through
downtown Accra. This is the alley where his extended family live. Most
lived in small little clusters of shacks/buildings off this alley, and
all of them seemed to wash, prepare food, celebrate funerals all cramped
into this alley.
Family frying fish along the alley
Wrapping dried fish to sell,
or save for later.
They insisted that I come "outdooring" one night -- this is
when a friend has a new baby and celebrates by throwing a big party.
Everyone got dressed up and I wore the shirt that "Fingers"
had made for me.
The new father is on the left. There must have been about 200 people
at the party -- it seemed like everyone wanted to dance with me, and
after quite a few beers, I obliged.
even these women selling something out of the bowls on their head couldn't
resist from joining in the dancing. One of them was not only dancing
with a big bowl on her head, but also a baby on her back!!