Today pretty much consisted of packing and saying my goodbyes to the guys at Paa Joe’s workshop. Paa Joe drove me to the airport as he wanted to say good bye from there and then I boarded my plane home.
This was a really fantastic trip that built so much on my first visit. We are formulating many more ideas with clarity in terms of what we want to achieve from this project and how we are going to make it happen.
Watch this space!
It was another early start to the day. We set off for Akuapem Hills, two hours from Accra in the beautiful hillside. Paa Joe grew up surrounded by this amazing landscape until he was about 16. It was such a great place to visit and we met some of his old family friends, including a chief who had known him since a child.
I feel very fortunate to have seen the place where Paa Joe grew up, these very humble surroundings in the hills of Africa, and I feel honored to know the man he is now, making his mark on the world and being so respected in his craft.
After this, I went back to Pobiman and stayed near Paa Joe’s workshop.
This morning was a bit more relaxed a start than yesterday. We headed into Teshie where Paa Joe introduced me to some of his apprentices and their workshops. Everyone was very respectful of Paa Joe and it made me realise just how admired he really is. Most of the coffin makers I met had trained under him for ad ten years. One man even said that he only had the workshop he was now using because Paa Joe had introduced him to the owner of the land who had granted him permission to build upon it.
After this, we then popped in to see Paa Joe’s Mother and aunties. They are all over 100 years old. It was so, so great to meet them.
From here, we took a drive to one of the only art galleries in Accra to see some of Paa Joe’s coffins on display.
At the end of a long day we went back to the the beach shack complex I had previously been double booked into and was able to find my own hut. The lights worked only intermittently, having been damaged by sea water, and the pipes in the bathroom were rusty, but, what an amazing view. The restaurant and bar were also just what I wanted.