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Painting a Wall at Aba House, August 2010

The village of Sumburigu is near Bolga in northern Ghana. In July three women 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. The first day the wall was chiseled and then plastered with a mixture of sand and cold tar. Traditionally cow dung is used but coal tar served the purpose.

At the end of the fourth day we had a spectacular painted wall full of symbols related to life in northern Ghana.

I asked the women to sign the wall (how western of me) and they each left a hand print (how African of them). Two of the women really do paint their own houses with patterns. The third woman, although she participated at Aba House and worked hard, was a ringer. I wonder how you say that In fra fra. An okra mouth reported on her. She wasnít going to miss this opportunity and I donít blame her. Iím glad I didnít miss it either.

Prepping the Wall

Painting the Two Walls

The Painters