Pyre appeal, Ghana

Charles Cowling


 

In Ghana the famous xylophonist Bernard Woma is appealing for money for a new funeral pyre for the people of his village. Here’s what he says:

Due to centuries held traditional practice, the Dagara people perform funerals in a public setting. This public funeral ritual means that the deceased is displayed in a pyre mounted on woods and covered with a large cloth for public viewing and mourning. Funerals are the most important rites of passage for humanity on earth and the way cultures celebrate funerals serve to satisfy their beliefs in honoring their dead.

Due to the deforestation in the area and no more trees to cut and mount a funeral pyre, people are moving toward better ways to get a funeral pyre. Majority of Dagara communities have began using metal framework designed by the local metal workers at the Nandom Technical School to make permanent funeral pyres in which communities in one area can come together to purchase one for use when there there is a funeral in their villages. The cost is not cheap especially for these poor communities, but it is a good lasting investment and it helps to save the already poor environment in terms of cutting down the trees to make pyres anytime death occurs.

In line with these changes, the villagers of Hiineteng have approached me to help them acquire a community pyre. They have demonstrated their seriousness and commitment by contributing a meager amount of 150 Ghana cedis equivalent to $100. This contribution has been going on for two years due to their poor financial capabilities. The pyre, made in three sizes, cost between $800 and $1200. When I asked at the NandomTechnicalSchool, the small size of funeral pyre costs 1,200 Ghana cedis about $800. The medium one costs 1, 400 Ghana cedies about $950 and the large one cost 1, 600 Ghana cedis about $1100.

Because of their passionate appeal to me and their commitment to get one for the village I am appealing to you to support us with whatever you can afford. We are looking to purchase the medium size pyre and we hope to get it this year if we can come up with the money.

I emailed Bernard and asked him what he reckons is the best way to get money to him from the UK. This is what he said:

 

Dear Charles

Thank you so much for the note. I went on your funeral website and saw what you are doing. These things sometimes considered little do contribute significantly to the social well being of society and I appreciate your work and willingness to help out my community. I am currently in the US and will be going back to Ghana on May 17th to be there for the entire summer. One way to send money to Ghana is by western union or if you want to send the donation by check to avoid the wiring charges at western union, then you can just mail a check in my name to my US address. So please let me know how to want to send it.  Thank you again and this means a lot to me and my village.  My address here is

Bernard Woma
800 N Smith Road
Apt K 5
Bloomington, IN 47408
USA

 

The GFG, skint as it is, will be sending Bernard a cheque, and we hope you will, too.  One for you, GM? 

Find Bernard’s website here.

One thought on “Pyre appeal, Ghana

  1. Charles Cowling
    gloria mundi

    Say no more (please…you’re costing me money…)
    The Gloria Prize Committee is temporarily out of Cn du P (essential for productive meetings) but will reconvene later this week and I’m confident of a positive outcome for the enterprising wielder of magical mallets Mr Woma.

    On a technical note – anyone know if an ordinary sterling cheque works in the US? I’d think not.

    On a more significant technical note – anyone any ideas on the relationship between deforestation and the cultural tradition/personal need for funeral pyres? Even a permanent pyre will use precious wood in a deforested area?


    Charles Cowling

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