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NOVICA Artisan Baba Jamal

Baba Jamal

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“My name is Baba Jamal and I bring you greetings from Tamale, the capital of the northern region of Ghana. My friends say that I am a good, very humble, truthful, and respectful person. I am was born in 1989, the third child of six. My mom was a trader and my dad was a driver and a carver. My parents are very hardworking, which has translated into what I am now. My family’s finances became very bad along the way, so my siblings and I dropped out of school at the primary level.

“At the age of 18, I moved to Aburi to stay with my uncle, who is a carver. He taught me his craft. He was making profiles, silhouettes, and masks. Training with my uncle was wonderful; I paid nothing to learn the craft.

“Learning from my uncle was exciting, and he taught me everything I needed to know about this craft, including the business aspects. My uncle is a cool and loving person, so learning under him was a positive experience. I learned carving over a period of four years. He then traveled out of the country, and now I manage his shop. I design masks, silhouettes, and profiles, just like my uncle. I use sese wood, tweneboah wood, polish, brass, and recycled beads. These materials are easy to work with and readily available on the market.

“I remember a miracle that happened to my friends and me one day. We were in the shop and we had no money to buy food or materials to work with; we were just sitting there feeling unhappy. Then, I jokingly prayed, asking God to send us money. Amazingly, in just a few hours’ time, a customer walked into the shop and bought $20 worth of items. In our joy and excitement, we gave them the best customer service ever. After the customer left, we quickly got some food together, laughing afterwards. It is very true that a hungry man is an angry man, because joy and laughter filled the shop after we had eaten. That day, I learned that God truly answers prayers.

“Starting on my own was very cool, unlike how it can be for others, because I only had to take over my uncle’s shop at the Aburi Art Village. Working in my uncle’s shop, I have taught carving to two people. I moved to the art center to help my friends out with carving. When it comes to my craft, I take inspiration from my uncle and from nature. My dream is to make a lot of money to take care of my children and give them a good education. I’m not married, but will be taking care of that sometime soon.”