The family cashing in on funerals – Two couples
When Elizabeth Faribah’s grandmother died, she was just nineteen years old. It was her first encounter with a dead body being prepped for burial.
“I was the only person living with the woman, so her death hurt me hard, and when I saw the person who was preparing the body, I decided to go into that profession as well,” she explains.
She grew up watching her father, a carpenter with over two decades of experience, build coffins.
Her father was pleased when she decided to become a mortician and paid for her to enroll with a master’s apprentice.
Elizabeth lives in Bokoro, a tiny hamlet on the outskirts of Takoradi, the western regional capital, with her father, Egya Pitsir.
“I couldn’t go to school and study a craft in carpentry, so when my daughter suggested becoming a mortician, I felt it would compliment my job as a coffin builder, so I leaped on it,” Egya Pitsir recalls.
“In this world, you have to be clever,” he explains.
Elizabeth has been doing this for over 10 years, charging an average of GHC1,000 each body.
She is one of the most in-demand undertakers in her region, often being hired to dress four separate dead bodies in a single weekend.
“I manufacture around three coffins every week.” “Business is booming because if you come to my daughter, you will undoubtedly require a coffin, and if you do, my daughter will refer me, and we will be in business,” explains Egya Pitsir.
In the little town of Bokoro, he works out of a modest carpentry shop constructed of mud and roofed with tin aluminum sheets.
His workshop, like many rural carpenters’, is simple, with tools like an old rig saw, hammers, and tape measures.
“I made it myself.” We were raised in a lot of hardship, which is why I couldn’t go to school. “When I started out as a Carpenter, I had to take control of my fate and do everything for myself,” he explains.
Working with dead bodies is a dreadful task in a society where there is still a superstitious belief in spirits and life after death.
I asked Elizabeth if she had experienced any frightening moments on her journey thus far. She grinned and shook her head.
“Once at a time, we were preparing a body and attempting to put on his dress. We were almost finished. The lifeless corpse suddenly opened his jaws and shouted.
I ran away after dropping the body.
It was a torturous experience. “I had to take a three-month hiatus from work,” she explains.
Aside from a few terrifying occasions, Elizabeth claims that working with corpses isn’t a huge issue.
“Working on dead bodies is normal. It is just like working on normal humans. They are human beings who are sleeping,” she says.
When asked if she believed in ghosts or had seen any while working on corpses, she said, “Yes.” “Everything with a name is real. There are moments when we are working on a body and you can feel a heaviness surrounding you.
You can tell that the guy who is dead has returned and is looking about at all the people who are sobbing around his corpse.
It is so lifelike that you can occasionally touch the individual.
Because of the intimidating character of the job, she has difficulty attracting apprentices and collaborators. “They come in and then go a few days later.”
She recalls an old woman walking into her business and telling her that if she died, she wanted to be clothed in a certain ‘kaba’ outfit. “The old lady looked at the styles I had on display in my business, showed me the one she wanted, and then went away,” she adds. “Her daughters stepped into my business with the same woman’s image, and it hit me that this woman had come in to tell me how she wanted her body to be adorned,” Elizabeth explains.
The elderly lady had supposedly died a month before. “Ghosts do exist,” she replies, a sardonic smirk on her face.
Elizabeth and her father have worked at the funerals of some well-known Takoradi residents.
Bishop Hackman IV, the National Leader of the 12 Apostles Church, died a few weeks earlier, and she was hired. She brought her father along with her in order to sell the family a coffin.
Big tasks like that inspire her to accomplish more. She has expanded her business beyond funerals to include wedding and event décor, and she currently has more than 5 individuals learning from her.
Egya Pitsir, her father, also wishes to extend his firm outside Takoradi.
He just purchased a new showroom in which to showcase his coffins, and he intends to learn new methods of creating contemporary coffins in order to seek a larger clientele.
“Everyone would perish. I may die at any time, and if I did, I’d need a casket and someone to prepare my body for burial. “I don’t pray for death, but it happens to everyone, and when it does, people like me get jobs,” Elizabeth explains.
“A fisherman going to sea prays for fish in the sea so he can catch them, a mason prays for people to generate money to construct buildings so he can get called to work, and I pray every day that someone dies so they may purchase my coffin,” Egya Pitsir adds.