ISU Coffin Auction Raising Funds for Ghana Water

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AMES, Iowa- Engineering Students at Iowa State University will auction off a unique coffin to help raise money to provide water in Ghana. Last fall the students had a visit from fantasy coffin artist Eric Adjety, who helped the students construct the coffin from wood.  The coffin is carved and painted to look like an ear of corn.  The ISU student chapter of Engineers without borders will put the piece on  E-Bay's Giving Fund Auction site from April 20 to April 30.

The plan is to raise money to build an earthen dam in Ullo, Ghana. The village is located in drought-prone northwest Ghana. The town of 800 lacks a water distribution system. The students initially were going to help dig wells for the town.  After students visited Ullo, they realized the town had no water distribution system.  Also the students learned the government there planned to put in a well.

"The proceeds from this will be going towards building a dam for this community that really has no access to water," said Chris Martin, ISU Associate Professor of Art and Visual Culture, who also teaches wood design.

"Ghanan fantasy coffins are exhibited in galleries and museums all over the world," said Martin, IUS College of Design hosted the artist visit last fall.  Martin spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana, returning in 2010.

The service in Ghana changed Martin as a person. "That pretty much defines me now," said Martin.

Engineering students will return to Ullo to design the dam needed for the community. The students have raised $5,000, but need an additional $10,000 for the first phase of the dam project, according to an ISU  news release.

The bidding starts on April 20th.  Bidding starts at $500. For more information, call Joe Gettemy at 319-651-8086

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