Recent Posts

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kwahu OOoooOO, Kwahu!

I am posted in Abetifi-Kwahu which is in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Apart for being known for its mountainous sceneray, the Kwahu region is known for its annual Easter festivities. Kwahu is also well known for its wealthy inhabitants, many of those who own homes and properties in the region are extremely financially endowed. The homes that line this region rival those of East Legon (a town in Accra known also known for its upper class). I wouldn't say Kwahu is an upper class region but there are definitely people who have money and made a way to show it. Well, majority of those people don't live in these mansions; they stay/work in Accra but come home for the Easter holidays. This usually sleepy town turned into wild fanfare of noise, music, and human traffic during Easter weekend. Practically overnight, the town transformed into party central. Strangely, it seemed more of a time to party than it was to celebrate the death of our Savior... All the same, I found a way to do both! lol

One major aspect of the Easter festival in Kwahu is the paragliding festival. Yes, I freaking paragliding. Yes, I never ride roller coasters at amusement parks but I coughed up enough courage to soar in the clouds. And it was absolutely blissful and exhilarating. I loved it.
I also had the chance to see my FAVORITE Ghanaian artist. The Maestro, The Music Man Himself, Mr. Kojo Antwi. He put on a stellar show in Mpraeso and I was just starstruck. It was one of those times that I wish I could speak and understand Twi fluently but all the same, I loved the concert and had a blast. It was quite the Easter.

I was the lucky volunteer who got placed in Kwahu. And I had a darn good time:) Me bo life, eh?

Cool view of Kwahu

All strapped up!

Odo! My love! lol

Ready to roll! I had a video of my take off but it's taking forever to load. I'll try again later!

The Amys!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Stamping Adinkra

Now next to Kente, I am in love with Adinkra symbols. I love to doodle and once I learned about Adinkra symbols, doodling had a new meaning for me:)
Adinkra are ancient, Akan symbols that represent proverbs, messages, attitudes, or behaviors. The term "adinkra" literally translates to mean "goodbye/farewell message". The symbols are usually stamped on funeral cloth as they are meant to send a message to the departed. There are hundreds of symbols, each with its unique meaning. There is so much information about adinkra and kente cloth online so if you want to learn more please google it out. This is my favorite site for a listing of many symbols and its meaning I visited Ntonso with my cousin where we had a chance to learn the process of making the ink for the stamping and the carving of the stamp itself. I even had a chance to make my own strip of cloth with my choice of symbols. I am really proud that Ghanaians have found a way to preserve their culture and history and make a way to share it with the public. The learning session in Ntonso was informative and worthwhile. I am so proud to be a Ghanaian! lol


One of my favorite symbols "Nyame Dua" (Tree of God), symbolizing God's presence and protection


Weaving Kente

Back in January, I had the chance to visit some cloth making villages in the Greater Asante Region. I have always been a fan of material/cloth/print so visiting the kente weaving towns was a huge deal for me. I remember as a teen, I asked my mom to get me kente for my 18th birthday. She looked at me like I was crazy. Well, kente is quite expensive for one to just up and buy as a gift for someone.  Plus, my mother being the pure Asante woman she is, could never get with the idea that a "child" can go around wearing kente as if it's just ordinary wear...
All the same, I had a chance to not only purchase my own kente but find out how it is made. Now, Kente cloth is synonymous with the symbol of the Asante people. Originally created to be worn by royals, kente has turned out to be the visible representation of anything Africa related. If in Ghana and you ever said you wanted to visit a kente-weaving village the first response would be: "Bonwire". It is the most popular town to visit if in search of good, quality, unique kente. But what I learned is that there are other kente weaving villages that produce just as good work but are not as recognized. One of those towns is the neigborring village, Adanwomase. I decided to visit Adanwomase because I didn't want to be bombarded as a tourist and I wanted to take an organized tour of how kente is made and sold. Now, don't get me wrong, Bonwire villagers no longer bombard tourists (due to a decree made by the chief of the town). But if you want to be different, visit Adanwomase.
I can't break down the process bit for bit but I must say, it is an absolutely laborious task. Kente is woven from cotton, rayon, or silk thread with the colors of your choice. There is an endless supply of designs that the weaver chooses from to present 12 yards of an intricate piece of work. Kente for men is usually 12 yards and is draped around the body in a toga style. Women wear 6 yards that is cut and sewn into a kaba (blouse) and slit (skirt) style. I have much more respect for the cloth considering the work and time it takes to make each piece. If you're interested in buying kente the price usually starts from 250 cedis and above ($200+). Enjoy!

Spinning the thread

About to weave the thread; this is done on 3 iron rods that measure in 12 yards total. The thread is specially hooked to these rods to prepare for one piece of cloth. So hard and it took forever!

The weaving is usually done by men for traditionally reasons but I had the chance to do it. This is where the thread is designed into strips and later sewn together

Admiring older kente pieces

Met this guy at the visitor's center. He was so infatuated with the creation of kente that he decided to take a few weeks of his vacation to make his own 12 yard piece. And it was looking good!