Monday, November 11, 2013

Some Excursions

This trip is especially cool because not only am I getting a student teaching experience, but as I have mentioned many times, every day is a new cultural experience. In addition to being immersed in Ghana every day when I step out of our front door, we go on planned excursions to neighboring villages that are culturally significant or practice culturally significant trades.

Two weekends ago, we traveled to a village called Asuofua, where they make beads. This particular family has been making the beads for over 200 years, and has passed the trade down from generation to generation. They make the beads from ground up bottles of glass and cook them for up to two days in an oven that they have made.

That blue machine in the back grounds up the
glass bottles, and the powder is transferred into a
The family built this oven, and David shows us
how the process works. He is holding one of the molds. 
Again, this is a village. Everything is a lot more
depressed and rundown, unlike the campus where I am staying.
This past weekend, we visited two villages similar to Asuofua. The villages were known for their Kente Cloth Weaving and their Adinkra Prints respectively. The Kente weaving is an incredibly involved process, and I was getting tired just watching the men weave. They sit in a contraption and move their arms and legs and end up with beautiful pieces of cloth. The people of this village were not as... polite and pleasant as other places we have seen (a whole other story), but the process was amazing. 

My friend Sherry took these cool pictures. Because
the patterns are so intricate, it could
take a day to make just one long piece of cloth. 
Not only do arms and hands move, but the weaver's feet are active also.
Adinkra symbols are symbols that were created by the Asante people to represents ideas, proverbs, or folklore that is important to their culture. These symbols are sometimes printed on different kinds of cloth and displayed or worn. The place we visited makes the ink themselves, and allowed us to print symbols that meant a lot to us on different pieces of fabric. I bought two symbols: the Adinkrahene and the Akoben. 
The first reminded me of football - if you're the greatest, there
is always a target on your back (blending cultures, but whatever).
I got the second one because it sounds badass.
The place makes its own ink from bark of a tree. They put it in a big bowlish thing, and then pound it out with a stick. I did a fair amount of bark pounding: 

I rule.
We are all hoping to make it to the cultural center eventually, which is apparently a haven for cool Ghanaian things (Christmas presents, anyone?). This Wednesday we are going to try to make it to a pro soccer game after school and this weekend we are taking an overnight trip to go to a monkey sanctuary. Excited is an understatement. I love monkeys.

1 comment:

  1. I love the pictures. I found the one of the village interesting. Are there hills there? And the pictures of the weavers are beautiful. Yes Please on the Christmas Presents. Continue doing great things.