I have been accused of being a little scatological in this blog and I fear that this may only worsen with today’s entry. As I said, we had a good meal last night in spite of the frequent power cuts. What I didn’t say was that I had to complete our walk home at double time. I actually had quite a good night’s sleep, but it was clear by the morning that all my troubles were behind me! Christine, similarly felt far from well. Still we managed some try toast for breakfast. St Imodium, the traveller’s friend came to the rescue and we were able to leave with everyone else with a degree of confidence.
We travelled out if Kumasi and headed to a village well known for weaving the beautiful Kente cloth. Kente uses bright colours and traditional patterns to create stunning pieces of cloth using cotton, rayon and even a metallic fibre. Our guide, a student called ‘Cosmos’ showed us how the yarn was put onto a bobbin and I even had a go at it. Then we went to the weaving sheds, some of which are old market buildings. On the way a couple of men showed us how the warp was created. Then we moved to the weavers and watched amazed as they produced the most intricate patterns from memory at incredible speed. Women also weave, but it is mainly men. The cloth is woven in long strips and is then sewn together to make cloth. The cloth can then be used to make clothes, bags etc..
Shopping was of course, always on the cards and so we were led to two shops selling kente cloth in the main street. Understandably it was expensive, but two of our group bought some. Christine settled for a pair of kente-lined flip-flops. Back at the visitor centre I bought a strip of cloth which I particularly liked.
We moved on to a nearby village, Ntonso, which is known for printing Adinkra symbols on cloth. Each symbol has a meaning, many of them philosophical. The building where this happened was right next to the local school and we were mobbed by the children again! Our guide showed us how the dye is made, using the bark from a tree which only grows in northern Ghana. The bark is broken up and then steeped in water to soften it. Then the bark is put in a pastel and mortar and pounded to break up the fibres. The fibres are then boiled over an open fire. After the first boiling a red is produced. Further bookings produce brown and finally black. So three colours are obtained from the same tree. The open fire is built between old engine blocks, the only thing that are readily available and which can withstand the heat.
For a modest fee we were offered the chance to print symbols if our choice on strips of kente cloth. All the women in the group had a go while the men stayed out if it! The results were very pleasing.
It was about now that I began to feel a little funny ( about time, some might say!) and so I went to sit in the bus. I don’t remember much of the journey home having fallen fast asleep. Lunch was to be at ‘My Kitchen’ about a 5 minute walk from the hotel. I wasn’t up to lunch, so I went back to the hotel on the coach and collapsed on the bed, hoping for sleep. Unfortunately several young Ghnaians have decided to hold a pool party outside our window, so any hope of sleep has gone. The thump thump of Ghanaian pop music plus the screams and shouts from the pool have put paid to any rest , hence I am blogging.
We shall have to see what tomorrow brings!