Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Back from Ghana

We have returned from an amazing three week cultural exchange trip to Ghana, the home of the most hospitable folk on the planet!

Everywhere we went curious children asked for their photos to be taken...and we accommodated! Irresistible!

We were hosted the first week by a young family in Akosombo, a town created by the Volta River Authority when the dam forming the Lake Volta (the second biggest man-made dam in the world) was constructed. We were taken into their hearts and home like long lost members of their family.

The last week we were hosted by a vibrant family in Cape Coast, the ancient capital and early slave-trade port operated in turn by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. Their early forts make for grizzly, sobering visits. It's important for tourists to visit and take home the memory of those horrors...along with the memories of the warm welcomes offered by our hosts and the beautiful beaches.

In between there were Durbars (chiefs' celebrations) in Ashanti territory, tasty spicy food with wonderful new aromas and textures, dancing with drumming at the drop of a "hello", and the markets and streets filled with vendors selling everything imaginable.

We were in country when Ghana's Under 20 Soccer Team won the World Cup!!! (Our host town erupted!!) And the MVP, the goalie hailed from the little town of Offinso in the Central Region where we were hosted for the second week.

The women pictured wearing those incredible fabrics were two of the celebrants at the Durbar performed for us at the Cedi Bead Factory near Kumasi in the Central Region.

Each bead is made individually from recycled glass...amazing...even the decorative dots added on each bead are made from a recycled glass slurry and fired again in the kiln.

The two things that peaked my interest the most, with respect to purchasing, were fabric (what a surprise) and beads. There was ample time to fill an extra suitcase with incredible African fabric. I did focus on that which was made in Ghana...with just one beautiful print from Mali. I also tried to focus on fabric made at the textile factory in Akosombo (Akosombo Textile Limited or ATL).
I have to say it was difficult not to buy more fabric...but...that wasn't the focus of the trip.

It was once in a lifetime experience....I hope I get to see our host families again!


  1. What are those women wear? Their gowns are just gorgeous!

  2. Welcome home, Diane.....missed you! What an amazing experience! I love the expression of the children....says it all. Look forward to seeing your fabrics and hearing more stories:^)

  3. Welcome back! What an amazing experience. Enjoy the fabrics... can't wait to see what you make with them :-)

  4. East, West, Home is Best. We missed you but can't wait to hear more about your travels!

  5. What a great post, Diane. I look forward to hearing more. And thanks for sharing.

    I hope you brought home some of those beads.

  6. Welcome Back - a little late - loved the picture of you surrounded by fabric and the
    children. Looking forwrd to meeting up with you
    and hearing the details.