Archive for February, 2010

Going to Akosombo

The drive to Akosombo took us along the same road as to Agomanya, but this time we were going about an hour further. Near Agomanya we encountered a parade celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president.

A little further, there was a large group of Muslim families going to the festivities.  The clothing West African Muslims wear is different from the styles of other West Africans.

This would not have been remarkable had I been in the north, but learning that there was such a large percentage of Muslims in this southern area of  Ghana was interesting to me.

Too bad for me, there wasn’t enough time to stop and see the parade.  But what I did see was like a fashion show, and I loved it!

Past Agomanya there were many small towns, one blending into the next. The nearby hills made a pretty backdrop.

This being near the Volta Region and an area of higher rainfall, everything was lush, green and lovely.


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Cedi Beads Showroom

After the bead tour, we were then brought to the showroom.

There were some beautiful beads there and at very reasonable prices.

Cedi Beads sells only their top quality beads in their own showroom. The ones that they reject are sold to bead sellers who sell them at the Agomanya and Koforidua bead markets.

I bought only bracelets here, some for me and some for friends. The most expensive ones I got were only two cedis each. The rest were one cedi each. Veronica and Edna bought some beads, also. I got about 12 cedis worth, and the owner gave us each a free bracelet.

For bead lovers, Cedi Beads is a wonderful experience!

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Once the beads have cooled, they’re painted.  Each individual bead, individually hand painted. Then they are sent back to the ovens for another firing.

After the second firing and cooling, the beads are scrubbed with sand and water for polishing.

Then they are rinsed and dried.  Finished!

Ready for sorting and threading.

Beads are threaded onto raffia strings into strands ready for sale.

Making necklaces for the showroom.

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Cedi Beads: Firing

The ovens are also built with clay from termite mounds.  This oven shows cracks from the intense heat, even with the termite clay construction.

It takes at least a half hour for the glass shards in the molds to melt.

The molds are removed from the ovens on a paddle at the end of a very long handle.  The handles are probably seven or eight feet long.

Before the beads cool completely, they are pierced with an awl to create the threading hole.

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All the beads are made from glass bottles which would otherwise be thrown in a ditch or field.  There’s no official garbage collection yet in Ghana nor are there any recycling plants.

The bottles are pounded down to very small pieces with a metal pipe inside a large plastic bucket.

Worker safety is not yet a concept that has been taught in Ghana, and they do this without using goggles to protect their eyes from flying shards.

The pieces are then placed in molds before being melted in small ovens.

There are various styles of molds to produce beads of varying shapes and sizes.

The molds are made on site with clay from termite mounds, giant homes termites build for themselves from the red clay earth.  Beadmakers have found that termite clay resists heat from the ovens better and makes the molds less prone to cracking.

Termite mound in northern Ghana

They believe it has some connection with the saliva the termites produce to construct their homes.

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Cedi Beads

One of the best areas for bead shopping in Ghana is the Odumase-Krobo area, a string of villages that stretches from Somanya to Kpong in the Eastern Region.

Cedi Beads isn’t far from the Agomanya market, maybe 20 minutes away.  Even with the help of the beautifully hand-painted sign, the turnoff is easy to miss if you’re not watching carefully.

The grounds were very pretty. Photography is encouraged.

Cedi Beads isn’t mechanized in any way.  This is another local industry that produces traditional crafts without the aid of electricity.

There are several workshops, again open air but covered with tin roofs.

In each area there were three or four people working on one of the beadmaking processes.

After an initial flurry of picture taking of the grounds and buildings right after our arrival, we settled here in the plastic chairs for the beginning of the beadmaking tour.

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