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Archive for the ‘ecotourism’ Category

I definitely had kente fever. A few steps away after buying my first cloth, another store beckons.

Oh, wow! My rationalization mechanism was working overtime:  what am I going to do with it? I don’t sew, and I won’t cut it! My advice:  don’t even bother trying to rationalize it. Just buy it if you love it!

A few doors down, some smocks were hanging up for sale and one caught my eye. The price was 30 cedis, half what I paid in Bolga.  I bought it.

In Adanwomase, prices are already at rock bottom, so if you go there know that no one is trying to gouge the tourist. If that isn’t enticement enough, the Adanwomase villagers have signed a pledge, worked out with the Visitor’s Center and a Peace Corps Volunteer assigned to their area, that villagers promise not to beg tourists for money or hassle them in any way.  So respectful are they that my presence didn’t attract the usual gaggle of children. I kind of missed that!

Unfortunately, when I get shopping fever the  photography suffers. That’s why I have no photos of the village itself. I was too distracted by all the beautiful kente for sale.

It was so hot. Fortunately there was a shop open that was selling sodas. Cold ones, even! And, oh, yeah, they also had some kente for sale.

I had my golden kente, so I thought I’d treat myself to one more piece in a different color.

There was another shop open on the way back to the visitor’s center where I found a pattern in green and purple that I liked.

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When buying Kente cloth, it’s useful to know that it’s packaged in two ways:  men’s kente and women’s kente.  Men wear kente like a toga, so if you buy a man’s kente cloth, it will be a much larger piece of material, like roughly the size of a bedspread, and correspondingly will be more expensive.  Cost of a man’s kente cloth can be from 300 cedis on up. The price will vary depending on the materials used, number of colors of thread used, and the difficulty of the design.

Women’s kente is about half the cost of a man’s kente because there is less cloth, but it’s sold in three pieces. One piece is wrapped around the body, one is wrapped around the head and the third is the baby wrap, the piece of cloth used to hold a baby on its mother’s back.

I mentioned I just wanted a small piece of cloth. The shop owner said that children sometimes wear kente but he could also sell me just one piece of a woman’s three-piece kente ensemble.  Perfect!

The price for one piece of the three-piece set was 60 cedis.  I felt more than comfortable with the price, which worked out to roughly US$40 for a gorgeous, hand woven piece of Ghana national treasure about the size of an afghan.

 

Which one to choose?  Oh, that was a problem. Normally I don’t care for orange or gold, but those colors are components of quite a lot of kente designs. Over time, I began to like the kente patterns in orange more and more.   I narrowed it down to two, and finally chose this one.  Then I had a brilliant idea.

I asked the shop owner if I could take his picture with the piece of kente I didn’t buy “so I could regret it for the rest of my life.” He laughed and stretched out the other piece of cloth.

And I do regret it!!!

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Day nine of the Ghana road trip:  searching for the lesser known Kente village.

Nkoranza and Techiman aren’t very far from Kumasi, and Adanwomase, the kente weaving village, is so close to Kumasi that you could almost consider it a suburb.  After our yam shopping spree, it wasn’t even lunch time, so there was more than enough time to see kente weaving before we stopped for the night.

Adanwomase is nowhere near as well known as Bonwire for its kente weaving industry, the largest money making enterprise in the village.  I learned about Adanwomase from the Bradt Guide to Ghana when I was planning my trip.  The village was recommended precisely because it is less well known.  The quality of the kente cloth made here is just as good as Bonwire, but prices are lower and it’s hassle-free for tourists.  Lesser known and hassle free are two phrases which get my attention when it comes to vacation planning.

We finally saw a sign that confirmed we were going in the right direction.

Adanwomase is a small village.  The livelihood of most of the people who live there is connected with the making of kente cloth. I didn’t see any restaurants, and there were not many stores.  You could walk through the whole village in maybe fifteen minutes.

The Adanwomase visitor’s center guide.

The visitor center at Adanwomase is new, having opened earlier this year.  It was only a short distance from the kente weaving workshop.   Our guide normally began the kente tour by taking visitors to the village and going to a yarn shop, so you could see the raw material from which kente is made.   Unfortunately for me, it was a Saturday and most of the villagers along with almost all of the nearly 150 kente weavers were attending a funeral.

We walked back to the main street to see if we could find a yarn shop open, but we didn’t.  Instead, we stopped at one of the few shops which were still open that sold finished pieces of kente.

Now the real dilemma begins:  of all  the gorgeous cloth in the display case, which one do I choose?

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SWOPA Sirigu Ghana Picture 236

The SWOPA gift shop.  No one else was there the day I visited.

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The pottery was gorgeous, as were the paintings.

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I love baskets!!!  But I kept thinking, how am I going to carry everything back with me?

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The paintings!  So beautiful!  I wish I had bought this one.

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At last, I found something I did buy.  A hat!!   You won’t believe what I paid for it:  5 cedis (US$3.00). Yep, only three bucks for a handmade, gorgeous straw hat.  Which one did I choose?

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This one!  It’s extremely well made.  I love it.  Then I turned around and knew I was going to buy something else.

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These fans were so gorgeous.  It was easy to bring back in the bottom of my suitcase. Price:  3 cedis, or US$2.00.

[This post has been abbreviated. The full story is in the Travels in Ghana e-book available at Amazon and Smashwords.]

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The People of Mognoori Village

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The people of Mognoori village were very friendly. The children were more shy than the exuberant kids of the south.

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I can’t tell you how happy I was to be here, capturing scenes of everyday life in Mognoori village and not offending anyone in the process.

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The woman is making gari. Gari is made from the cassava root. When finished, its a dry and crunchy granular sort of powder used as a topping on beans or rice or mixed into a soup.

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On the right, the log with notches is a ladder, used to go up to the roof.

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Bringing water to the house. No one has plumbing in this village.

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The friendly gentleman who accompanied me on the village walk.

[This post has been abbreviated. The full story is in the Travels in Ghana e-book available at Amazon and Smashwords.]

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Mognoori Eco Village

Day seven of the Ghana road trip:  a visit to a traditional village.

Mognoori village is only 11 kilometers from the Mole park entrance, so it didn’t take long to get there.

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It was 7 cedis total for one Ghanaian and one foreign visitor to go on the village walk, including the photography fee.  I was assured I had permission to photograph anything and anyone in the village.

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The houses were a little different than in other villages. Everything was very neat.

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In other villages, houses often had rough adobe exteriors. Many of the Mognoori houses had a smooth finish. The low walls had designs impressed into them.  The grooves impressed into the walls prevent erosion.

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Some of the houses have flat roofs. This is a feature that is more common in Northern Ghana, where temperatures are hotter. Families can sleep on the roof during the hotter months of the dry season.

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This structure is used for storing corn.

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Mognoori was one of the most beautiful villages I had ever seen in West Africa.

Mognoori village Ghana Picture 104

[This post has been abbreviated. The full story is in the Travels in Ghana e-book available at Amazon and Smashwords.]

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