Our daughter is now 13,5 months and everyday with her is like a month. She learns a lot, she is so funny and also runs around with a speed that makes me feel tired after just a few minutes. I have been asked how she dealt with the travel this summer.
The answer is that she took it very well even though we visited many new places and people. We were on the road for a month, and upon our return to Ghana she needed just a couple of days before she was fully reintegrated into Ghanaian everyday life, see below!
Click on pic to see it in full!
Edited with Pixlr.
Glass, recycled, clay, brass, silver, ceramic
Beads in Ghana is big business. In 2007, I made a web search for “beads” and “Ghana” and got 609 000 hits, today I got 655 000 hits. My love of beads which I have written about here, here and the other week here have recently been upgraded to obsession.
Most importantly, I have joined the Ghana Beads Society which convenes the first Thursday of every month at 4.30 PM at DuBois Centre in Labone, Accra. The meetings are enthused gatherings of bead nerds as myself, mostly other (female) obrunis and some (male) Ghanaian bead traders (where are the Ghanaian women who most often wear beads?). In the beginning of each meeting, wonderful beads are being sold for bargain prices, the peak of the meeting is spent learning about beads, feeling their delicate textures, getting shocked by how difficult they are to make/bring into the country and marveling at their various colors. There is also some networking and meet and greet with the founders of the GBS and other bead experts.
I have gotten to meet with bead enthusiasts and bead entrepreneurs like Kati Torda of Suntrade and Trish Graham of Ahene Pa Nkasa. It is truly inspiring how they have rediscovered Ghanaian beads and though determination and a will to learn have upgraded the traditional bead into modern use. See for instance the lovely bead work Kati Torda did for Miss Ghana 2005 here.
And I have started thinking about setting up my own bead business. If I did, I think I would be focusing on bracelets – which I love – and “over-the-top pieces” which would be overtly elaborate combination of the West African beads I have come to enjoy so much. In a few weeks, I hope to go for a “stringing” class to learn how to successfully create jewelery with the beautifully rustic and colorful beads I have already purchased over my first two years in Ghana. Then we’ll see.
I only know, this is not the last time I write about beads.
Pic borrowed (and cropped) from Kati Torda’s photostream on Flickr.
> There’s a beach just west of Accra called Kokrobite that seems so far from my everyday life of metro-boulot-dodo, but in geographical terms is not. This is where I spent this past weekend.
Kokrobite(some native English-speakers spell it Kokrobitey to underline the correct pronunciation, including the “e”) is situated one hour from Tema, 30 minutes from Accra on a good day with little traffic around Mallam junction leading out west from Accra. This backpackers hide-out is complete with cheap accommodation (can wholly recommend Bah’doosh where I stayed this time), Rastafarians, palm trees, cold beer and a beautiful and crowded beach with a glittering and wavy ocean.
Everytime I go, I bring only a pair of flip-flops, a piece of African print that can make a dress or a wrap or a towel or a headgear, a flowy white cotton top to avoid sunburn and my colorful patchwork trousers (bought in Kokrobite last year)- all of which goes with a bikini and some beads around the wrists.
My husband and I also take a long the books we never get to read. In the mornings we have breakfast in the shade reading together, something that is terribly nerdy, I know, but just screams vacation to me. Swedish celebrity blogger Alexandra Pascalidou has made beach life her everyday life in Thailand for a couple of months. It should be possible to do the same in Ghana.
Some people might have ulterior and somewhat more “smokey” reasons to come to Kokrobite, but as for me I just find it relaxing without any additives. It is like I took a plane to vacation land. But I didn’t. Did I say this place is an hour away from home?
Pic: This is how happy I feel on the beach.
> The last few days I have been going round picking up gifts for friends and family back home in Sweden. Finding things that are genuinely Ghanaian proved to be more difficult than I first thought.
Truly Ghanaian are chocolate and cocoa products, a few other processed food items like spices, pineapple marmelade, roasted nuts and Ghanaian cloth – both wax prints and batik. Then we also have the jewellery like beads in every colour and shape. At least the big, heavy glass beads I have seen are produced here. The smaller ones a market lady says she buys from a man from Niger, but she wasn’t sure of their origin.
Today I also got to know from a reliable source that a lot of the “Made in Ghana” wax print cloth at the market is acctually printed in China. For a country like Ghana with a spiralling turism industry it would of course be good if the country could both gain jobs and profits themselves from selling things “Made in Ghana”.
As for me, I am tomorrow going back deep into the community 1 market in Tema to continue my quest.
Tonight, I will join my co-workers for a workshop in Koforidua so I will not be posting again until next week. Koforidua or “Ko-Town” is situated about 2 hours drive from Accra into the “Eastern region” which really lies north of Accra and in the middle of the country. Koforidua is the home of the bead market, which takes place every Thursday morning and maybe, just maybe I can sneak away to see it…
Beads have been manufactured in Ghana for more than 500 years and apparently it is big business, when I made a search for “beads” and “Ghana” I got 609 000 hits.