Kumasi and Around

The road to Kumasi is beautiful green and lush, breaking into small towns and villages along the way. Clara and I woke at 5 am and Ninasei took us to the bus station, an area where dozens of buses wait and depart for Kumasi every 30 minutes. Clara found a comfortable bus with A/C, and we left around 6:15. We watched Nigerian and Ghanaian tv on the screen mounted in the front, were treated to a sales pitch from a man who travels the route back and forth to Kumasi selling herbal remedies, and then settled into 4 hours of Reggea music watching a beautiful tropical and hilly landscape roll by.

We arrived around noon and took a taxi to Clara’s home in one of the poorer parts of the city. The houses are concrete rooms pressed against each other usually around a central courtyard. We bathe using a bucket, brush teeth and piss in a concrete stall with a hole at one end.

The lanes are bustling with activity with children playing, people selling food, everyone walking around. In the space of an hour, we watched a Ghanaian traditional funeral service, children playing jump rope, and a Traditionalist spirit possession.

We made fufu later in the day while Clara taught me some Twi so I would know how to respond to the calls of Obruni (white lady) and Ete sien (how are you?).

Clara is a quilter and makes beautiful zipper purses with African fabrics. I’ll be bringing back many of these as well! We went to the palace to see the seat of the Ashanti king and to the bustling market so jammed tight with bodies, that I had to grab Clara’s waist to keep from losing her.

The Batiks and African clothes are about $2/yard. I’m glad I have another suitcase.

I only saw one other white person at the museum today, so I stand out in the crowd quite a bit. I’m working on my Twi because it can’t be helped but to engage in conversations everywhere I go.

I was supposed to stay for 2 days Kumasi, but Clara and I are having a great time, and I’m enjoying the cooler weather. With all the beautiful Batiks available at the Central Market, I couldn’t help but take advantage of the local seamstresses to make some clothes for me, which all takes time. I was totally disenchanted with my costly “travel” apparel with the high tech fabrics which seems like it should be very cool and easy, but is just ugly. So, today I received my first handmade blouse for a total of $10 and some beautiful earrings for $1 and am feeling much better and not like such an frumpy American tourist.

Clara and I visited the central market on Monday and then went to the Kente weaving village of Bonwire and the Adinkra stamping village. I have many photos that I resized for emailing but am having major virus and worm issues on the pen drive, which the virus software here doesn’t recognize. So, perhaps I can send those tomorrow.

I have much more poetic things to say about everything, but I’ve spent the past 2 and half hours at the Internet cafe accomplishing next to nothing trying to download appropriate virus software. The internet speed is supposed to be 100 mbps, but I think that’s dividing by each computer here or perhaps they divvy out 1 kbps to each computer. It’s quite slow is all I have to say.

Wednesday we spent the afternoon with the local Traditionalist Priestess who lives in one of the country villages. We brought her a bottle of Schnapps which she used to dispel the curse that a young woman placed on her boyfriend that would have killed him had the Schnapps not been offered to the River god followed by the breaking of a few eggs. She was a pretty cool lady, and I’ll write more about her later.

All night long, people drummed and danced and partied until dawn. I woke at 6 a.m., and they were still drumming!!! Now, today is very laid back, but still lots of bustling about the market places. We visited the Cultural Center where I met a master drummer from whom I can purchase a beautifully handcarved drum for $50. He makes many different kinds and is the drum maker of the local Ashanti chiefs.

Tomorrow, I’ll visit the seamstresses to get a final fitting and then return to Accra on Saturday.

Merry Christmas!!!

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