October 8, 2010

Asoafua-Assimang: bedazzled with beads

[Molly Alice Smile]
Jewelry, it is such an ornate extension of ourselves.  
I was saddened in my preparations to come to Ghana, since I had decided to leave most of my accessories at home.  However, beads are a fantastic, fun way to get bedazzled in West Africa!  It is reminiscent of my childhood, when I would have five or six bracelets of wooden, glass or plastic beads on each wrist.  I've been told here, that if I wear four or more bracelets on my wrist that I am just like a queen.  
mmmm yes, Queen Gina, it has a good ring to it, doesn't it?

The final village we visited outside of Kumasi this past weekend was Asoafua-Assimang.  It is noted for it's bead factory.  We were shown the process of how beads are made.  There are many different materials that are used and a variety of techniques that are used to attain varying looks - monochrome, striped, painted beads, and so forth.  Finally, we were shown the different types of ovens that are used to make the beads. 

After our introduction to the production of beads, we went out to this little market they erected for us.  It was really difficult to choose precisely what I wanted; there were so many funky designs and colors!  I was discussing some of the patterns I liked with one particular woman and suddenly she procured a bag with just what I was looking for!  I managed to snag some good souvenirs for some family and friends, as well as a little somethin' somethin' for yours truly.  

 My favorite part of my trip to Kumasi, was here in Asoafua-Assimang.  This is because there were tons of kids here!  They were so friendly; the moment I stepped off the bus this little girl came up to me (center in picture below) and requested to hold my hand.  How could I refuse such an offer?  It wasn't long before I was holding the hand of another little one.  We walked through the village to where the bead factory was, exchanging a few words.  When we got to the factory, they scattered around.  I couldn't help but feel, perhaps I'm not the first to have come all this way and walk this path with these children.

After we were done learning about the bead making process, the kids were out in the little makeshift bead market.  There was one little boy in particular that stole my heart away since he was so bashful (bottom left of the picture below).  I decided to try to capture some of these characters, and they had so much fun making faces at the camera and absolutely loved seeing the results on my digital display.  As we were about to make the walk back to our bus, some of the children got a bit territorial over us.  I imagine, they were saying something along the lines of....
"Kwaku! I was holding her hand first!" "No, she's mine... go get that one!"
If only I had more arms.