One of our main projects in Nungua was the production of a tourist map of the village indicating the location of artists studios and shops. It’s all a part of a larger effort by Cross Cultural Collaborative to connect local artists directly with people who want to buy their work.
Our mapping group spent their first week out and about visiting and interviewing local artists about their work. After gathering information, we designed and printed a small booklet featuring maps and bio’s of artists and craftspeople in Nungua. The first publication was presented to Nii Bortralabi Borkete Laweh XIV, The Chief of Nungua, at the end of the trip.
Many thanks to Lead Dog Consulting http://goleaddog.com/ for providing us with digital maps of Nungua.
"I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within". - Lillian Smith
On Sunday, we said goodbye to Nungua and began our journey home. Ghana left its imprint on all of us in unique ways and we will continue to share them here as we process. For now, be patient if your traveller is stunned, saddened, or exhausted. It’s all part of the learning.Alana
arlosappetite asked: Hi! I'm a librarian at the Shapiro Undergraduate Library, and we'd love to display photos from your trip on our screens! We love the design for the water tank and the fabric designs, too! We'd love to hear from you! - Jamie Vander Broek, Digital Learning Services Librarian
That sounds great! We may have to wait until the students are back to get images that are high enough resolution for your needs, though. We’ll contact you with details as soon as we know more - and thanks for the note!
Lake Volta is the largest man made lake in the world. We stopped on the way to Odumasi Krobo at Akosombo Dam, where the Volta River turns into Lake Volta. The dam, built in the early 60’s, produces most of Ghana’s electricity. Many villages had to be re-located as the waters rose.
This is the group with Aba (of Aba House) and Musa, who drives us around Ghana!
yesterday rali (one of Charlie’s Ghanaian friends) showed us how to print adinkra poems on cloth using traditional stamps carved from gourds and ink made from bark. This is mine. The one on the left is the symbol for positive reversion and the one on the right is a warning against arrogance. Learning about these traditional symbols has been one of my favorite parts of the trip. -Leah
We’ve also been hard at work on a mural in abas house about our time spent here during the last few days. -leah
The charcoal process has been an extremely interesting way to engage in Ghanaian culture. Though we built the press and did test runs in the U.S., so much has changed since we started trying to make the charcoal in its final environment. The marketing, fabrication, and opinions surrounding the process are totally different in Ghana than at home. They are also different from a coastal village to a rural farming community within the country.
There has been a great response to the charcoal we made by Ghanaians who have tested it. It works as well as their normal charcoal and is less labor intensive and so much better for the environment! The charcoal used on a daily basis here is made from trees that have been cut down. We here that the government may soon put restrictions on deforestation so what we’re doing feels sort of like developing electric cars. Someday it may be of great importance.
The kids have joined in enthusiastically, despite what making charcoal does to your appearance! It is a process that has room for help from all ages, similar to their paper making process.
In the few days we have left, the plan is to get more presses made, finish an instruction manual specific to making charcoal in Ghana, and passing out these materials to people who may be interested in continuing the process once we’re gone.
When the manual is finished, I’ll put it up for all to see!
It’s a rhythm that enters your mind and then your heart and then the beat resounds through your whole body and you begin to become the beat. It’s difficult at first, forcing your limbs to move in ways you never knew possible, and you get frustrated because your mind is trying to direct your body but your body won’t cooperate. Then finally you reach a breaking point, and the communication barrier between the control panel and the machine disintegrates and everything clicks. You begin to move like you’ve never moved before, and you are in awe of your ability. The beat of the tingo is now your heartbeat and the sticks resounding off the head of the kagang align with the movement of your limbs and your feet follow the constant rattle of the axatse. You’re doing it. You remember all of the steps and you are concentrating so hard but then you catch someone else’s smile across the circle and the concentration evolves into communication. Into understanding. You feel the challenge and you feel uninhibited and you know that the beat will always be with you, from now on, carrying you forward, because this is the beat of collaboration, of community, of Ghana, of us all.
I have been enjoying the patterns and textures of Ghana. This is a picture of thread that is being woven into kente clothAlana
Patterns inspired by Ghanaian cloth. I hope to make prints of them later. And I wish I could edit and tile the photos, but the humidity makes using the trackpad on my laptop way too hard.
We took a Day trip to Odumasi Krobo - a village where traditional beads are handmade from glass. We got a demonstration at Cedi Djeba’s workshop, a world famous bead maker, and spent some time in market, where beads are sold every Wednesday and Saturday.
"A melodic noise
Wafting over the city
From the garbage truck”
I’ve been taking a picture and writing some sort of poem every day here. Most of the poems have been haikus because I feel like they capture the quirks of Ghana well. Also, it’s hard to find head space to properly write a longer poem. We are busy busy! Mostly, I’ve been busy making charcoal.
"He’s black, charcoal black,
Neck the color of salmon
Bowed over his work”
Life here has been joyous and difficult. Fruitful and painstakingly tedious. Full of ease and full of discomfort. Sometimes I feel myself blending into the pattern that is Ghana and at others I am like a puzzle piece that just won’t fit. I belong and I do not. The contradictions of my existence here provide for a lot of conversation, processing, and of course, learning.