Week #2: Kumasi, Ghana- HOMESTAY!!

Like I said in my last post, from the 'Last Bathe,' we were headed to Kumasi for our homestays and where we would begin our second class 'Expedition to Africa' that was led by Dr. Akwasi Aboagye (a.k.a. Dacosta). We were all very anxious as to whom we would be living with for the next two weeks (including our roommates!). On the way from the Last Bathe to Kumasi, we were told our roommate arrangements and the names of our host parents.
The roomie, Mandy 
Once my roommate, Mandy, and I were dropped off, we were greeted by one of our host brothers, George! Very shy, but friendly. 
As the evening rolls along, more and more of our host family comes in and talk for quite some time. For the first week, things were a little rough on the communication side, but thankfully by Thursday of that week, there was a turn around. In my host family, there was Joe, Evalyn, their 6 year-old daught- Gloria, then there were three brothers. This is what really threw us off because only one was related to Joe and Evalyn. To make a long and confusing story short, we were fortunate enough to have a family of six who gave us a memorable experience opening up their home to me and Mandy.

Throughout the two weeks, we had class M-F from 9:30 a.m. to about noon. We discussed the gender roles and political ecology of West Africa. (Not sure what "political ecology"is? Basically, it's why things are the way they are- from the infrastucture, health, families, government, etc) I surprised myself enjoying the class more than I thought I would prior to the beginning. During our lectures, we would take a break about 11 a.m. for a "snack" a.k.a.-my lunch! We usually had meat pies with some kind of fruit, tuna and union sandwiches or this crepe type thing. We paid 2 Cedis a day, which in U.S. would equal to about $1.25. So, for our "snack," we actually got a good deal for the quality and quantity! Four days out of the nine that we had of class, we went on field trips! After class for the other five days were free time! Free time usually consists of; internet cafe, walking around a certain area in Atinkajunction, spending time with our host family, going to the super market and visit each others host families houses. We usually kept ourselves busy (who wouldn't?!)  

Wednesday, one of my host brothers, Dennis, took Mandy and I on a little tour around Old Tafo (the area our host family's house was located) and to our host sister's, Gloria, elementary school! 
We made a surprise visit to see her while she was in class. All the kids and other teachers were intrigued to see Mandy and I. It was a rarity to see very many "Obruni's" (white skin) individuals in Kumasi. Everyone gave us a warm welcome and the staff member who gave us the tour was just as excited to see us as we were to meet everyone and the kids :)

(Gloria being on the first row with her hands near her head)

Friday of this week, we traveled around to three different villages; Ahwiaa (Woodcraft Village)

 Ntonso (Adinkra Village)

and Bonwire (Kente Village)
Boiling pot of wax for stamps

Stamps for Kente Cloth

Finished product: Kente Cloth

 We learned the processes of weaving Kente cloths, making the ink for the stamps (Also called tampons...no joke, this cracked a few jokes from our group) for the Kente cloths, and watched men carve intricate designs our of wood! We each were able to make our own Kente cloth and picked our own stamps, which had different symbols and meaning, for our cloth. In all, this was a pretty fun experience. Some of us even had the opportunity to weave some of the cloth!
Katie on the weave machine
This, for the most part, wraps up this week! More to come for fun weekend in Africa #2! 


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