The Day Begins

Posted: Jan 22 2015

Hello Readers, I want to tell you a little about my second trip to Ghana, and what it was like to stay with my dear friend Ahmed Nuradeen, his two wives (Amina and Kuba) and their small children. You see them smiling at us in the photos.  Notice the baby on her back and the Ashanti stool pattern on her dress.

       

Ashanti stools and their images are prevalent among the Akan people (Ashanti people) in Ghana.  It is because of the Golden Stool legend, and how the stool (throne) was both royal and divine.  It descended from the sky, and directly to the first Asante king, Osei Tutu. It is a symbol of Ashanti sovereignty, and even led to a war against the British (March - September 1900.) Today, stool representations are carved with various symbols as the base.  This stool was given to me in 2002 as a surprise "thank you," an appreciation gift after I gave a favor. It made me feel like a queen.  It was from Patrick, an excellent artist whose work is on our site.  You can read more about him and his work in the "Artists" section of our blog.

      

Back to my trip story, Ahmed was in the business of selling African goods in the U.S.A. where his primary residence was kept.  However, he traveled frequently to Africa on buying trips and home visits.  I went with him on this trip, and we planned to bring all kinds of crafts back to the United States. These pots were a little too big and breakable. The blue and white road sign gives the choices: "Tema" ahead 53 km, left for Akuse, right for Somanya.  We were staying near a town called Kpong.

His was a typical, residential compound for the area. Amed's home was about a 30-minute drive from Accra the Capital City of Ghana.  Often three to five families will get together and build their homes within block walls, a compound which provides safety and community advantages. There was a large mango tree in the center of the courtyard.

Looking to the right in the same photo, there are steps that led to the home where I stayed.  Straight ahead where the people are, was a door that led to the toilet-only bathroom, one without running water.  It was sanitized with a deep, chemical treated hole in the ground.  I admit it was a little rough by American standards, but in Africa one must be flexible. I do not, however, recommend night trips to a bathroom such as this one. Ahmed was in the process of building a second home that would have an inside bathroom with running water, but the home was only half built at the time of my visit.

This is where I slept in a very comfortable bed.  The shower was located just up the small step, behind the curtain.  There was no hot water, but since the weather was pleasant and warm, the lack of hot water was not an inconvenience.  The windows had no screens, but a fan circulated air during the night. 

        

These photos were taken as I stood in the doorway during the early morning, and I observed the women doing their daily clothes washing. A baby is watched over by her mom as she does the laundry.  

     

Everyone is lined up for a group picture. From left to right are Ahmed’s youngest brother on the far left, his wife Kuba, his oldest brother, his other wife Amina, his other brother, and his son.  The last photo is of Ahmed’s daughter, just because she is just so darn cute!

  

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