Aburi and Hillbury

P1010853

If you are fed up with crowded and polluted Accra  city center, if you feel like breathing better and cooler not too far from the town, I really advise you to go to Aburi.

After you left Accra, you drive through the green hills for about 40 mn until you arrive in the centre of Aburi. The botanical garden in Aburi was started by the British and opened in March 1890.

The Botanical garden in ABURI

It is not expensive to enter with your car ( 2.5€ )and driving into it, there is a line of tall trees that makes you feel like you are in Beverly Hills :

P1050488

Then you can have a nice walk through Aburi Botanical Garden. Due to the altitude of Aburi, the climate is a really cooler than neighbouring Accra.

However, if you wanted to have a long walk it is not for you since it is quite small…

As you can see , you will discover the ficus tree which is so big that you can enter in its trunk!

P1050479
The ficus tree

There are more than 350 different plants species which are growing  in Aburi. There is a romantic lane, “Lovers Lane” where roses are growing, and an area with the “brown gold” of Ghana: cocoa.

P1050476

There are many huge termite mound too ! Just have a look !

P1050482
a termite mound

The botanical garden is a great place to relax and take “fresh” air, and watch to birds:

P1040787

If you want to look to huge majestic trees one after the other, and take a nap under trees in a cool temperature, then you will enjoy the place.

P1050489

Moreover, I advise you to plan a picnic with friends and children which can be perfect It will be a great place to let the kids run around without any fear : there is a “retired “helicopter which is perfect for them to play inside too.

P1050480

There are small eating places within the gardens too but it doesn’t seem like good ones. You should come with your own food or go and eat in Hillbury, a greatplace that I love.

Hillbury Hotel

P1020011

If you prefer going to the restaurant with your family or friends and rest to Hillbury resort, you will discover a  majestic hotel in the spectacular Akwapim mountain range.

P1010848

The views is amazing over the surrounding mountains and you an rest in the swimming pool in front of the evergreen valley of the majestic view.You will thenn feel better, escaping the crowded places, and most of all you will enjoy good  food.

P1010844

On the afternoon, you can also go to a farm not far from Aburi center where you can buy fruits and vegetable and see their pigs too!

P1050500

Then after all this, I am sure that you will come back to Accra with good energy 🙂

2 weeks holidays in France

image

femme fortes

Being in France for two weeks

Time has come to have 2 weeks easter holidays in France !

Save the date : Marseille, Bordeaux, St Palais-sur-Mer and Paris !

By plane, train, taxi or buses , subway and feet 😮

 

 

Before leaving your host country for Holidays :

Holidays for expatriates are planned and checked by the company of your husband or boyfriend quite a long time before.

And it does not look like resting days !!

 

J -20

Making everything ready to take off the D day.

Now that you have your plane ticket and you have chosen where to land, you have to organise the meetings for the two parents family and friends.
I started with my boyfriend family in Marseille, then my family and friends near Bordeaux and at last but not least all my friends in Paris.
For my friends, I used Facebook by posting the dates of the week I ll be in Paris to organise each several days with them ( lunch, shopping session, diner..) and manage to see everybody.

J – 10

Now that you have you schedule complete, you want to bring small presents from Ghana to family and best friends and also for birthday or 2 new baby birth.
I decided to go to the Art Market ” in Accra to find some little products in wood of roses ( small animals like elephants 😉

I have also been to Marina Mall, for cosmetic made in Ghana with shea butter cream or essential oil or tea tree :

image

 

 

I bought some soaps and shea butter from the “all for nature ” shops

And the best presents I think are made by my friend Lova in Accra who buy her fabric in Ghana  and then can sew by hand all what you want  : I ordered her some typical things for birthday : pillow, bags, etc… She sells all products on a little market website : crea by lova

P1060176

J -5

Check all that you are missing in your host country which does not exist or is too expensive:
Part of the list : chocolate, french mustard, cheese, your favorite wine…

J -2

You pack everything (quite nothing except presents since you still have clothes for winter/summer at home) and take two suitcases to come back with products.

D DAY at last!!

I m ready to jump into the first plane for 6 hours flight to Amsterdam and the second plane to Marseille and few days after ……

And after a while… I finally arrived HOME ! !

 

My parents house near Royan, in St Palais sur Mer!!
I had not seen them for 4 months.

The day after my arrival to my parents place ……..

WHAT do you think I did ?!?!??

I have been on early morning to a supermarket !!  Yes what you have just read is true : Super Market  !!
I wanted to buy the products I do not eat in Accra because there are not or they are too expensive: such as chocolate, cheese, french bread, good wines, yogourt, mustard, ice cream , oisters….

image

At the payment desk, no plastic bag is given : now you need to have your own bag for food.
It is so good not to see all plastics on the ground everywhere you go… in Ghana, people do not care about it because I think that they are not aware of pollution and what is dangerous for the planet.

Then I could enjoy time here with friends and family :

image
A walk next to the Atlantic ocean

A little of Ghana in Vaux sur Mer/ St Palais sur Mer :
image

What a surprise I had while going to “la maison blanche” , a wonderful and beautiful place (to eat and drink and even dance at night ) in front of the beach of Nauzan and the sea :the Ghanaian flag red/yellow and green alnd instead the black stars there was the logo of the ” white house” .

I thought i was not seeing well but yes when I ask the waiter it is was effectively the director who love ghana and Bob Marley as well.

image

 

Shai Hills reserve

Shai hills reserve, peaceful place 50mn from Accra

Shai Hills Resource Reserve is les than an hour north of Accra bordering the Akosombo road. The reserve  is 51 square kilometres. This makes this location a small  but the closest wildlife viewing areas to Accra.

Shai Hills is a plain by topography but has outcrops of 5 hills. The hills in the Shai area is base to several stone quarries.

Shai Hills also has rich history and heritage of Ga people : the hill was home to the ancestors of the people of Shai and still contains vestiges. It was the British colonial masters who forcibly expelled them in 1892 on the allegation that the natives were committing ritual murders.

P1070708

Its vegetation is a combination of open and wooded grassland, savanna covered plains.   To date 31 mammals, 13 reptiles and 175 bird species have been identified in the reserve.

The baboon troop at the front gate can be very amusing, but be warned these are dangerous animals and they love to snatch your unattended personal belongings!

P1070699

Two ostriches are also there and they come to you when the guards call them with a “specific noise”.

P1070664

Best times are in the evenings or during sunset. The lighted city skyline is a sight to behold.

During morning, you may meet Kob antelope, bushbuck or monkeys, although the monkeys here are not habituated like at Tafi Atome or Boabeng-Fiema.

kob

P1070691

You can travel the park in a 4X4 vehicle or on foot with an armed escort from the hours of 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Visitors can climb up the summit of the caves and the inselbergs in the reserve to view the plains of Accra.

shai hills rock
Wonderful view from the rock

Three caves can be found in the reserve and these are Adwuku, Sayu and Hieweyu.

These caves provide an excellent home for bats which will spend the entire day sleeping only to wake up in the night.

It is an easy clim (look, I even did it with my  flip flop!) It takes 10 mn for the 1st one (the photo underneath) and one hour the one on the above photo)

 P1070692

Crocodiles, snakes and tortoises can also be spotted …they say…. but noone of my friends have seen them already !!

The bird life in the park is something really important since migratory birds can be seen :

There are the Senegal parrot, grey plantain eater, hornbill, red northern bishop and violet turaco are in the Shai Hills reserve. Other birds to be found in Shai Hills Resource reserve include Senegal cuckoo, stone partridge and francolin. This makes the reserve a bird lover’s paradise.

At night, we went to sleep to Stone Lodge , at 5km from the reserve, a very nice hotel in the middle of the contryside with a nice swimming pool and quite good meals.

view stone lodge

Ghanaian fantasy coffins

Ghana “where anyone can get out in style”

image

Which coffin do you fancy?
Who wants to visit death on vacation ?

Believe it or not, a visit to Ghana’s coffin makers is on most tourists’ itineraries here!!

imageI would have never find alone the Kane Kwei Coffins oldest shop in this road near Labadi Beach without Accra Accueil visit last year…
In European cultures, we cremate our dead or bury them in a simple pine box.

But coffins are a lot fancier in Ghana, where the Ga people believe that life continues in another world after death, and they want it to carry on in style.
And while a funeral lasts just a few hours, since eternity is, well, eternity, it’s important to spend it in style!!

In April 6th, 2016,  I had an interview with Eric whose grandcather created the first fantasy coffin. You can learn more on their Ghana coffin history website.

image

He explained me everything and i will share it now with you :

First: its ORIGINS BELIEVES

The reason why mostly all ghanaian use such coffins is their religious beliefs regarding the afterlife.
They believe that death is not the end and that life continues in the next world in the same way it did on earth.

The social status of the deceased depends primarily on the importance, success and usage of an exclusive coffin during a burial.

image

During the delivery to the customer, the coffin is enveloped of kraft paper or cloth because tradition wants work to be revealed only at the time of funeral.

AND ITS MEANING

They often symbolise the dead people’s professions. but also what they did for a living, their hopes, their vices…

Certain shapes, such as a sword or stool coffin, represent regal or priestly insignia with a magical and religious function. Only people with the appropriate status are allowed to be buried in these types of coffins.

image

Some animals, such as lions, cockerels and crabs can represent clan totems. Similarly, only the heads of the families concerned are permitted to be buried in coffins such as these.

A fisher will be buried in a coffin in the form of fish or in a fishing boat, a professor in a fountain pen balk, etc.

The one who used to ask for a “beer shape “coffin was first not well seen by ghanian…but these years now, it is no more seen as an hard drink person but a person enjoying festivity in life. The ghanaian who asked the bottle of coke or fruit juice were working in theses companies.

The aspirations of the missing person are reflected by the coffin which is intended for him: the plane for instance was never ordered to bury a pilot, but resides a symbol of distant trips testifying a social success. Same for luxury cars.

IMG-20160408-WA0002

Fish are very popular designs–the fishing industry is big here–as are Bibles, the only fantasy coffins allowed in churches in this deeply religious country.

image

Making the coffins

Fantasy coffins are produced only to order. Carpenters have several apprentices who allow the them to make several coffins simultaneously or all work on a single one in urgent cases.
imageThe coffins are generally made from white light local wood and not very expensive as the wawa or Nyame Dua. It will take two to six weeks to produce the coffin.

The woodworking is done using the simplest tools, without the aid of electrical ones.
Building is more or less complex according to the form of the model, the desired level of details.

The coffins of cylindrical or approached form (fish, mammals, fountain pen) are accomplished as a model of subject without worries of the opening intended to accept the body. This one will be later cut up.

image

The painting of the figural coffins can take up to two days to finish and are painted by the head of the workshop, local sign writers…. who usually decide together the coffin’ s patterns and colours.

imageOne shop may produce 20 coffins by months. There are about 10 in Accra.

In a country where many people live on barely $2 a day, no expense is spared for the most important part of life: death. With prestige riding on the size and extravagance of the funeral, family members collect, borrow, and donate money to send their loved ones off to the afterlife in style. Funerals can cost up to a year’s salary.

ERIC COFFIN EXHIBITIONS ABROAD

Eric’s grandfather was the one who had the idea of such coffin, first for himself and then it spread in all the villages around …until Accra.

Now Eric is proud to open one more studio in Kumasi this year 2016.

In 2009, he was asked to participate in a moovie for coca cola ads for Spain to explain ghanaian coffins  can see on youtube the Coca cola coffin TV ad.
Since then, he travelled a lots and still makes exhibition all over the world : in Russia in 2010’s (he did a Vodka bottle ;), Korea …. he sells one for $5000 to $10000 dollars now but it takes him a month to create it himself alone in the host country !

Eric also wants to deliver “messages” to people thanks to its fantasy coffin :
For exemple, in the US, in 2011, he created a coffin in shape of a gun, and they cut it in 2 during the exhibition to show and ask people to stop violence.

Another one was to preserve environment : it was a “fish coffin” with plastics inside. Plastic kills fish when they eat that in the sea…and coffin means death of course..
A very symbolic art !

IMG-20160408-WA0000

The coffins cost between $300 and $1000 for ghanaian defunt with trees from kumasi uch as “wawa”and galeries or museums buy coffins up for $10,000 with wood from mahogany or “emery” wood.

 

Last Eric ideas for a tourist gift:

image

Recently, ghanaian have recognized the quirkiness of their coffins design and have reacreated them in gift size for tourists.

There is now a roaring trade in the smaller version !

Hope that if you come one day in Ghana, you will take time to discover this art with fantasy ghanaian coffins and talk to  Eric in his coffins workshop !

Being volunteer in an orphanage

Let’s help those in needs in Africa! 

Since I did not work all day, I had time to give to an association …

I decided to help in an orphenage since I like being with children, playing with them and teaching them things .

A friend of mine was already a nurse in Beacon House orphenage…

So one day, I followed her in this orphanage and I started a “love and helping” adventure.

beacon house orphanage

 

  • What I do in Beacon House as a volonteer :

My friend who introduce me had to moove out  from Africa… so my first mission in the orphenage was to prepare the medecines for those kids who have VIH (25% of the orphans in this orphenage). She explained me and since then I do it all wednesday for the whole week. I also go to hospital with them once a monthe to see the doctor who take car of the one with VIH.

But after this, I started to find games such as puzzle, and also dancing on zumba style!

Volunteers can help with school (homework, tutoring, reading ), they can propose arts and crafts, organizing a game, sports and other projects per their skills. If you have other hobbies (such as me music and danse) you can propose it to the orphanage director for approval and just start !

I already started to have idea to collect some clothes, toys, shoes, and medecines because they were in needs og basic ones.

I send a letter to Accra to be publish on their own website and I had so many respond after that at school! And by word of mouse, I get even more that I could imagine!

After this, I put  an album on my facebook page for sharing photos of kids playing with toys and wearing clothes they gave me for them.

Many friends from France also answered my call by sending me medecines, clothes, toys…so that I can return it when i will be in France ( in the end of  April for holidays ).

It is wonderful to see their smiles, energy!

  • How is everdyday life in Beacon House orphenage ?

They are 23 lovely children there : the smallest baby  is 6 months and the oldest child is 21.

Most of them are about 5 to  7 years old.

I also learned their everyday life such as duty :

Each day, 2 or 3  kids have to clean different parts of the house inside and outside. So there is a planning sticked on the wall to kwnow who do what and when ! Good organization! However, sometimes, one kid refuse to do it, since this is the way, the director of the orphenage give a punition : he will be forbidden to go to school the day after and he will have to clean even more!

Morevover, after school both girls and boys have to  wash with hands their clothes since they do not have a washing machine here.

P1070947

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One lady prepare food for dinner for the 23 children. Most of the time they eat rice with something else like chicken, eggs.

Their plates are filled very well!   However, they ask donors  to give fruits and vegetables for having vitamins since it is expansive here.

They have a land 35 minutes from Accra (where they will moove on in few months) where they already try to become self- sufficient and they have built a chicken coop  (thanks to american donors) : they produce eggs for them to give protein for energy  and even to sell now to get an income for them to spend in other food expenses ! Other projects such as producing  their own food are in progress :they have already  planted orange, lemon, avocado, and mango trees to provide fruits for the home. A great idea !

They all go to the ghanaian school wich is not far  and they go there by walking. They start at 8am and finish around 3pm. They both learn english and french (since Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso,  are close to Ghana).

  • Rules for adoption and link to help all around the world

Adoption is limited in Ghana right now. An american lady asked for adopting th 6 months baby (Matthew) but governement refused. It is so sad for him to miss to have parents and better condition of living , education and hobbies…

  • Changing myself, and being aware of reality 

This experience makes me grow and gives me a great joy, each time I enter the orphanage, a little boy or girl is running to kiss me and giving a big hug, and the others are following with their “mumies”working there with big great smile.

It is like if I was a Mrs Santa Claus giving love, hugs, cuddles and bringing  fruits, toys, clothes..

Helping the most disavantaged is really a self-fulfilment for me. I feel like growing into a better person, and changing my point of view of the world, being more aware of the opposed lives on earth.

Poverty or / and being an orphan is hard to see but their everyday smile gives me a beautiful lesson of life!! How wonderful they are inside and their courage, strenght to struggle.

I you feel like being to be a volunteer, here is a link of a website to  know and find how  to be a volunteer in all the world:   workaway.

It is really wonderful to see how love is strong from them to you and the from you to them !!

“LOVE IS EVERYWHERE “

555542_261749473941237_1182778154_n

TK BEADS

In Accra, not far from the center, you can visit a manufacture of ghanaian beads which exist since 1989. It is called  TK BEADS INDUSTRY.

It is really interesting to see how they do it from the beggining with bottles in glass to the necklaces ! They manufacture glass beads of high quality using the rich African processes; everything is handmade from molding to painting !

I went there with Accra Accueil, it is 15 mn far from Accra, on the road to Madina.

  • BEADS MANUFACTURING STEPS AND EXPLANATIONS

Here are the steps in photos for getting beads :

First, all the  all manufacturing takes place outside, only a small shop  with beads and necklace, bracelets has a room.

They have divided the place according to the activity and steps :

First, the collection part where thousands of glass bottles are piled up. These bottles are collected or given by people.

verre pile

Here you can see that  glasses are  broken and crumbled.

Afterwards, they need to make it a ball and they bake it in an oven outside for many hours:

When it is done, and after the ball glass are cooled, they can put cooling agents :

couleur verre TK beads

The final step is to paint each bead with hands of course, it is a  work of precision and it takes a long long time!

painting beads

An at last, they can make nice necklaces homemade with good quality beads!

Many expat go there and buy some beads to make their own necklace in the shop next to the fabrication.

shop beads

It is a very good activity for mothers and children!

  • KOLI OR NAMING BEADS

  • Beads in Africa have different  utilities, meanings and significations.

Ghanaian babies are born with soul name, which is the name of the day on which they are born. (for ex monday name = Adjoa for girl ; and Kojo for Boy).

ceremony name beads

But when they are 7 days, the naming ceremony takes place and a formal name is given.

Then , they are presented to “the sun and earth” and given water, alcohol and salt to taste.

The ceremony includes the grandmother bestowing blue Koli or plain white beads on the child, by tying them on a cotton thread on the joints (waist, neck, ankles).

beads children neck

There is language of beads : for example if the child is a member of a royal family, a gold nugget, yellow beads or coral may be added to the Koli beads. As babies grow, the tightness of the string of beads indicates whether they are growing at a healthy rate so that their mother are awared if their baby is under or overweight. And moreover, the string of beads is also used to attach nappied!!

  • WAIST BEADS

African women  wear waist beads for different reasons.

The strands of small, glass beads are often bestowed upon young girls who start to wear in the run up to puberty.

As the girls grow, so the tightness of the waist beads indicates whether they are growing at a healthy rate. As well as weight control, they are also worn for spiritual reasons, chastity and to document pertinent stages of a woman’s life.

waist beads

Beads colours are symbolic as well :

Yellow means royalty, white purity…. :

P1080145

Traditionally waist beads are a very private body ornament with only the wearer deciding what she wears, and are hidden under their clothes.

Nowadays, they are being appropriated by women all over the world, wearing beads in necklaces like a fashion accessories.

This is causing an offense among those with a traditionalist perspective.

 

Africa X the rest of the planet

When you are starting to be an expat in  AFRICA (in one of the most developed African countries such as Ghana), you will discover some nice sides which will make you thanks “god” to be there… or wondering how to escape !!!!

 

THE GOODS SIDES OF BEING AN EXPAT IN AFRICA…

On the one hand…. 

  • You are used to eat cheap lobsters with french fries under an umbrella on the beach every week ends.

lobster french fries ghana beach.jpg

  • You are given the chance to teach many thingsyou want (even sometimes without a diploma ): french lessons, zumba, aqua gym,sewing lessons… (see activities categories on the page”my french teacher part”)
  • You never do cleaning except if you feel like doing it… which happens one day a year, no?
  • You have people who help you for everything: cooking, taking care of children, driving, ironing, cleaning… seems like you live like a star, or a princess doesn’ t it?
  • And yet, you do not have to wear as a princess: you take 5mn in front of you dressing cupboard to take a short or coton dress and not even necessary to put make up and steels here ! It is so hot that it will not last anyway during whole day long and roads are often with dust and sand…!  you do not use pull over, gloves….whateer the season!!
  • You realize that you conduct like african people now… and you’re no more wondering how to cross the traffic circle of the Place de l’Étoile in Paris !
  • Ghanaian people are helpful and very nice
  • Children go sleeping very early and so you do since it’s night at 6 pm till 5 am.

AND THE BADS SIDES …

On the other hand……

Weather, water and light …

  • You would like to be cold and put the AC at 10 ° one day to wear some pull over and put a big quilt on your bed …
  • When you realize that you forgot to put on your shoes -because you do not really need at home- but you have black feet because it s always dirty with the Harmattan wind and pollution even if your house is cleaned everyday.
  • Power outage happens everydays and if you don not have a generator you have no more light and air conditioning…
  • You wake up and have no water to take your shower and so you use 10 bottles of mineral water to wash yourself and kids…

Foods and shops

  • You are happy to go to the supermarkets as Marina mall and Shoprite because you can meet other women expat (since there is no much more shopping to do here…)
  • You dream to do shopping in ZARA and FNAC even if it was in “the Halles” in Paris on a saturday crowded afternoon.
  • You are happy that Nespresso came in your town even if one capsule cost 1 €.
nespresso marina mall
Nespresso counter in Accra
  • You pay an average 50 dollars the kilo for french cheese.
  • You try to make libanese friends (who have mostly all the supermarkets and gaz station) in order to have fuel or water just in case of shortage

shortage fuel

 

Diseases  😦 

  • Most african people with VIH , rabies, polio …are not under treatment
  • Mosquitoes spread malaria, from infected to healthy people  :

     

     

     

     

  • You pay 400 dollars for a dental treatment
  • There is malnutrition and people beg for 20 cents to drink and eat at traffic light and you can’t help everybody and change the world…

Roads…

  • In Africa,  (ghanaian) like driving on the left side of the motorway you do not know why… and pass that car on the right….ok lets do the same…
  • They drive on the 2 sides of the road in one direction and do not care if you can not take the road in the other side… and you get mad!

 

  • You would like to walk in a street without sand, dust and mud on your feet, garbage and plastic bags scattered all over the ground…

     

  • You dream to go to Sao Tomé, a wonderful amazing small island for 3 days but there is only one not secured flight company which goes there 2 times a week only…

 

TO CONCLUDE :

BAD SIDES SEEMS TO BE ENORMOUS COMPARED TO GOOD SIDES…. BUT IT IS NOT BIG DEALS WHAT YOU’VE  READEN !

There are much more to enjoy in African everyday life! 

Be happy and enjoy to be an expatriate in Africa !

Ghanaian fabrics : batik, wax and kente

GHANAIAN DIFFERENT TYPES OF FABRICS: BATIK, KENTE AND WAX.

 

Ghanaian women wear typical fabrics which are beautiful to see in streets.

They are wearing well cut dresses with lively colours and complex patterns.

It is an essential part of the landscape in Accra.

P1010531
JOSEPHINE  wearing colorful dress with ghanaian fabric

Wildly patterned wax-printed batik clothes are extremely egalitarian in Accra since both street vendors and socialites wear it.

In streets, you can see gorgeous synthesis of traditional and modern fashion.

Let me show you the different fabrics which exist here in Ghana:

  • BATIK

One of the homemade fabrics is called BATIK:

P1020035

Esther is known to have the best batiks in Accra. She uses beautiful colours and patterns in her handmade batik prints.

She also propose to expat women to batik workshops with Esther at her home in Madina. Accra Accueil propose this activity with both mother and children. I did it and it takes about 3 hours to create your own batik to take it home !

As you can se below, you choose your  shapes of the different patterns you want to put on your fabric. After, the fabric is flooding to be dyed  into a barrel :

shapes for batiksbatik colourbatik homemade accra

At the end, you just have to wait that it is dried to take it home!

It is such a typical activity to discover !

  • WAX

In the late XIX , Wax was copied by english and dutch settlers in Indonesia from Java Island wax. They learned and reproduced  wax process and changed with vibrant colours. Then  it is said that ghanian soldiers working in Indonesia brought wax back to Ghana.

“African wax prints” are omnipresent and common materials for clothing in Africa and Ghana since 70’s. In Togo, this business done by women in the 70’s called “Nanas Benz” (because they had Mercedes Benz car), was very successful  .

They are industrially produced with  colorful cotton cloths with batik printing. Unfortunately, more and more chinese fabrics kills the original and local african market…

Normally, the fabrics are sold in 12 yards as “full piece” or 6 yards as “half piece”. The colors comply with the local preferences of the costumers. Mainly clothing for celebrations is made out of these.

Here is a shop selling wax, in a market such as Makola in Accra :

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • KENTE

Kente is one of the most typical symbol . It is an Asante ceremonial cloth, representing numerous aspects of Ghanaian ethical, philosophical, social and religious heritage through variations in colour and pattern.

Although machine made kente is now widely available, it is still reserved for formal occasions. The dramatic colour and texture in kente is echoed in wax-printed fabric. Kente are sold in malls and in markets.

I also discovered the procesing steps with Accra Accueil activity :

First , they have to prepare the fabric thread :

P1050764P1050765

Then, they have to woven the fabrics all handmade:

P1050772

How Ghanaian women get dressed is essential for funerals, weddings and engagements which all require specific dresses.

P1020075
Thomas whith its typical ghanaian costume (for “friday wear”)

Most women employ a seamstress and choose a style from a ‘calendar,’ a poster showing photographs of models in outfits. These designs are usually variations of the kaba (blouse) and slit (long skirt), a common ensemble.

Yvonne koné

There is no lake of design in Accra. More and more people design exciting wax print garments.

At the moment, western silhouettes in traditional fabrics are very much in vogue.

Europeans expat are more an more wearing also these beaytiful fabrics and they make different as a  pure, shoes, and even earings!

Sewing is a lucrative business so you’ll find a seamstress operating an old-fashioned foot-operated Singer sewing machine in any busy area.

Here is one I saw in Madina market :

P1020067

 

Seamstresses tend to be very talented and they can interpret a western design or copy an existing dress. If the customer provides her own cloth, her dress usually costs between  8 GHC (2€) and 10GHC.

For expatriates, the prices are not the same but still very cheap .

First you have to buy the fabric (wax)  you love :

  • Woodin shop in Accra Mall is my best place because it guarantee a great value for money (100GHC -23 €-for 6 yards).
  • Vlisco is also another dutch company (created in 1846) but with higher prices (60 € for 6 yards).

Both patterns and prints  inherit from the African culture. Loincloth wax is also a means of communication to show political or social value.

Know that if you see one day the fabric you like, you should buy it right now because next time it will be finish ! Collections are renew very often!

Afterwards, ou have to find your seamstress to create for exemple 6 pillows for 10 GHC each (2,5€) , a dress for 40 GHC (10€), a short shirt sleeves for 30 GHC.

It was fantastic and well done !   Here is one of my skirt below :

P1020017

Hope you will enjoy coming to Accra and buy some fabrics from GHANA MARKETS !

 

Checklist before leaving your country… some hints and tips

Here is my checklist before expatriation :

First of all :” check your mind !!”

BE OPEN TO NEW ADVENTURES AND GO FOR IT NOW

CHECKLIST 2 MONTHS BEFORE :

  • Make sure you and your family have valid passports and get your VISA ( through your Diplomatic government)!

visa passport

  • Find out about international driving licenses ( register ont public french service. Most countries will not accept your home country’s license (or for the 3 first months as in Ghana). In ghana, you will have to go to your ambassy (French Ambassy for me) to register and pay about 35 cedis to get a formality paper prooving your frenchdriving license and then you will get it.vaccin
  • Find out if you need vaccinations because you also may need it to enter the country at the airport. Find out in the  Pasteur Institute which vaccinations you need. => For Ghana, yellow fever vaccine is required to enter the country, hepatitis A and B, Meningitis with meningococcirabies are recommended too. There is Malaria also but if you stay in Ghana for expatriation, it is useless to take medecines before leaving doctors will told you. You cant’s take it all over the year so you may get Malaria anyway… Fortunately, few expat get it.

 

CHECKLIST 1,5 MONTH BEFORE

  • Ask your doctors, vet and dentist for copies of yours, your families and your pets’ medical records. While you are at the surgeries, organise a final check up for you, your family and your pets if your employers do not ask it. Don’t forget the vaccination (for me, yellow fever) . Maybe you need to buy 6 months treatment before leaving because you can’t find it in Africa for exemple. So you have to ask the french social security for agreement to deliver. Of course, you will no more belong to it 6 months after your arrival in your host country.To enter with your 6 months medecine, you may be asked to give proof of your need for the medication fohealth carer customs
  • Check all insurance policies and organise your visas if you need to. In my case, my boyfriend’s company did everything for both of us, and now we belong to : an international healthcare insurance card for expatriates called Previnter to have our money back AND “West African Rescue Association” (WARA) which gives 24/7 medical access assistance center. Prices for medical care is very very expensive here.
  • attorneyPrepare a power of attorney (see more on solicitor for french expatriate )Make sure you have certified copies of all important documents ready to hand over to the person you will be leaving in charge of your affairs while you are away. I gave it to my parents for banks and the rent of my apartment.
  • Organise the cancellation of all magazine/newspaper subscriptions or regular deliveries you receive on the day you will be leaving.

 

CHECKLIST 1 MONTH BEFORE

My first Expatriation in Africa in Ghana

Departure…..

May, 4th, 2014 

 

After an 8 hours KLM flight with a 3 hours stop in Amsterdam, we arrived at 9 pm in Kotoka Airport in Accra, the capital of Ghana.

My first impression was it was so hot and humid that we felt like being in holidays 🙂

The airport was crowded even outside and many ghanaian asked us to get into their taxi. We were driven to our hotel before having our own house the day after.