Posted tagged ‘cloth market’

“Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.” 

September 8, 2023

The temperature is already 82°. The three of us, Henry, Nala and I, are happy to be in the cool house. Both dogs are sleeping. They had a hectic morning. They went out quickly, came in for a biscuit, went out again then came in and collapsed on the couch. This is their morning nap time.

I watch YouTube African Walk Videos. Most walks are through markets in Ghana. There is no dialogue except for the sounds of the market, the voices speaking Ga or Twi, the toots of motorcycles and the horns of taxi drivers. The cameraman just walks and never interacts. Along both sides of him, people walk through the market. The women wear tradition cloth or regular dresses or even pants. The men wear shirts, some in Ghanaian patterns. I watch for anything familiar.

The market is divided into sections of similar goods. In the food market section, tomatoes are piled like Jenga blocks. Garden eggs are sold from baskets. Onions, yams and oranges are in piles on the tops of small wooden tables, all of which look alike. The cloth market has folded cloth in tall piles. Picking a cloth in the middle means all of the cloth is taken off the pile then re-piled. Some sandals are in pairs while others are on the floor in a mishmash, jumble of a pile. Enamel pots and pans, toilet paper, plastic containers and whatever you might need is sold in the market. A dirt walkway, wide enough for a moto, a motorcycle, separates two lines of shacks, sort of three sided lean-tos where sellers sit under umbrellas.

I am always amazed by how much Ghanaian women can carry on their heads. I watch for bofrot, my favorite Ghana treat. They are yeasty, sweet deep fried balls of dough and are sold from glass boxes with wooden sides. I have never passed up a bofrot seller.

Watching these videos fills me with an ache, a wish I was there munching on bofrot while shopping in the market. I didn’t know what to expect when I first went to Ghana for Peace Corps training. What I found was a remarkable place with friendly, warm people, a home for those two years and for all the years after.

“Ghana is a country full of vibrancy, color and culture.”

July 6, 2014

Yesterday I cleaned the deck. I also brought up all the stuff which had had been blown off the deck. Only the clay pot had broken. I was quite surprised that the glass chimney was intact. Yesterday ended up being a lovely day with sun and a cooling breeze. This morning is the same, and the forecast says high 70’s. I can live with that.

We had to wear dresses or skirts to mass every Sunday. We also had to wear hats. I had a mantilla which folded up small enough for my pocket. My favorite was the tissue paper hat worn across the head. It was attached on the sides with bobby pins. I always wondered why those women didn’t have hats. After all, they were a required part of the dress code.

When I went back to Ghana, I brought pants and wore them every day. When I lived there, I wore dresses. I’d go to the market and buy cloth, beautiful colorful cloth, and bring it to a seamstress. For a couple of cedis, think Ghanaian dollars, she’d make me a dress. Some seamstresses added intricate decorative stitching called jeremy though I’m not sure of the spelling. Tie dye was a popular cloth as was batik. The dresses were cooler in the heat than pants. It was also easier to pee in a hole or along the roadside. Pants would have been complicated. In my house, though, I didn’t care. I’d wear shorts or pants but I’d change to go to town.

I used to walk to the market as it was all downhill from my school. Sometimes I’d borrow a bicycle and ride both ways but mostly I walked the bike at the steepest part of the uphill going home. If I were walking home and carrying vegetables in my market bag, some car usually stopped to offer me a ride. I always took it. The school was off the main road but only a little way down a dirt road. There was a gate which the watchman locked at night. If I had been out, I’d have to stand outside the gate and yell for the watchman. Many times I could see him sleeping, but he chose to ignore me. Even his barking dog didn’t get him moving. I’d have to climb the fence, and that was no small feat wearing a dress and sandals.

I have dresses and blouses I had a seamstress make when I went back.  It was fun to shop in the cloth market again. I also have a tablecloth and matching napkins, all with beautiful stitching on the edges. My house is filled with Ghana.