Posted tagged ‘Ghanaian cloth’

“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.

“The Scriven men wore stack-heeled boots and pearl-studded evening coats; the ladies in their vast skirts looked like mythical creatures, half woman, half sofa.”

May 5, 2014

We have been graced with sun yet again. The day will be warmish. I’ve become hopeful and have even started to make a list of flowers for the garden, perennials for the front and annuals for the boxes in the back. I also need herbs for both the herb garden and the deck boxes and vegetables for my small vegetable garden. I love to shop for flowers.

When I was young, girls’ dungarees had a zipper in the front pocket. They weren’t as sturdy as boys’ dungarees. My brother wore jerseys and I mostly wore blouses. In the summer I wore sleeveless blouses and shorts. I also wore white sneakers and socks. I don’t know why, but I never wore sandals. I don’t remember if anyone did. My brother never wore shorts. Boys seldom did even in the heat of summer. Shorts were a girl thing, and the distinction between girls’ and boys’ stuff was huge when I was growing up. Boys’ bikes had that bar across the middle while girls’ bikes didn’t. No boy would have ever been caught dead on a girl’s bike, but if you think about it now, the boys would have been better served with no bar. My brother wore black Converse high tops, and I wore Converse as well but white, kind of pointy-toed ankle high sneakers. When I was young, keeping them white didn’t matter, but when I was older, keeping them white was so important I remember using white shoe polish to cover up scuffs. The polish would seep through the sneakers onto my socks and feet. Boys had better winter hats. They had ear flaps which kept their ears warm. I had a wool tam which didn’t make it to my ears which were always cold and red. We both wore mittens. Gloves were for adults. Our boots went over our shoes. Boys mostly wore black boots. Girls preferred colors. Red was a favorite. I never wore pants to school except under my skirt on the coldest days. The only time I could wear pants was playing after school or on Saturdays. I always thought it was a gyp.

Even in Ghana I had to wear dresses all the time. Clothes I brought with me didn’t hold up well to hand scrubbing so I had dresses made. We all did. They were made with Ghanaian cloth and were beautiful. When I went back a few years ago, I brought a dress and wore it once. The rest of time I wore pants. They had become acceptable for women.

There are very few times or places where a dress is expected wear. I wore one this Easter as I do every year. I think the last time before that was a wedding. I have a fall-winter dress and two spring-summer dresses. They are all I need.

“Shopping is a woman thing. It’s a contact sport like football. Women enjoy the scrimmage, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death, and the ecstasy of the purchase.”

July 16, 2013

Enough! Enough I say! It is the heat and it is the humidity. The low this week will be 85˚. Early last night I was on the deck watering plants, and even then it was still uncomfortable. Today I have to fill the feeders, but I’ll wait until the sun goes down a bit before I venture. I have a couple of errands, necessities, or I would stay comfortable in my air-conditioned house. Just before it gets dark, I’ll take my outside shower, one of my favorite parts of the day. I’ll bring my phone just in case I get locked in again.

I haven’t had any adventures in a long time. Sitting around the house makes for boring days. I miss our rides. I’m sure Miss Gracie does as well, but she loves the cool house. I let her out, she goes into the yard, squats then runs right back inside the house. She sprawls on the couch. Hers is a wonderful dog’s life.

Grace, my student, called me the other day. She’s in Bolga, and the rain that day was so tremendous she couldn’t go outside. I could picture exactly what she was talking about: thunder and lightning and rain so heavy you get drenched in a minute. I used to stand on the porch to watch it rain. The storms never stopped amazing me with their ferocity. My mother would have said it was a deluge. She would have been right.

I never buy clothes any more. The last time I did was two years ago when I went back to Ghana. I needed a couple of pairs of decent pants and a few short sleeve shirts. I didn’t bring all that much as I knew I could get my laundry done. I even came home with all clean outside clothes. Lately, though, I have been on a bit of a spending spree. After having tolerated my third back surgery, I figured I rated a few gifts. The first thing I bought was a shower curtain, a vastly expensive shower curtain made in Ghana and sown with squares of different Ghanaian cloths, some of which I recognize. I sent Grace a picture, and she has found some of the same cloth so I can have a matching curtain made for the bathroom; of course, the bathroom will have to be painted and I’ll need all new towels and a bath mat. Everything is connected. Next I bought a spread for my bed. It was on sale, and it was cheap compared to its original price. The spread was made in India, is composed of multi-colored squares and has hand stitched decorations; of course, I needed new curtains and two throw rugs, but the room doesn’t need painting. I found and ordered curtains from an Indian shop, and they were on sale. I felt thrifty! I still haven’t found rugs, but the hunt is the best part.

I’m done now with my gift giving, but I do go through catalogs with an open mind. I’d hate to miss a good find!


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