Friday, March 18, 2016

By the Sea, By the Sea

Cape Coast, Ghana

        Cape Coast is clearly defined as the tourist area of Ghana and a must see. This was our second visit there. It has some wonderful beaches and the castles of Cape Coast and Elmina in the town called Elmina. The towns are 15 km apart.

        Cape Coast is the first capital of Britain's Gold Coast colony and the modern capital of Ghana's Central Region. Probably founded in the early 15th century, its English name is most likely a derivation of Cabo Corso - Short Cape - the name given to it by Portuguese sea captains in 1471.  Cape Coast was originally founded as a market town and a fishing village.

        The village changed hands several times in the 17th century. Abandoned by the Portuguese it was occupied by the Swedes in 1652, six years later by the Danes, who signed a treaty with the paramount chief, allowing them to build a larger fort nearby at Amanful. The new fort fell briefly to the Dutch before being taken over by the British following the Anglo-Dutch War of 1664-1665. Cape coast would continue to grow into the largest and most important trading port along the coast. The paramount chief of Efutu moved his capital from the island village of Efutu to what is now Victoria Park.

        The following pictures show the area by the sea. Fishing boats and colorful nets and an industrious people still doing somethings as they have been done for centuries. The fishing boats are out in the early morning and again after dark lining up along the coast with a solitary light illuminating until morning.


Not To Be Left Out

        While we are still in the head and feet mode here are a few random samples of other things that have passed in front of the camera.

Hats from home.

Togo Military


Not exactly the right size but they'll do.
No opportunity missed to dress up. Love the contrast between the two.
These leggings are a lot cooler. Just paint them on.

Heads and Feet

Tip to Toe

        One of my favorite things about the people of Ghana is their head wraps and their shoes. The shoes are usually some form of a flip flop that they call slippers. They can be the very simplest rubber style, maybe even worn with socks by women or men. They maybe leather, usually hand made by local shoemakers, beaded or plain. and of course they are also what seem to be millions of imitation leather, aka plastic ones from China. Despite the rough terrain that everyone must walk in you will see many women in high heels both in Ghana fabric prints and Western styles.

        For me there is such beauty in how the women wrap their heads in scarves either contrasting or in fabrics that match their outfits. I have seen them, without a mirror, just twist and twirl and a thing of beauty is born. 

        Below are some examples:

               For the very height of fashion they are called Duku Crowns. These are pictures of Printex Fabrics Spring 2016 ad campaign that we see on bill boards. The models are gorgeous but appear to be having trouble holding their heads up. Ha! Ha! I am pretty sure that I would and they are just not that attractive on us obrunis.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Islam in the North of Ghana

Larabanga Mosque

        The Mosque at Larabanga is perhaps the oldest building in Ghana but nobody agrees on how old it is, or even who built it. Locals use the year 1421 and accredit the construction to the Islamic trader who was called Ayuba. In Accra at the National Museum the Larabanga display credits Imam Bramah with building the mosque over the period of 1643-1675. 
         Larabanga is the most holy of the mud and thatch mosques in Ghana. Over the centuries it has served as a surrogate Mecca for Ghanaian Muslims but it is difficult to verify. It is very old and very interesting and we happened to be there on a day when there was a sacrifice taking place. We were not really welcomed it appeared but that is the beauty of not understanding the language.

This tree is reported to have been there since the mosque was built.

The village around the mosque.

This woman is the oldest in the village. I have never seen another person with snow white hair.

Inside a home.

Storage jars and cooking stove.

Birthing bowl.

Hard to see.

Trying to get a better view.

Best show in town. Where are your little ones?

Carrying off ones portion.

The prized hooves.