After a couple weeks of navigating the country on our own it was nice to finally have a trip that was organized by our group. A five hour bus ride quickened by the showing of two seasons of Two and a Half Men, brought us to the Treasure Island hotel. After a quick lunch we visited the national museum of the famous African tripe called the Ashanti. They ruled West Africa for a long time until their tenure was unfortunately intruded by British colonialists. However they still have a King who has a reasonable amount of clout in the region. His main purpose is best viewed through local celebrations and as a symbolic figure for the Ashanti people.
The Ashanti are also famous for two kinds of cloth that they have manufactured throughout their existence. One is called the adinkra cloth which involves taking any kind of fabric and stamping on over 60 symbols representing traditions and proverbs. The other textile is an intricately loom weaved cloth called kente cloth. It is one of Africa’s most famous fabrics and it is worn by local chiefs and on festive occasions. Meeting the people who weaved the cloth and seeing how long it takes them to make it was one of the more interesting things to witness in Ghana.
During a relaxing week of relatively uneventful activity we decided to check out the culturally rich part of Accra called Osu. Osu is set up to appeal to tourists and as such there are plenty of intricate art pieces available as well as a slew of international restaurants. As long as you do not run into an overly pushy salesperson, learning about the people and where they learned to paint, carve, etc. can be a very educational experience, however undoubtedly there is bound to be a couple stands that make the experience uncomfortable. Nonetheless we have met a couple of “Rasta” (basically Bob Marley followers) friends who always greet us and chat whenever we are in the area.
Eventually after meandering for a while in Osu we found a place called Smoothys where there just happened to be a poetry reading/ creative writing night going on. Needless to say the readings were unimpressive, yet revealing as to the state of creative thinking in Ghana. Fortunately they did have terrific smoothies.