Surviving the Sun in Accra

My Adventures Living & Working Abroad in Ghana

Kumasi – The Ashanti Kingdom

Well it’s been two weeks since my last blog post, and a lot has happened in such a short time. Since my last post, we spent a weekend relaxing in Accra, which was a wonderful change of pace from our constant travelling. That weekend we met up with a Ghanaian friend for supper, had a poolside brunch at a local hotel, attended a football game and tried our hand at bartering in Makola Market.


After another four day workweek, we headed up to Kumasi on Friday afternoon for a weekend visiting friends and exploring the Ashanti Region. The Ashanti are the dominant tribe in Ghana, and have a very extensive and impressive history, particularly around the Kumasi area. We were fortunate enough to visit the city while our friends from Michigan (who we travelled to Mole with) were still living there.


We spent Saturday morning touring around two villages north of the city, Ntonso and Adanwomase. Ntonso is a very small village which specializes in Adinkra cloth (stamped pattern cloth). The ink mixture they use is created from tree bark and when stamped on cloth appears black. Every stamp has its own meaning and a series of stamps can represent different feelings and stories. I was able to purchase two stamps and watch the locals as they created different patterns.


The second village was Adanwomase which is known for its Kente cloth (woven pattern cloth). This village focuses on eco-tourism and runs daily tours of the kente weaving process. Although we had previously seen a few kente looms at various locations around the country, it was great to see how the whole process unfolds and speak with local weavers first hand. Theresa and I both tried our hands that day at weaving, and if I graduate with no immediate job prospects, I might just pick up a new profession 🙂


The rest of Saturday we spend touring around the city of Kumasi which is only slightly smaller than Accra with a population over 1.5 million. The feel of this city was dramatically different however, as there were many more colonial style homes, bright coloured buildings and hilly topography. We spent the afternoon walking around the National Cultural Centre and touring the Military Museum.


After a Sunday morning tour of the Ashanti King’s Palace, we headed out of town to Lake Bowsumtwi (a local crater lake). The lake was beautiful and we spent part of our afternoon being truly Canadian by practicing our canoeing skills and watching the local fishermen.


Monday morning we were a bit rushed because we were to leave by 2pm, but our friend’s offered to take us to the local teaching hospital where they were doing their internships. After hearing about their experiences working in the maternity ward, we decided to tag along with them that morning and see the hospital first hand. The conditions in the wards were horrendous with comparison to Canadian hospitals, with many pregnant women laying on the floor due to lake of bed space and many more in overcrowded conditions in visible pain. I really appreciated that the girls went out of their way to take us there and show us around the ward, describing the function of each section. The lack of resources, funding and staff, in addition to severe overcrowding, makes you realize how easily many of the deaths which occur there may have easily have been prevented in a hospital in the developed world. I have no doubt that the girls on internship there truly will be making a big impact with their research by the time they head home.


Before we headed home that day, we did a quick tour through the main market (one of the largest in West Africa) and spent more time at the National Cultural Centre watching local artisans make their creations. The past few days I have begun to really clamp down on my research and am anticipating a relaxing weekend in Accra before we head to Togo (country directly East of Ghana) next weekend. Thanks for following my trip and enjoy the pictures from the last few weekends.



1 Comment»

  mom wrote @

we were watching the olympics today and we saw some cloth that must have been made by the ashanti…………we’re learning lots from your adventures!

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