Krobo beads are made from recycled glass. Bottles and other glass items are first washed and sorted by colours
. They are then broken into small fragments for making translucent beads, or pounded with a metal mortar and pestle, and sieved to get a very fine powder for making powder glass beads. Glass powder of different colours is obtained using ceramic dyes. There is a market every Wednesday and Saturday and outside of those days, it would be hard to spot an Abruni's in town. When we arrived we got a tour of the shop, then headed to the volunteer house which is a short tro ride from the shop. After washing up, Rebecca took us to a special spot on the river for dinner. The spot is a perfect place for a date and during the day, it's a great swimming area. It was so nice to see flowers, there are no flowers in Cape Coast! We sat out on a dock and ordered drinks and had a great meal. Rebecca told us about her time in Krobo, you've got to give her credit for living in a remote area, she's really enjoying herself and making a huge difference. After dinner we went back to the house and played a game of Monopoly. We went from five polite volunteers to angry businesswomen in all of 2 seconds and I'm pretty sure that a few girls went to bed pissed at each other (reminds me of the Callan family board game shenanigans). I'm proud to report that I played fairly and didn't get worked up!
On Wednesday morning we woke up and went to Rebecca's office in town. She introduced us to her egg lady and we had egg sandwiches for breakfast
. Celea ordered a coffee which came in a clear plastic bag, hilarious! After breakfast we went into town to check out the market. Although the market is supposed to start at 9am, that's Ghanaian time so in reality it started around 10:30am and we arrived at the perfect time. There are different sections for beads, fabric, fish, meat and veggies and everything looked so colourful. I went crazy on beads and will have to make bracelets when I get home. A few of us bought fabric as we have easy access to seamstresses in Cape Coast and are all looking forward to getting dresses custom made for us.
My favourite purchase is my string of waist beads. Traditionally worn under clothes by African women, waist beads have several different meanings. Ranging from rites of passage, to enticing your husband, to healing and rejuvenation. The art of the beads has been practiced since the beginning of time. In West Africa, waist beads have several names.; Jel-Jelli, Jigeda, Giri-Giri, Djalay Djalay or Yomba. They’re always worn under clothes. In Ghana, women believe that waist beads help form their body into a particular shape. Some adult women wear beads to sexually stimulate males. Supposedly if you show your boyfriend or husband your waist beads it means you want to have sex. I haven't put on my waist beads yet because I'm afraid that they will be exposed and then who knows what kind of blog I'll have to write. For now, they're packed into my take home bag, we'll see if they stay there!
The people of Krobo are warm, friendly and relaxed. As in Cape Coast, the women work their asses off to support their family and their community and I felt honoured to be among them. I vow to stop complaining about 'hard work' at home because quite frankly, us Abruni have no clue what hard work really means!
Traditional glass beads of Ghana are often referred to as Krobo beads, the Krobo mountains being the main area of production. Global Mamas sells jewelery made with Krobo beads so on Tuesday afternoon Jane, Maxine, Celea and I headed to the mountains. It was much like the drive from Edmonton to Jasper except the goats were replaced with baboons. You know every time you make that drive you're sure to find a bunch of Japanese tourists snapping shots of dumb goats, well here we were the tourists insisting that the driver pull over so we can get our photos! The ride took just under two hours. Global Mamas has a peace corp volunteer, Rebecca, who runs the bead making shop in Krobo. Rebecca is from Florida and will be in Ghana for two years, she has been here for about 4 months. The bead shop employees 10 women.