Local Outings - October

This month’s Local Outing challenge was to document a trip to a local market. With our planned trip to Ghana, I knew that we’d be visiting some truly photogenic places.

After a night in the capital, Accra, we made our way to Ghana’s Volta regina. Our end goal was the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary (more on that later), but first we stopped at the Cedi Bead Factory. We’d intended to also visit the Agomanya market, but would have arrived at the monkey sanctuary too late. The Agomanya market had been my planned location for the “local outing” challenge, so these images from the bead factory will have to do.

Krobo beads have been made in Ghana since around 1000 CE. Beads still play important roles in society, be it in rituals of birth, coming of age, marriage, or death. They are still used to indicate a person’s importance in the local villages: the kings and queens and chiefs wear the largest, most rare, intricate and opulent beads. A few days after our visit, there was to be a huge once-a-year festival where all the local tribal leaders  show off their beads. Too bad we missed it!

At the Cedi Bead Factory, recycled glass and coloured pigments are  used to make the beads. The process involves crushing glass (old bottles or broken window panes), funneling it into clay moulds and firing in a wood burning kiln made from clay dug from termite mounds. They even recycle old beads into fun, bright, new beads. We were shown the process from crushing the bottles, designing the more detailed beads, firing them, and then making the holes in the still molten glass before cooling. The man who gave us the tour was Cedi himself, one of Ghana's best known bead makers. The kids were even able to try polishing some beads with water and sand.

The Cedi Bead Factory also has a small store full of loose beads, bracelets, and gorgeous necklaces for sale. While not a full-blown market, the kids had fun picking out some special beads to take home as souvenirs.

I treated myself to two bracelets and three necklaces. Couldn't help myself.

Next up: the Monkey Sanctuary, a tour of a small Kente weaving village, and a ridiculous number of beach images. 

Amy Jay Photo is an Ottawa family photographer specializing in Documentary Family Photography and Birth Photography. However, at this time, I am on a short hiatus... living in Nigeria! Storytelling photography is my passion. I would love to tell your family's story... when I get back to Canada. :) In the meantime, feel free to follow along with my family as we adventure in Africa.

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