Sunday, 4 December 2011

Traditional and Recycled

This is the last episode in the travel tales from the October trip. 

In a village called Besease just outside Kumasi we found one of 10 remaining Traditional Asante Dwellings. These were built in the 18th and 19th Centuries and the last few are listed as World Heritage Sites. Most of these buildings were destroyed during the wars with the British. Whoops! They are surviving examples of the power and wealth of the Asante Kingdom, Kumasi being the capital. This one is a “Shrine House”.

The “Okomfo” would have lived here, a local priest who became possessed and acted as the medium for “Nyame” the omnipresent God in the Asante Traditional Religion. Nyame has sons represented by various natural features such as rivers and lakes. The goddess, Asaase Yaa represents the earth. Concoctions which have particular powers are mixed from water, clay, gold, beads and herbs which are pounded in a brass pan. These then have to reside in the shrine house for ritual purposes.

The shrine house has 4 buildings, one for the drummers, one for dancers, one for cooking and a closed room for the Okomfo. An important feature is a tree or forked post in which is wedged a calabash for sacrificial offerings. This is the altar of Nyame Dua the Sky God.

The caretaker insisted on wrapping this grass skirt around any woman who entered the site and then entreated you to take photos of him……..and me, for which he could then charge you! I imagine it works every time as the shock of being manhandled by this rather lecherous character is enough to make you pay him to let go!!

I have said before, that nothing is wasted here......except time! I just wanted to include a few quick snaps from one day of our trip in Kumasi. 
Here is a photo of my bed when I pulled the blankets back.....a ripped sheet perfectly pressed open just where you get into the bed.

A plastic coat hanger that someone has attempted to repair.

Also, an ingenious use for used water sachets. 

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