I’ve visited Adanwomase (Kente weaving) and Abompe (bauxite beads) in the last fortnight and have a couple of updates for you.
Adanwomase offers ‘homestay’ accomodation in addition to the guesthouse. It’s GHC 10 for a double room with clean bedding and a ceiling fan. The accomodation is in a family compound, the host family are really helpful and welcoming, they usually have Peace Corps volunteers staying in one of the homestay rooms so are very familiar with what a Western guest might want or need I think. Facilities include flush toilet and bucket shower, separate to the family bathroom but not ensuit. All our meals were cooked to order by the community chef and delivered to us at the homestay – really delicious (especially the palava sauce!) and portions are huge, we ordered only one meal to share the second night and it was plenty. Meals are GHC 5 each. The weaving tour itself was very good. We were allowed to have a go at several points on the tour and then spent the second day making our own Kente samples with lots of weavers on hand to demostrate and guide us through the process (full day’s materials and tuition: GHC 20) – very worthwhile visiting, and totally hassle free shopping as you describe.
Ntonse (v. close by, famous for the Adinkra cloth) is worth stopping off at too as they have developed a similar community based visitor centre to Adanwomase. We stopped here en route between Kumasi and Adanwomase. Transport was very easy, a tro tro from Kumasi’s main station, the a share taxt onwards from Ntonso. The visitor centre was closed for Easter but a calabash carver, making the Adinkra stamps, quickly called the guide who came down and opened up for us with no complaint. The centre houses a small exhibition of very old cloth which has been donated by the chief (and should be behind glass it’s so precious and beautiful!) and the equipment and processes of the stamping. The guide explained the history of how and why Adinkra was developed, demonstrated the process and had us stamp our own cloth for GHC 5 each I think. There’s also a small gift shop in the museum selling cloth, cards with the adrinkra symbols and the calabash stamps themselves.
Abompe was amazing! We almost didn’t go as we were a bit worried about showing up unannounced to such a small project, we couldn’t find a number anywhere. I mentioned this to the guide, George, and he was very keen that I might pass on his contact details to you for other visitors. His number is +233285322263. He’s a brilliant guide, the tour was informal and very flexible according to our interests. We saw the bauxite beads being shaped and moulded and tried the whole process ourselves. The tour also includes a meeting with the chief, beehives in action (and honey straight from the comb) if you’re interested and bamboo bikes! There’s a relatively new project as far as I understand being funded from the US and based in Abompe manufacturing bike frames entirely from bamboo.
The guesthouse itself is gorgeous. Abompe is stunning and the visitor centre and accommodation is based not far from the centre, hosted by Oykere. This man has retired to such an idyllic spot, the most peaceful and diverse (plant wise) gardens I’ve come across in Ghana and he’s opened it up for sharing. He’s keen to chat over a beer in the evening and has currated his own exhibition of the kinds of beads that were made when his mother lived in the village. Facilities include double room with clean sheets, flush toilet and bucket bath, the room is GHC 10 a night.
George’s wife Paulina does all the cooking to order, there’s no menu, she cooks what you want -we had HUGE egg sandwiches for breakfast and (more) delicious palava sauce with yam for dinner. Cannot recommend this place highly enough! Ghanaian hospitality at it’s best 🙂