We then set off to a village where they weave kente cloth, that multi-colored fabric that stamps Ghana with a character recognizable to the rest of the world. On the way, we stopped on the side of the road to enjoy some fresh coconut. The woman with a child in her lap expertly hacking away with her machete to cut off the top so we could drink the juice and then breaking it open further so we could enjoy the meat. Swinging the machete with the kid in her lap and us close by would have sent the Risk Committee at my school to the hospital with a nervous breakdown. After I ate mine, I was stepping the beat and lightly clapping one of the drum patterns we’ve been working on and I noticed a group of kids across the street mimicking me. (Remember my blog about the ability to notice and respond?) I crossed the street and went through my repertoire of Steppin’ body music moves, with them imitating on the spot. No breaking it down a phrase at a time, just jump in with both feet the way kids do and having a great time doing it all. Instant connection.
On to the village and remarkable technology of the looms, simple materials expertly put together and the breathtaking speed and dexterity of the young men and older boys weaving. Working both hands and their feet, a bit like playing the drum set. Extraordinary to me how they held the pattern in their mind, no instructions or sample piece of cloth to copy from. Some of us than bought some of the cloth while others played with the kids. Learned a few name games and I finally understood and played the ubiquitous game “Ampe” which I first saw in 1999 and is played by kids throughout the country. Two kids face each other, jump and clap and then put out one foot. If it’s the same foot as the partner one wins, if it’s different, the other. Hours of exercise, connection, fun and strategy. No electricity needed.