Published: Sunday, June 2, 2013

Travel Diaries

Tema- A Lasting Impression of Ghana

Women making bracelets out of beads at the Cedi Beads. Photo: Shariqa Habib

Women making bracelets out of beads at the Cedi Beads. Photo: Shariqa Habib

Takoradi was our first port of call in Ghana, and then it was Tema. Tema is a town near Accra- the capital city of Ghana.Our time in Accra and Tema included exploring the town, enjoying Ghanaian cuisine and unlimited shopping. However, the heat was becoming unbearable. Even though I am used to the Bangladeshi heat, the Ghanaian heat was on some other level. With the heat beating down on my head, highlight of my time in Tema was the field programme that was called the Art of Bead Making.

The Art of Bead Making was a field programme organised by Semester at Sea. It was a day long programme where we had the opportunity to visit a beads factory. The beads factory is called Cedi’s Beads Factory. Cedi is the owner of the factory and he teaches bead making around the world in colleges and universities. It took us two hours to get to Cedi’s factory from the ship. When we arrived to the factory, the bus stopped at a lush Mango garden. We were welcomed to gather under a shed. Cedi then introduced himself and told us how he started making beads from his childhood and continued on with his passion. There, he showed us how a mould of a bead is made. They are usually made with a certain type of clay. Cedi demonstrated how certain patterns are created in beads. Then we were taken inside the factory, where we were able to see the process of bead making. Glass powder and colours are mixed, and then put into the mould. Then, the mould is put into an oven to be prepared into the final material. Cedi then took some of the beads that were just been taken out of the oven and showed us how they are polished before being sold. At the factory, we learned that all of Cedi’s beads are made out of recycled materials. After a good tour of the facility, we were then taken to his showroom. At this showroom, we were able to see the different kind of beads. Some beads are for necklaces, some are for bracelets, some are specifically for leaders of a community- and the most interesting ones were the ones for the waist. Ghanaian women wear beads on their waist from their childhood. At different phases of their lives, they receive new beads from their family and put them on their waist. These waist beads are worn to maintain their womanly figure and only their husband can see it!

Beads on display at Cedi's showroom. Photo: Shariqa Habib

Beads on display at Cedi’s showroom. Photo: Shariqa Habib

Cedi- the owner of the factory, showing a bead necklace made for a tribe king or queen mother.  Photo: Shariqa Habib

Cedi- the owner of the factory, showing a bead
necklace made for a tribe king or queen mother. Photo: Shariqa Habib

So, we toured the facility and then saw how beads are made. We bought some beads and then we were given an amazing opportunity- Cedi told us that we would learn how to make beads ourselves! We were taken to the factory again, where we mixed our own patterns and were able to make beads ourselves. We each made five beads and I was very proud of my beads when they came out of the oven.

After our tour of Cedi’s factory, our next part of the tour included a visit to the local bead market. The local market we visited was extremely hectic. Walking through the market was a challenge in itself. The tour guide, who was taking us to the bead market, even he had difficulty finding it. But finally, he found the bead market and we were able to explore around it. We took our time to have a good look around the market. I bought endless amount of beads. After the amazing day spent around Tema, it was time for me to get back to the ship and off to my next and last stop around the world- Morocco!