HoHoe (Ho Hoye) – Gateway to Nature
There wasn’t much on the net for accommodations, so we were just going to turn up in the Volta region for nature, and find a spot. We found a decent spot, Pacific Guest House for GHC$40, so 10 bucks!
We had been craving to leave the cities, Accra is so massive and Cape Coast is a small enough city you don’t feel bombarded, but we needed some beauty and hear the Volta region with it’s mountains and huge lake was where it’s at!
Having been stung by a wasp and twisted my ankle on a hike in Kokrobite, I needed some chill recreational activities, so what do we do? Climb a mountain, and like American Ninja Warrior, climb a mountain!
Coming into Hohoe (which the locals call 2H city), I was immediately drawn to the surrounding mountains, all lush green and engulfing. We trekked out to Wli Waterfalls, and climbed to the upper falls. For this half-in/out of shape fatty, it was a chore, and was thinking the reverse climb as going to be pretty wicked as well. I was right, the other hiker with us fell a couple time, and I slid on my rear a couple times. Our guide said no one has (yet) to be carried out, so I had hope, with a sore rear. Being that I have no rumpshaker….
Approaching the upper falls, I thought it was raining in the jungle, the power of the falls was so strong, it was a whole other climate/ecosystem up there. Getting close to the stream I could peak up and see the origins of the falls, and it seemed to honestly come from heaven. Wli is the tallest waterfall in Western Africa and I climbed that biatch!!!!
The devilish forces (as we call them in my buddhist practice) were correct, and the reverse climb was a beast, all of our legs felt like jelly, except our “guide” who was fortified by drinking from the waterfall. We pissed our “guide” off so much because we wanted to take our time, and not just hoof it up the mountain. Stop, look, take in the splendor, take a pic, eat a banana, hydrate. I say “guide” because he offered no education to the experience, and when asked, didn’t really know if this WAS the tallest waterfall in Western Africa, where the water source came from….so he was there to run ahead to the tourist office to let them know if we died or not.
Tafi Atome..In the monkeys we believe
There’s a monkey sanctuary in Tafi Atome. It’s showcased as a place of ritual. Here the local village worship the Mona Monkey as their religion. They believe that the Mona monkey is a messenger to God, communicating their prayers to God.
There’s not many that still 100% praise the almighty Mona, but praise Jesus the almighty instead, and have respect for the monkeys. There’s a shrine and a king of the village that accepts gin for libations.
With the proselytization of Christianity in Ghana, a lot of monkeys were killed in the beginning, as it was seen as a pagan religion, but now there seems to be a symbiosis of traditional religion and Christianity. There is SO much God in Ghana! We’ve been woken up by midnight services, and there’s a church service, rally on every corner every day of the week.
I love the fact that tradition can still exist and it’s not driven out with the possible bad word- Pagan, it’s tradition, it’s deity, it’s what they believe.
Tafe Abuife..The Kente Weaving villages
After visiting the monkeys, we headed to the Kente weaving village called Tafe Abuife. The only available transportation was a single motorbike for the three of us, including our driver. Three people on a bike, hmmm. I have seen four on a bike, while people carrying stuff so this didn’t come as a surprise at all. It took about 20 min to get there.
We were greeted by Francis, our guide. Started the tour by a history of Kente weaving. Kente is pronounced as (Key Tay) by the locals, but since most foreigners failed to say ‘Kete’ correctly and end up calling it Kente, it became the actual name.
In the Ewe village we visited, we were told that Kente weaving started by a hunter who saw a spider spin its web and told his people and the king what he saw, and led them to the spider. After studying how the spider spun it’ web they decided to try it themselves. They erected poles and used cotton by making a thread out of it and weaving it across the poles. And according to the Ewe, that’s how Kente weaving started…the Ashanti have a different version. http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/features/The-Issue-of-the-Origin-and-Meaning-of-Kente-aka-Kete-367807 for more read.
Wearing Kente used to be reserved for the Royal family, but today everybody can own Kente cloth. It’s worn for holidays and special occasions, though.
Out of the 4 villages that weave in the Volta region, every household in the village owns a loom and children start learning how to weave at the age of 4 or 5. Most people make a living out of it. It takes 3 years of apprenticeship before the village will let a Kente weaving artist sell.
We also saw a factory with about 20 weavers, weaving different kinds of Kente. We were shocked to see only one woman weaver. Not all men are meant for the farm….There is three kinds of Kente design. They call them the single, double and triple woven. The triple being the most complicated and expensive.
The single has a matte design throughout, the double switch between matt and other designs and the triple has all designs and no matt. All the designs tells a certain story, typically dealing with carpentry, farming, family history. The weavers, as they progress in their trade are allowed some creative freedom, and make their own patterns and colors, in line with the traditional story of their liking.
For example on the piece that we bought below the zigzag blue lines are called the ‘footsteps of our forefathers.’ It tells the story of a wicked king that oppressed the people and they want to leave the kingdom. But they weren’t allowed to do so by the king. They decided to leave anyways, and started walking backwards in a zigzag fashion to avoid getting attacked from behind. This pattern is called ‘sheep’s eye’ and represents a slaughtered sheep that used to be sacrificed by the people to the gods.
More at https://www.kentecloth.net/