My Kente Quilt

I’ve wanted to buy a kente quilt [read: blankey] ever since coming to Ghana, but have held off due to the high cost of  the fabric and not knowing who to buy from. But last week at Tafi Abuife the kente was plentiful, the price was right, the stars were aligned, and I just couldn’t resist.

The following patterns, passed down through multiple generations, were selected for my quilt. Despite appearing simplistic, each of these abstract designs take 5-9 hours to complete a two yard strip. Altogether, the nine strips of kente I chose took a whopping 62 hours to weave.

Steps (Togbe) :

Birds (Afala) :

Hills & Sugarcane (Eto) :

Our People’s Footpath (Mat) :

Life’s Direction (Mor) :

Unity (Ashe) :

Unity #2 (Dekaworwor) :

After paying Aikins for the cloth, we rode motorcycle taxis over to a well-named tailoring shop in a neighboring village. Mary, an extremely nice seamstress, began sewing the kente cloth together strip by strip.  Earlier that day, I had carefully arranged the kente strips to make an evenly laid out design with a very diversified color scheme. It was a very nice layout, but I forgot to tell this to Mary. She stitched the strips together according to what she thought would look good, which I was completely okay with. After all, she’s the expert! After 45 minutes, Mary finished sewing my quilt without breaking a sweat [or removing her hair curlers]. The end product looks decidedly more original and ‘African’ than the almost symmetrical layout I had planned, and I am glad that I ‘let’ a Ghanaian arrange the kente design. Special thank you to Chris & Aikins for introducing me to their wonderful village.

Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary


Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary is easily one of the most fantastic places I’ve been to in Ghana.  After spending the night nearby at Wli waterfall, we bought $2 of bananas, hopped in a taxi, and made our way to the monkeys. These little guys awaited us…

A bit of history about the monkey sanctuary:

With the spread of Christianity in Ghana,  the Traditionalist belief of worshipping animals became a taboo. With people no longer viewing animals as sacred, they killed the monkeys in Tafi Atome to near-extinction.

In 1993, John Mason, became the director of ecotourism. He convinced the villagers of the economic benefits of protecting the monkeys, and the Monkey Sanctuary has been in existence since then.

The monkeys we saw were adult mona monkeys. As soon as the monkeys discovered us, the leader ‘claimed Mama’ by peeing on her head from a distant tree above us. Somehow he knew that she was the only female in our group, despite being high above us. Logan and I saw this happening, but we were too stunned to tell her to move.

Mona monkeys travel in families, which consist of 30-50 monkeys.  There are five families in Tafi Atome.

The female monkeys have kangaroo-like pouches that hold their babies inside.

Bananas don’t grow naturally in their forest, so the monkeys go crazy when tourists visit. After 15 minutes of feeding the slightly-aggressive adult monkeys, the guide took us further into the forest and started calling the younger ones. With bananas as incentives, these monkeys jumped all over our arms and shoulders in pursuit of the precious fruit. Logan was awestruck when he made his first  monkey friend.

Followed by his second…

Eventually, the monkeys  couldn’t get enough of him.

Soon the monkeys discovered Mama.

Her monkey-butt disgust quickly succumbed to laughter.

And gradually, she began enjoying the monkeys’ presence and tried to converse with them.

Now onto my reactions. At first, being jumped on by monkeys overwhelmed me just as it did Logan and Mama before me. [Please ignore my 4 chins.]

I came to love my four-legged friends, and can’t wait until my next visit to the sanctuary [or until I own one as a pet!]