we are what we wear?

In Notes on 14 December, 2011 at 2:25 am

yesterday, i rode on the back of a motorbike to the chaotic centre of tamale. joyce, my go-to girl for everything under the ghanaian sun, guided me through the main market. she was looking for a bra and i was looking for a bag. we ended up being distracted by beads.

strings of beads hanging on a trader's arm

joyce told me i need to get some beads to tie around my waist. she said all ghanaian girls do it. i asked her why she wears waist beads and joyce said she doesn’t know. i asked google and got a string of different answers (here and here are interesting articles).

in summary, it appears beads can be: (1) a sign of beauty in west africa (2) believed to help shape a woman’s figure (3)  part of ghanaian heritage (4) a fashion statement (5) protection against evil spirits (6) symbolic of womanhood (7) a form of business! as demonstrated by the man who was selling them at 70 peswas per string.

the bead trader stringing my set together

in ghana, beads are said to be the first thing a new born baby wears and one of the last ornaments used to bury the dead. i was born beadless, but i now have three strings of beads hugging my waist. another thing to love about living in ghana.

my beads (far left)

  1. Enjoyed all your notes thus far (just had a marathon reading session!)

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