Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mission Presidents Seminar

These are the drummers that welcomed the general authorities and their wives into the dinner.. they have 'talking drums' wherein the words that are spoken in welcome are translated into a drum cadence. It was an interesting introduction to African culture.

This is my dear friend Emelia Ahadjie, wife of Elder Ahadjie, an Area Seventy. She works in our office building as the travel, hospitality coordinator and is a great help to me in finding resources for the project I'm working on for the Area youth Activity. She was dressed in the traditional clothing this evening and had President/Sister Ayekoue's little 17 month old on her back, African style. Baby's name: Happy As you can see on her closeup, she is aptly named. Elder Cardon asked President Ayekoue how much he would charge per person for all the grandmas and grandpas (missing their own grandchildren) to get to hold her for a few minutes.

Of the 8 mission Presidents, the Squires, Sabeys, Smiths and Boggesses are all North Americans. The Neuders are originally from America but have lived in Nigeria for the past 10 years before being called. The Ayekoues (French speaking and assigned to Cote d'Ivoire, and the Egbos and Adebayos are all Africans. All three are young couples with young families. We are very impressed with their maturity and their abilities. We were humbled to associate with so many wonderful, consecrated and devoted couples.

This picture of us with Elder Neil L. Andersen and his wife Kathy was taken Saturday afternoon after attending a Temple session with the Mission Presidents, Elder/Sister Andersen, Elder/Sister Hallstrom, the Area Presidency and the Temple Presidency. It was a unique and spiritual ocassion.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Kente Cloth Weaving

This is Bob Dennis. His family has been weaving for generations in the Volta Region near the Volta Lake and Togo border. He is well educated and has written and published a book on Ewe Kente cloth weaving. He began weaving at the age of 9 and was a master weaver by the age of 12. He showed us each piece of equipment and each step of the process. I will never look at a piece of this beautiful art without a great appreciation for the skill involved and the hard work it takes to produce it. I bought the book and a table topper.
Most looms weave strips that are 4-5 inches wide and the length is determined by what it will be made into. For instance, if they are making place mats they would have a shorter piece than if they were to make a king sized bedspread. They cut and sew side by side many strips to make the place mats, table runners, table cloths and various sizes of bedspreads. There are custom looms which will weave a piece wider so that there are no strips sewn together. My table runner is a wide one.
These are just two of the 20 or so employees at this outdoor factory owned by Bob Dennis. He has hired weavers and then inservice trained them in the finer points of Ewe Kente. They get paid by the amount of fabric they produce. It may take three to four days to produce a four inch wide by 62 foot piece. It is impossible to describe in this blog the whole process. They do coordinate the treadle with their feet (see below) moving the two layers of warp threads up and down as they shoot the shuttle with the weft threads back and forth. All of this while they are counting how many rows of each color or changing for different designs. I could not have been more impressed!
This is a double weave (above) It requires many more warp threads and more work. The result is that you don't see the warp threads in the end... only the weft and the bottom (he has turned it over so we could see) is the more colorful.
This is a more complicated weave. See that the warp threads are in strips of several colors. The resulting patterns are beautiful.