Frank Delano returns to Ghana
I was 22 when I arrived at St. Paul's Secondary School. Bobbo was a year older. He was in his last year at the boarding school for boys. In one respect, he was different from a lot of his classmates. Many of them had dreams of going on to American or European universities and becoming doctors, scientists or engineers. Bobbo's plan for his life was simpler. He wanted to be a kente (KEN-te) weaver as his family had been for generations. Kente is the beautiful, traditional cloth of Ghana. It is woven by hand in long, narrow strips on small looms built of sticks set in the ground. The weavers then cut the strips and sew them together. The cloth is Ghana's time-honored formalwear for ceremonial occasions. Women wear two pieces, a wrap-around skirt and a top. Men wear a large cloth draped over one shoulder like a regal Roman toga.
By any measure, Bobbo's career has turned out successfully. He has traveled often to America, Canada and Europe to demonstrate his craft and sell his colorful cloth. He has even been the subject of a book written by an American friend. Because of his travels, he knows the United States better than most Ghanaians. "Everybody in Ghana thinks America is a great place. They can't imagine all the hassles about living in America. You tell people in Ghana that there are homeless people in America and they think you are telling lies," he said. We figured we had last met in 1980. He was between weaving gigs in the United States and stayed a few weeks at my house in the Northern Neck. He set up a loom under a maple tree in the backyard and wove kente every day." Read more.
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