Carry On, Ghana!

Ghanaians are incredibly skilled at carrying things on their heads. We learned that they start doing this at a young age because it allows them to carry much heavier objects for longer distances than children can support with their arms. We saw children of all ages and sizes carrying everything–wood-framed glass boxes full of bread, huge metal buckets full of lobsters, woven baskets full of fried plantains, enormous jugs of water, cords of lumber, and more. The young men below are carrying pounding sticks used to make fufu, one of the Ghanaian food staples.

Quick side comment: A couple of my work study students found a t-shirt painting shop in Takoradi and had t-shirts created that said “Make Fufu Not War” with silhouetted images of Ghanaians pounding out fufu. Traveling with students is such a blast.

UPDATE: I got a comment from someone named Kwabena Boateng who runs a clothing company in Ghana called Kayobi Clothing. One of the things they offer are official “Make Fufu Not War” t-shirts. Check out their site and consider purchasing one:

We also saw adult men and women carrying these types of items gracefully on their heads. They explained to us that they learn this skill from the time they are very young so that it feels completely natural to them. It promotes good posture and also conveniently frees up their arms for shopping, caring for children, etc.

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  1. Posted September 30, 2010 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Hi Sam, My name is Kwabena Boateng and I run Kayobi Clothing. I came upon your blog when my google alert for ‘Make fufu not War’ sent me an email that the phrase had been used. So I clicked the link and it sent me to your blog – I must say its an excellent travel blog.

    I am writing because you mentioned that a printing shop in Takoradi was selling Make fufu not war t-shirts. This puzzled me as the creator of the design because we do not sell in any retail outlets in Ghana and particularly in Takoradi.

    My guess is someone has copied the design and is printing them as their own.
    I would appreciate it greatly if you could give me the name of the shop or the area in Takoradi that it is in, this will enable me to get to the bottom of the mystery.
    Please take a look at our t-shirts here to see if the ones you saw were identical or similar
    I hope to hear from you soon.

  2. Posted September 30, 2010 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Kwabena, thanks for the comments. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. Unfortunately, I don’t know where they got the shirts made, but I do know that it was a custom design…printed to order and not something already for sale. The design doesn’t look anything like yours, but I do like yours. I’ll update the post with a link to your site and recommendation that readers purchase one from you when I get some time later tonight.

  3. Posted October 4, 2010 at 3:40 am | Permalink

    Hi Sam – You are a Star. Thanks a ton for explaining about the shirts this is really appreciated. Also thanks for the kind compliments and for posting my link. I am happy you enjoyed your time in Ghana.

    Take Care

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