8 March 2013

Mama Vida's Batik

Mama Vida has this dress.  It's purple and obviously not made of Congolese pagne.  It's batik cloth from Ghana.  This dress is old - at least 15 years, since that's when Vida left Ghana for Congo.  It's worn.  It's been repaired often.

Yesterday, I went out to  buy Mama Vida some new batik for a new dress to remind her of Ghana.  This wasn't a plan.  The only request that I had from anyone for my trip to Ghana was "Shea Butter!"  Right before I left, Mamas Vida, NouNou, and YouYou all lobbied me to bring back as much of the stuff as possible, for everyone's beautification.  Mama Vida had obviously been extolling it's virtues.

Mama Vida said she didn't need anything.  So, I decided she needed some batik.  Which brings us to Esther.  Esther was a name of a Mama given to me as the person to go to for quality cloth.  So, a group of us in the workshop I'm attending (more on that later) called her up and she agreed to stay open late so that we could swing by after working all day.

Here I am with Mama Esther.  I obviously love having my photo taken.

The process of choosing a batik print (made by Esther) was difficult.  So, her son, Joe, helped out.  He  asked what shade and size Mama Vida was ("Is she a very fat Ghanaian? Very thin? Very short? Ah, middle sized!  Very dark? Or light?  I know this type.  You will need lots of cloth, then.") and helped me find two pieces of cloth that he said would be perfect.  We disagreed on the wild purple and green.  Agreed on the yellow.  And came to an understanding about the muted blue and red.  In the end, I chose two pieces:

We'll see which one she chooses.  Mama Esther and Joe both said they were "Nice, nice" in the same tone and cadence as Mama Vida uses when she compliments LouLou on a drawing or praises Elias for reading.  "So nice, nice."

We also hit up a little fair trade shop called Global Mamas before heading to sushi.  That's right.  Sushi.  I'm a happy person.  This trip has been mostly intense work, but the play has been quality.

But.  I'm really missing these folks:

And Johan too.  Very, very much.

Tomorrow, my plane will stop off in Togo, Nigeria, and Gabon after Ghana and before landing home in the DRCongo.  Can't wait to deliver the goods to Mama Vida and squeeze my family.

For now, I'm off to the market.


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