Going, Going, Ghana: batik dress and tales of adventures in Ghana

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I’m really happy to have finally completed this dress. I started it almost a year ago! It was almost a wadder a couple of times…in fact, I wadded it up last night and chucked it dramatically in the garbage can when the zipper broke. (The same zipper that I had already sewn in and ripped out and sewn in again a second time.) Bless my darling husband, he fished it out of the trash and repaired the broken zipper for me. He knows just how to handle my sewing drama queen outbursts. He’s a keeper.

Anyway, thanks to Project Sewn’s Going Global challenge this week for giving me a good excuse to ‘unwad’ this and get it done. The dress pattern is Burda’s “Fatina” #6051 , a simple design that shows off this amazing batik fabric I purchased last year in Ghana to its best advantage. The market in the city of Ho in Volta Region has a bunch of stalls that sell gorgeous Ghanaian batik cloth in a riot of colours.

Batik Fabric Stall at the Ho Market, Volta Region, Ghana

Batik Fabric Stall at the Ho Market, Volta Region, Ghana

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Close-up of the batik fabric

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The fabric before I cut it for the dress

So how come I was lucky enough to have gone to Ghana, you ask? (Or maybe you didn’t ask, but I’m going to tell you anyway!) I was there on my second volunteering holiday with Disaster Volunteers of Ghana. The first time I went, in 2011, I helped raise money for and construct a new school house for the village of Biakpa. Here’s a picture of the finished 3-room school house, along with some of the kids who use it:

The new 3-room school house in Biakpa

The new 3-room school house in Biakpa

I wrote more about my experience with the Biakpa school on the Going Going Ghana blog…that’s the organization my friends and I run to help fund projects in Ghana.

The second time I went to Ghana, in 2013, I brought some of my university students along with me because I knew that spending 2 weeks volunteering in a rural village would change their lives like it had for me. So off we went to the village of Adaklu Dawanu, this time to build a school and a community radio station. But before we went, we spent months and lots of energy raising money to fund the projects. My sister and I turned my dining room table into what we called our “jewelry sweat shop”… we created lots of beaded necklaces and bracelets and my wonderful friends and even strangers bought them to show their support. You can view some of the pieces that sold in this Facebook album.  I was delighted to tally up that just with jewelry sales alone, I turned a $500 investment in materials into a $2000 donation to DIVOG. All told, our group raised over $25,000. Amazing.

Here are some pics from my second trip to Ghana last year.

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Hanging out with some girls from Adaklu Dawanu. They had just given a dance performance. And that poor baby on my back looks rightfully worried. You need a decent set of boobs to hold up one of those baby slings.

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My nephew building bricks for the new school. Everything was done by hand — no construction machinery!

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Some children from Adaklu Dawanu ham it up for the camera.

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Bringing donations to one of the smaller villages.

Digging trenches for the foundation for a new community radio station

Digging trenches for the foundation for a new community radio station

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A village elder schools us with some dance moves. Just look at those gorgeous fabrics!

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There’s always time to dance!

If you’re interested to know more about volunteering in Ghana, you can check out Going Going Ghana.com, DIVOG.org,  or feel free to get in touch with me! I’d be delighted to tell you more!

On my Needles: Batik Dress & Colour Block Cardigan

There are a couple of things on my needles these days.

I’m making a sleeveless dress from this beautiful batik fabric I bought in Ghana, using Burda’s “Fatina” pattern #6051.

batik fabric from Ghana

Beautiful Batik Fabric from Ghana

Batik dress in progress

Batik dress in progress

And on my knitting needles, I’m working on the Erika Cardigan by MillaMia, using Cascade 220 sport yarn.

Work in Progress: the Erika Cardigan by MillaMia

Work in Progress: the Erika Cardigan by MillaMia

I chose a brighter blue than the model from the MillaMia website, as well as chartreuse for the sleeves instead of grass green.

The Erika Cardigan model

The Erika Cardigan model