I climb into a tro-tro (Ghana’s local buses) in Kumasi’s central market and after bumping along potholed roads for half an hour, heading south from this capital of the Ashanti Region, I find myself in the small suburb of Kromuase. On the approach I pass through the village of Nzema where some of our tailors have their shops, I reach the brim of the hill, continue pass the small hospital in the lush plantain grove on the left and when as soon as I see the car washing bay approaching on the right I call out to the drivers mate to drop me on the roadside. I’m home.
I’ve been visiting Ghana continually for the past 10 years and this house in Kromuase, the family home of Richard and Bernice, has become a true home for me. When I started Ashanti Empress I knew from the start that it would be based in Kumasi and work with local tailors in the suburbs of Kromuase and Nzema.
Over these years I have built strong friendships and connections with the people in this area. Not only the family I stay with and the tailors I work alongside. There is a whole multitude of people I see and interact with on a daily basis who live and work in Kromuase, they see me passing, armed with my giant pink bag, full of either material or clothes, depending on which direction I’m heading in! There’s Gina, who runs a small drink shop just outside the gate to the house, Sarah running the small convenience store next door, Elizabeth who grills plantain under the mango tree and Kweku who spends his days washing cars on the roadside, just to name a few. Everyday I see these people, going about their lives in Kromuase and every day they greet me with a smile and make me feel part of the community, like Kromoase is my home too.
Hairdressers in Nzema
Maidu in her shop, Ladies selling beans and plantain, Sharifa in her shop.
Nana Yaw washing his scooter
Richard Obiri Yeboah guarding the gate
Maame laughing, Lordina with her baby bear, Ruby and Nana Yaw
Mark the local butcher
The local painter, Gina relaxing in her shop, Kweku at the car wash
Politics always on the horizon
Akosia and Paa