journal

MEET SUAKOKO BETTY’S NEWEST CONTRIBUTOR!

Hi! My name is Wilmonia Harris and I am the newest contributor for the Suakoko Betty Blog. I’m excited to share and talk about all things fashion and Suakoko Betty. Here are a few random facts about moi!

1. That’s me, smile!

2. I’m a GA peach.

3. My family and my history is from Liberia, West Africa.

4. I love when it rains.

5. I love to read and can read a 300 page book in one sitting.

6. I’m a triplet, right in the middle.

7. I prefer a cute pair of ballet flats over heels.

8. I love Jesus!

9. There’s a special place in my heart for chocolate.

10. I have a fashion blog with my sisters called Wil Harris.

Introduce yourself and let me know a few random facts about yourself!

xx, Monia

ACCRA FOODIE REPORT – FROM OVALTINE TO “RED RED”

This is my last post about my adventures in Ghana, and as a foodie, I had to tell you about what my palate experienced while I was there.

Ovaltine and Ghana Bread – Most people know I have a major bread addiction. The bread in Ghana was insanely sweet and chewy, with a faintly spiced (cloves?) flavor. In Liberia we called it Fanti bread because it was made people from the Fanti tribe. During this trip I enjoyed it sliced thick and toasted with butter for breakfast…and snack time. If you haven’t already, grab some from your local tropical food store. It’s definitely not a nutritional giant, but a little white bread is good for the soul. Ovaltine, a hot, chocolatey “malted dairy drink” was breakfast staple when we were in Liberia, so it was another sweet reunion to sip some before leaving the house every morning while in Accra.

Did you know that Ghana produces some of the best pineapples in the world? My godsister bought me a couple of bottles of this amazing fresh squeezed pineapple juice. I learned that a foreign company was bottling Ghana-grown fruit juice for sale in Europe. After several years of successfully marketing it overseas, it occured to them that people in Ghana would actually enjoy the juice as well and they decided to start retailing it locally. Hmmmm.

Fish and Chips – On my last day, Oku my godsister’s husband took me to his favorite neighborhood street vendor for some fish and chips, Accra-style. It contained, you guessed it, fried fish and crispy fried yam and sweet potatoes with side of pepper sauce. Yam is a big deal in Ghana, and when it’s served up like this, I see why. You must have this when you go.

Red Red – Oku, OB and I went to a “traditional” Ghana restaurant for lunch on Tuesday after our meetings at the Accra mall and the textile factory. It was an open air structure, like a large, lush green gazebo or what we call “palava hut” in Liberia. I ordered a dish called Red Red, which features a blackeyed peas mashup that gets its name from palm oil and tomato puree. Add dried shrimp powder or dried fish to the recipe in the link to amp up the flavor. My dish was rounded out with crisply fried fish and fried ripe plaintain. Yum!! I’m ready to test drive it in my own kitchen. What’s your favorite West African dish?

 

ACCRA STREET STYLE – NOT FOR SMALL CHILDREN

We have a Liberian saying that goes “It’s not for small children”, which means it’s not for the faint of heart or little boys and girls need not apply. That saying pretty much sums up the inspiration I discovered in Accra, Ghana; it was bold and a bit out of my comfort zone (that’s saying a lot!). Here are a few of the ideas that I found:

Enjoying the slick merchandising at the Woodin* store in Osu. Woodin is the latest wave of African prints and is being targeted at the 18 – 30 crowd.

Mixed prints – Africans are the masters of mixed print. I might be a little biased, but we do this. Seriously, people wore mixed up prints that looked hot without even trying.

Pants- More than a few young men were wearing these patchwork pants and patchwork is normally not my thing, but these were gorgeous! Some wore it with a solid colored tee and leather sandals and the look just had great swag and confidence. I picked up three pairs as gifts on my last day after haggling with a vendor in Osu. The second picture is inspiration for how it can be styled for the ladies.

Yes dude, your pants are all that and a bag of chips.

Jewelry – Waistbeads were everywhere, but what really caught my eye where these chunky, painted beads that were like miniature works of art on a string. They were interesting, but I didn’t get any because I thought they looked too literal as African jewelry. THEN, on my way to the airport, one of Josephine’s male coworkers come out looking like a freaking GQ model with a crisp white button-down, skinny jeans, dapper glasses and wait for it… two of the beaded bracelets on his wrist. It looked so sharp and was a great juxtaposition of new and old, classic and funky. Yes, I will be placing an order! They are called sand cast or “Krobo” beads and they are a Ghana specialty.

Fabric – What can I say? The wax print fabric choices were beautiful…and overwhelming. I struggled to choose and assign fabrics to each of my Belk silhouettes as impatient vendors looked at me and said, ”You haven’t decided what you want yet?” after about 15 minutes. I’m like, “Uh, it’s only my most important collection so far, can I make sure I’m making the right choice???” Will it match a wide range of complexions? Is this egg print too kooky? Is this color too dark? Does the print say “Africa-chic” or is it too “hip” for it’s own good? Does it speak suakoko betty? Argh!!! In the end, I was happy with my choices and I think you will be too.

My very first store visit, with Naa the proprietor of Makola Market