Thursday, October 09, 2008

The 12th good thing about Northern Nigeria: Visiting a village of weavers

Our next stop after the potters village was a village that specializes in weaving. This was not far away, just down the country road a few miles.

As soon as our bus approached the village, the children started running to greet us.

Across the road, others came out of their doorways to get a look at the strangers.

I thought it was interesting to see the different types of home construction in this village. There were plenty of the mud houses with low walls with either a sod roof or open to the sky. But there were also a couple of concrete structures close to the main road.

And there were also some round thatch-roofed homes.

Something else of interest was that there was actually a pen for the goats -- usually goats just wander freely.

After walking away from the main road, we walked through a "residential area."

This little drainage ditch came under the walls -- it's either for waste water or "sewer" or both.

We passed some hard-working villagers.

And then we took a path out of the village.

And we walked through their crops...

Till we got to a small grove of trees where some men were sitting at their looms.

This was a Sunday and they normally would be taking the day off, but our guide had made previous arrangements (and, I'm sure, payments) to make sure that they would be there to demonstrate their craft for us.

The looms are quite narrow, so they are only able to weave narrow strips of cloth, which they will sometimes piece together to make a wider piece of cloth.

Their feet are moving the stick below while their hands work quickly moving the shuttle back and forth.

The length of each weaver's finished cloth would be determined by the length of their yarns stretched out and held taut between two heavy rocks, which could be moved up closer to the loom as the weaving progressed.

A crowd had gathered to watch the demonstration. Paulette laughed that the children could watch the weavers every day they wanted, but it was just special today because we were there.

They said that a few women had vertical looms inside their homes where they could work in a protected space, but they didn't think it right for women to be weaving outside. They mostly considered the weaving to be the men's job.

And, of course, there was a shopping opportunity under the trees.

I bought a long strip of cloth similar to this one. It cost me 1500 Naira, a little over $12. I'm not sure exactly what I'll do with it, but it will be a nice memory of our trip to the weaver's village.

As we walked back through the village, some women peeked over their walls to wave goodby to us.

And on the other side of the main road, they were still out watching for the visitors.

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