The panya is simply a piece of about 2 – 3 feet of material. They are sold in the market according to their quality and so the ones on the lowers shelves are cheapers, and ones on the higher shelves are more expensive. The most expensive one I’ve come across was a fun colorful piece made in Ghana that was 3 panyas for 20,000 cfa, or $40. The cheapest one I bought was for my curtains, and that was 2 panyas for 1,500 cfa, or $3. It is very overwhelming when looking for panyas, although lots of fun! You never know what colors and patters you’ll find that day =)
Panyas come in all color combinations, all styles, even faces of people like the president of Togo or the United States end up on panyas.
Many times panyas are bought and then taken to the seamstress to have something made out of it. It takes 3 panyas to have a shirt, skirt, and headdress made. Other times, panyas are bought just to have a panya. Why? So that you can carry many panyas around with you, just in case you need it for:
Carrying a baby (or stuffed animal)
Restraints in the hospital
Carrying things on top of the head
Catching throw up or other bodily fluids
But my favorite use of all so far??? Taking a panya to The Cuisine with me and putting it on the ground and then having it full of children listening to stories from the Bible!!!!