Simply said, I love Ghana!!!... let me explain.
Earlier this year my husband and I returned to Australia after spending 18-months in Ghana, West Africa. We took a sabbatical from our jobs and volunteered to serve a full-time religious based humanitarian mission; based in Accra.
I vividly recall stepping out of our air-conditioned aircraft, down an airstair to the tarmac and being engulfed by scorching heat. It was as if we stepped into a hot oven. Suffocatingly high temperatures are befitting a country just 5 degrees north of the equator. We soon realised that the heat never went away. it was constant day and night. Thankfully, respite came in the form of overcast skies called ‘harmattan’. At this time of year the movement of dry winds from across the Sahara Dessert effect the atmosphere for about 6 weeks.
Being a third-world country, Ghana is very much a hussle society where many locals work today to eat today. If they have one meal a day, it’s a good day. If they have two meals a day, it’s a great day. Approximately only 30 percent of the population is employed. There simply aren’t enough jobs. That leaves 70 percent of the population to be industrious and resourceful.
Ghanaians are hard-working and entrepreneurial by nature. Many make-a-means by street hawking or trading in cottage industries. Others are skilled artisans in wood carving, recycling glass for bead-making, creating batik fabric, and kente-cloth weaving is amazing to witness. Then there is my personal favourite… basket weaving.
Each basket is hand woven using moistened elephant grass (pennistum purpureum) commonly found in Ghana’s northern region of Bolgatanga. Basket weaving in Bolgatanga is a way of life. The region is renowned for their weaving techniques, passed down from generation to generation.
When I first saw ‘Bolga’ baskets, I was cob-smacked. Their baskets are so colourful, intricately designed and beautifully hand-woven. Each is unique. Natural plant and mineral dyes provide a broad colour choice. Basket handles are usually finished in goat leather but there are many baskets available without. All are durable, and their usefulness is only limited by one’s imagination. They come in all shapes and sizes and I love them all.
Most of all, I am committed to support and build stronger village communities of the Bolgatanga region. Purchasing a basket means you and I are able to contribute in a small way in ensuring the longevity of their craft, to promote self-reliance to they can enjoy greater quality of life. It has been my privilege to meet some of truly humble yet resilient and God-fearing individuals who have broadened my vision and life for the better.
Together we can do more.