Wednesday morning we set out for our big meeting with the G-lish Foundation Weavers. Edna, G-lish’s bright new manager had done all the organization of gathering the Weavers together.
The website www.glishfoundation.org explains what G-lish is about:
“G-lish Foundation is a non-profit organisation based in Ghana, West Africa. We support rural communities to make sustainable, hand-made baskets and wall art that generates incomes and choices for families.
G-lish is run from Ghana and shows that locally-led efforts can break poverty cycles and create lasting prosperity.
We work with over seventy producers and impact over four hundred people in three villages in some of the poorest communities in the country.”
G-lish Foundation was started by Godwin and Gayle who with their tiny new daughter live in Australia. Like Gregory of Baba Tree their dream is to see their Foundation become an industry that is sustainable for and run by Ghanaians. Godwin and Gayle’s input is the know how of trading in countries like Australia and Canada. The challenge is to find a dependable resourceful manager on the ground in Ghana to keep the Weavers and Twisters motivated and making excellent merchandise and get the Baskets out to the world. Edna seems to be very capable.
The G-lish baskets are really one-of-a-kind pieces of art made in the traditional method but with the added aspect of using recycled plastic and fabric as well. So not only are they helping to support families but providing a means to help the environment.
The Bolgatanga region outside of Bolga is an area that time seems to have forgotten. Donkeys, bicycles and walking are still the mode of transport out in the rural regions. The houses are mud with thatched roofs… There is agriculture but it is very seasonal. Right now is harvest season … i saw lots of watermelons in the fields!
Since it is harvest time only 24 of the Weavers and Twisters were able to show up. They were all busily weaving or twisting the raffia under the shade of a huge tree. Through Edna I was able to explain to them that my idea was to bring their story home so that the Baskets would take on added life as people back home met the Weavers, Twister and Cutters who had made their basket. These baskets take up to three people to make them. First the Cutter cuts the plastic and fabric into strips, then the Twisters as their name suggest twists the plastic and fabric into little strings … and then the Weaver can take up to three days to complete a basket.
We took everyone’s photo with their Basket or with the Twisties they make. Dela got everyone’s name and a little info about them. So now we have the face behind the Basket!!!
After the photographs we brought out the watermelons, paw paws, oranges and pineapples we had brought and had a little refreshment break. It was fun to be amongst the chatting and now quite animated and relaxed women … there was one man who is a Twister but he just stayed for the photo. The best part for me was to see the babies enjoying the fruits with juice all running down their faces as they intently munched away!
And then we had the finale!! Dela got the women singing and dancing … it sure didn’t take much!! and they were all up and clapping their hands and jouncing around!!! … somehow there is no other moment that is so open hearted and joyful as seeing these women burst spontaneously into singing, clapping and dancing together!!! I was taken away!!!
Selling these Baskets for me is all about these open hearted joyous people and i hope that you were transported there for just a moment to feel this magic ….
Then it was time to bid farewell and with good natured waving and calling we went off ….