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Northern Travel Journal: The Women Who Weave Straw and Scraps

We woke up early Friday morning to catch the bus to Bolgatanga, and Kenneth, our staff in Bolga, met us at the bus station. We were also welcomed with an early morning sunshine which made me ask what the time was. It was just 9:00 a.m. but we were sweating already. One unusual thing about my trip which we did today was to take breakfast outside the guesthouse where I stayed. Kenneth introduced us to a local meal in Bolga - and I needed that breakfast because it was going to be a long day! We were introduced to something else new in Bolga. Kenneth provided a tricycle to convey us to the places we were scheduled to go. It was a little scary boarding the tricycle since it had no doors. The motorized tricycle is a new mode of transport which is growing rapidly in the North and patronized by many.

From the early sunshine to the local meal to the tricycle, we finally made it to meet the families. We met the women in Bolga who had received funds to expand their basket-weaving business, Nmaa and Teni, and the two women who are waiting for entry into the program, Gifty and Akuli. The women who have completed the program are very grateful for the impact it has had on their families and their basket-weaving business. They have expanded their business and also saved part of their income to take provide for their families. They now have all their children in school and Teni has successfully entered her daughter into Nursing Training and paid her school fees. She continues to weave quality baskets. Nmaa and Teni tell their story of success to their neighbors.

We are eagerly anticipating entering Gifty and Akulie into the programs. When they receive their grant, they can finally purchased supplies in bulk and increase their production of baskets, which will allow them the financial security and quality education for their children.

I also met Ursula, a talented woman who makes unique baskets from scrap fabric. I was very interested in the scrap fabric because it is innovative. Scrap fabrics are gathered and woven into baskets and the look is very different from the Bolga baskets, but also colorful and eye-catching.

Over the past three days, I have met families in Tamale, visited Martha, visited Bunkrugu and met the women who are the first batik trainees and visited the women weavers in Bolga. It has been a successful trip. I sit back and take a deep breath as I await another good morning to board an early bus to Kumasi to continue with the work in the villages in the Ashanti Region.

We are here, we will be here again and we will continue to bring you stories from the families we work with here in Ghana. Thank you for your prayers and your gifts of support as we work on behalf of women and children in the communities scattered throughout my country. We are grateful and invite you to continue with us in our mission.

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