Apr 04.1

The Top 5 Moments in Ghana We'll Never Forget

This past February, we traveled 7000 miles across the globe to meet our shea butter supplier, the Ojoba Women's Shea Butter Cooperative in Bolgatanga, Ghana.

In five whirlwind days of ceremonies and celebrations, we created a lifetime of amazing memories. Our favorite moment? Oh, we couldn't possible choose one. How about five of them?

5. The Dancing. All the Dancing

Dancing is an important part of Frafra culture. It accompanies almost every reason for gathering; greeting guests, saying goodbye, thank you, we're happy to see you... the list goes on. You name it- they bust a move. At formal ceremonies, the women usually form a large circle and take turns jumping in the centre to perform. Their voices are the melody and their hands the beat, encouraging each woman as she has her moment of expression. It was remarkable, the energy that radiated off of them as they danced with their whole body. If you haven't watched this video about our trip to Ghana yet, do it right now!

4. Getting Our Hands in the Shea Butter

Did we hope that we'd get to make shea butter? Of course. Did we think we'd actually get to work alongside the women on a fresh batch? No way! Luckily for us, the women of Ojoba were gracious enough to let us make shea butter with them. The butter felt light and soft, but it was remarkably difficult to knead for more than a minute or two. It was wonderful to work so closely with an ingredient that we use loads of in our products!

3. Ah-HAAAA: The Library Celebration

The women of Ojoba saved over $6000 US to pay for half of their new community library (LUSH UK funded the other half), and they held a massive celebration to open it! All five chiefs from the surrounding villages spoke, the Ojoba Cooperative performed, and kids of all ages swarmed the party with their laughter and dancing. We were also introduced to a funny expression of acknowledgement and approval common in Ghanaian culture: "Ah haaaa!"

2. Getting to Know the Women

We spent time with literally hundreds of cooperative members during our trip, and interviewed six of them about their lives since joining Ojoba. I was taken aback by how open and forthcoming they were with a complete stranger. They spoke so candidly about their lives, sharing both their struggles and accomplishments. They treated us like long-lost friends, and their warm spirits made us feel at home almost immediately.

1. Saying Goodbye

The week we spent in Ghana was one I'll never, ever forget. The Ojoba Cooperative welcomed us into their community with open arms, and I was incredibly moved by each and every woman I met. When the time came to say goodbye, the women presented us with handmade shirts and gave us packages of the shea butter we had helped them make only two days prior. There was, of course, more joyful dancing and singing to mark our departure, but that still didn't stop the waterworks from hitting an all-time high as we hugged our new friends goodbye.

Special thanks goes to Karen Wolverton for sharing her incedible photography of the experience.

Julia Hamfelt

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