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Thursday, March 29, 2012

From Northern Ghana and the Gushie Women's Shea Nut Collective (Part 3 of 3) b Wickham Boyle

Life in the Village

The life in the village saw children wandering alone in wonderful packs. Joyful, really tiny boys and girls playing with goats, running after bottle caps and laughing as they stuck hand bills for new cell phones to their faces. They laughed at this red-faced interloper who made noises like animals and sometimes scared the babies just by virtue of my blue eyes and to them, ghost like appearance. But I was constantly beguiled.

The mother crushing shea nuts over an open fire in a huge caldron with a baby firmly attached to her waiting breast entranced me.  I could barley contain myself when the eldest mother of the village Magazia, took my hands to thank me. Her honest fervent gaze needed no interpreter to tell me that she appreciated all the work and the results we were able to create for her and the women in the collective.

I loved teaching clap games to the older girls and dissolving into giggles as we missed our beats. The little kids watched in wonder, then wandered off to challenge goats to the king of the wood mountain or hide from one another behind creaky gates. These are not the games we see children play in America. Our children are too closely watched. We worry about fire and fingers in gates, and skittish animals, but these little ones made worlds of their own away from the eyes of adults who might constantly monitor and adjust kid's behavior. And one thing I noticed was the absence of crying, of whining. They shared, they fought some, and they haggled over an empty water bottle and laughed gleefully at the photos I could show them instantly. But they seemed so happy and at ease. I even watched one two year-old put himself to bed for the night after rubbing his eyes for a good half hour. " Go find your bed", he was told, and without hesitation he was off to slumber.

Eldest mother of the village Magazia, sharing a special moment 
It was as if all the hard work, the family and community connections created a sense of peace. True there was palpable poverty, and what we would consider primitive living conditions: no electricity, no toilets, a tiny store selling matches, hot sodas and gum, but there was joy and so much hope for the future.

I trust we added a modicum of belief that others are watching, others care, and all of us as mothers are attempting to hold the hands of our children across time zones and cultures to create in some tiny way, a better tomorrow.

Wickham Boyle "Wicki",  has been a writer for as long as she can remember. She has also worn many hats, including that of experimental theater producer (seven years at New York's famous La Mama) and Wall Street
stockbroker. She is the director of Wizard, a consulting company that solves all sorts of problems and the editor-in chief of THRIVE NYC a new magazine launching in November 06 dedicated to baby boomers and their parents.
She was one of the founders of Code Magazine and has contributed to the New
York Times, New York Magazine, National
Geographic Traveler, Budget Travel,
Men's Health, Forbes, Mode, Gotham among others. Her essays make a radio debut this fall on the AARP station as part of "Prime Time". Wicki continues to ride everywhere on her 1968 Raleigh and lives downtown with her husband, sports consultant Zac Minor, and occasionally their two far-flung children.

If you would like to purchase Just Shea products please visit
If you would like to donate to complete the barn or buy equipment for the harvesters please visit Global Giving, here is our direct link.

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