From crafts and design researcher Giorgio Salani and his wife Etsuko – UK
Visited February 2015
During our visit to Bolgatanga we were looking for places famous for traditional craft skills. We had already visited two or three villages when we came across the Lost Opporunities Foundation website. It sounded very promising, and we immediately contacted Fuseini- Since he was away, we agreed to meet his father Abu and visit Sherigu on a sunny mid-February afternoon. Abu is a nice man and showed us around, the craft centre where the women weave has walls painted in the traditional style – and some women were sitting on the floor making beautiful baskets.
We were talking about the baskets when all of a sudden everyone stood up and started signing a welcome song. Then the first woman came forward and started dancing in front of us, then another one, and another one…. One at the time, engaged in a powerful dance that went on for a few minutes and faded into the end of the song. I was overwhelmed and still surprised. We didn’t expect such a treatment and were very honoured!
Abu explained that they now have a water pump opposite the craft centre and everyone queues there for water. The main priority seems to be the building of a new school for the children, who currently don’t go to school as it’s too far and too expensive for many families. We plan to collaborate with LOF to transform the women’s impressive craft skills into real opportunities, to raise the standards of living in the village.
From Monica Hauge Skaten – Norway:
Visited February 2014
I met Fuseini in Accra, where I have been taking drumming lessons with him in his shop at the art-centre. When I moved to Bolga to do research and collect data about the petrol business, I joined Fuseini to visit the village in February 2014.
The welcome to Sherigu was very pleasant. Although people have very limited English skills they all greet you, and we can understand each other through simple sign language. Everyone was happy and curious to see what we looked like. My impression of Sherigu and the woman who weave the basket is that they are a lively and joyful group of people who are very grateful for the help that lost opportunities are providing. They are interested in the processes and developments of the business, and willing to show people this special handicraft skill.
I am by no means qualified to say what is most important for development of the village after a couple of hours here, but it did worry me that there was a lot of children around that do not attend any form of schooling. Hopefully with time and funds this is something Lost Opportunities Foundation can do something about.