Akwaaba and welcome. With this greeting, the Ghanaian welcomes you to their country. While their modest shops or places of work may likely never fall on your travel itinerary, in subsequent pages we are excited to present you with their pieces as if you were there in-person.
Whether you are viewing Kati and company’s delicate jewelry, Joseph and community’s vibrant baskets, George and the drum makers’ explosive drums, Dan and his apprentices’ beautiful metal work or Niendow’s moisturizing soaps, one distinctive thread binds all these gifted artisans together: Passion. This is by no means a coincidence. The people of Ghana exude a love of their heritage, their culture and their land that is clearly evident in their work.
Each has a story of how they were drawn to their craft. Yet, you will also note that each is driven by more than simply technical proficiency. A sense of responsibility for the greater Ghanaian community runs deeply in our fabricators’ lives and so, in most cases, the artists’ reward will be touched by more than the hands of one.
The pieces are certainly unique, but all bear this underlying warmth of the Ghanaian sense of community. Enjoy the stories, enjoy the pieces and open your home to the warmth of Ghana.
Regions We Work With
“There is great potential for the people to regain their ability to be prosperous – something which we are proud to be a part of at House of Talents.”
Ghana is a tropical West African country which borders the Atlantic Ocean. About the size of the American state of Oregon or the former West Germany, its national motto is “Akwaaba,” which means “Welcome.” Ghana does not have a specific famed attraction for visitors; however the laid-back atmosphere and friendly character of its people help make it a recent favorite destination for tourists – who have unofficially dubbed it “Africa for Beginners.”
Ghanaians are easily the most social people this author has ever had the pleasure to meet, and they love the art of conversation; especially when foreigners are involved. Ghanaians are proud of their culture and rich social lives, and do not see themselves as victims or even in many ways, as poor or desperate people. While they are prepared to forgive a foreigner for ignorance of local social rules, they do demand respect and a reasonable effort on the part of the visitor to engage with local people. That said, if there is any one trait common to all Ghanaians, it is the pure delight into which they will lapse if the foreigner demonstrates a genuine interest in their many ideas, opinions and aspirations. Acceptance of these personal ideals is not required or expected – in fact, reasonable dissent is encouraged. Visitors however must be prepared for hours of conversation with increasing numbers of interested Ghanaians, followed perhaps by an invitation to dinner. After one such conversation, a total stranger even invited me to his daughter’s wedding!
Materially speaking, Ghanaians find themselves strained. A succession of military governments in decades past has robbed the native people of the lives they deserve and has saddled the nation with foreign debt. The roads, schools, hospitals and electrical infrastructure all need improvement, and government services remain patchy. Even today there are not nearly enough jobs, or indeed enough money, to go around.
However, Ghana is a very stable, non-violent country, and Ghanaians are proud of the peaceful, clean elections they have conducted in accordance with their recently adopted constitutional democratic system of government. Ghana has been spared the conflict that has bedeviled other regions of Africa, and is blessed with good land, good rainfall, and abundant natural resources. Given the chance, Ghanaians are happy to work very hard to achieve their dreams. There is great potential for the people to regain their ability to be prosperous – something which we are proud to be a part of at House of Talents.