Notes from Anansi Director Kathryn Roe:
On Wednesday last Daniel and I traveled to Kumasi via bus to check out the accommodations for our Anansi Safari next September. It was a good trip. We found the Tumi Hostel to be all we had heard and more. The founder, a young woman from the Netherlands named Milou, was interesting, beautiful and most helpful. We now have the whole place booked for our passing through Kumasi both going to and coming from Mole Park. We won’t all fit in the hostel so we also checked out the hotel just next door where we can rent air conditioned rooms for our guests. That, too, is a most impressive place.
Kumasi street scenes
Meeting the young women who are taking sewing lessons at the Tumi Hostel was a highlight for me. They are girls whose lives are being changed by this program that is only one and one half years old. They are all so very happy about what they are learning and the prospect of a better future. Being there with them felt wonderful.
Women learning to sew at the Tumi Hostel
We, Daniel and I, then went to the Cultural Center where we bought things for the auction. Not only did we find small brass and silver items, but Daniel found a couple of nice paintings done by an interesting young Ghanaian man, Evans. This artist graduated from the University in Kumasi after working for some time as a waiter to earn money for school. He now has his own shop at the Cultural Center and spends a good deal of his time teaching others the skills of painting. I was also pleased that Daniel chose two paintings that are slightly abstract in nature as we have had long discussions at home about abstraction in paintings. I was unaware that he had learned to value anything that was not completely realistic. Another pleasant surprise for me.
Artist Evans, at the Cultural Center
While riding through the streets near the market in Kumasi, I thought about the good fortune of our Anansi students and those girls at the Tumi Hostel who were learning to sew. Life on the streets selling and carrying things on your head is a hard life which often ends early in pain. Years of carrying heavy loads on your head results in major damage to backs.
We are looking forward to the student competition and the Safari at Mole Park in September. We hope more of you friends of Anansi will decide to join us. I will be back in Bellingham in mid March when I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about the trip and help you plan your own personal journey to West Africa.