Funny old thing souvenirs from holidays. I have many. From pebbles taken off a beach on our honeymoon, to fridge magnets from our weekend in Dublin to the thousands of photographs that fill up our stand alone storage disk. All of them are souvenirs of trips we have taken in the past. Mementos with which to remember the trip.
My whistle stop forty eight hours in Ghana in February didn’t give any opportunities for buying souvenirs. We didn’t get time to stop and shop, let alone see a shop with which to part with out crisp US Dollars.
The only time we did get to buy anything whilst there (other than in the airport where it was fridge magnets and the most revolting chocolate ever) was when we visited the slum.
I have blogged before about how the slum was far from how I imagined it to be. Yes it was a bit dirty. Okay a lot dirty. And a bit whiffy in places but on the whole it was vibrant, buzzing, full of life and, wait for it, inspirational.
Would you think that of somewhere like this? Doesnt exactly look inspirational, does it?
But this is where we met this lady, making her own hair products. In a tiny building where she lived with her family. Funded by a grant from Comic Relief initially but now earning enough to have repaid that loan and be supporting her family.
Hair products and batik printed material. She proudly showed us the stamps she had made and the material that she had then made:
Material that she sold for about £4. I grabbed the opportunity to buy some as it was the first time I had been able to buy anything. And knowing that Lady B, my mum in law, loved sewing I bought some for her as a souvenir of the trip.
A souvenir from a slum sounds like an odd thing doesnt it? But this seemed like the only way to get one and I am so pleased I did because the picture at the top arrived this morning. “A memory of Ghana” from my mum in law who had made a bag for me out of that very same piece of material.
A bag I will now treasure
And that will remind me that a slum is not necessarily the worst place to be in the world, but actually one of the most extraordinary places in the world.
And that actually, who needs fridge magnets when you have things like this?