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Ghana Gazette, 7th July 2001

Hi everyone, we've now been in Ghana for 5 days and of course it is an amazing experience. It's wonderful to be here with a job to do and people to meet. We feel so privileged to be invited into the women's homes to see where they smoke their fish and sell their produce. Most of them live in mud and thatch huts - the projects we are visiting aim to reach the poorest of the poor.

We've been surprised and delighted by what natural performers many of the women are - always willing to grab a friend or child to play customer for the camera. We've been in tears laughing with some of them - the woman passing by with a tray of eggs on her head who started to jiggle her hips and do a little dance; the girl who couldn't carry the basket her mother couldn't stop filling when pretending to make a sale; everyone whose face bursts into a smile when I turn the screen round on the camera and they see themselves in the tiny frame. It's wonderful to be able to connect and laugh in that girly giggly way despite the cultural differences and language barriers.

And I feel so moved by their stories - of how they've used these micro loans to buy equipment and stock - to expand their businesses and ideas. First and foremost they want to give their children an education - for them to be able to choose what they want to do in life. But they're also finding that they have choices too: the safety net of having savings and loans is giving them the confidence to try different things. For Yesutor, a fishmonger and one of the first women we interviewed, a loan has meant that she can start growing and selling vegetables to give herself an income outside the fishing season.

Now for the tourist bit...weather is hot and humid with outbreaks of refreshing rain. Hotels are either very cheap or very expensive. We've sampled a selection - the
comfortable business class hotel for £50 with fabulous air conditioning and pool; the backpackers guesthouse for £3.50 where you have to bring your own sheet and there's communal cold showers; and, best of all, Hans Cottage Botel for £25 where the restaurant is on stilts in a lagoon and you can watch crocodiles swim by!

The food is wonderful: hot, spicy and always freshly prepared. A main meal costs about £2 and icecold beer is 40p. The currency is cedis and there are around 10,000 to the pound.

Right, that's it for this week. Do send us emails or text messages to the mobile 07713246613. On Friday we got two text messages with the same title within seconds of one another: "Amma's out!"

Feel free to forward this e-mail to people who'd like to read it. For more information about the project and why we are here, go to www.circlingtheline.org.uk

Until next week.....










On The Line was founded by Oxfam GB, Channel 4 and WWF-UK and is registered charity, number 1073841

For more Ghana Gazettes click below
Ghana Gazette 14th July
Ghana Gazette 21st July