The Amina Bag
To be resilient is to beat the odds in my opinion, so when I heard of Amina, a new born who was shot in the leg three times when she was only two days old, I cried. As a mother, I feel every pain my daughter endures; vaccination needles, falls, separation anxiety, even trivial pain such as getting her hair done. I feel every bit of her pain.
16 mothers were killed by the 3 armed men who attacked a maternity ward in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. These mothers, after months of the joy of pregnancy and having just endured the pain of labor will no longer see their babies grow. Amina’s mother was one of them. It’s unthinkable why any group will choose to attack a hospital let alone a labor ward; the very essence of our future and hope.
Doctors didn’t think Amina will make it and said even if she survives, she wouldn’t be able to walk. But she survived and at 5 months, could stand. I’m deeply touched and inspired by her story. She is a true fighter.
When these leather bags were being made, the Northern region of Ghana was experiencing severe rains that caused flooding to a point where the main reservoirs were at risk of getting contaminated with flood water. Craftsmen, especially leather workers rely heavily on sunshine and the absence of it was a major challenge for them. Despite all the challenges they faced, they were able to overcome the setbacks through sheer resilience.
These beautiful leather bags beat the odds and made it all the way to NYC. The artists did not give up, they resiled every challenge and overcame.
It’s easy to give up when all available options seem bleak. I have often dreamed of helping to eradicate poverty in affected communities. The northern region of Ghana, a beautiful part of the country with its uniqueness is sometimes viewed as an area with few opportunities for the youth. This has led to large number of migration from the North to the South. The living conditions of some of these migrants in the South is another story to be told on another blog.
The dream never goes away; to create a bigger market eventually leading to more disposal income for artist especially in these regions. I want the youth to stay with their families and be gainfully employed to support themselves as well as have pride in what they do. Most are thrilled to learn their crafted bags and smocks will be sold in America. It’s a joy on both sides, I know I’m on the right path to change. No more sitting on the sidelines, it’s clear government can’t do it all.
These pearls of Afrikka bags, my favorite of the new collection had to be named after Amina because they are beautiful and resilient and just like the artist who crafted them, they overcame the odds.