After 18 hours of travel, with a brief 3 hour stopover in New York, I arrived in Accra, the capital of Ghana. Clearing customs, I walked out of the airport ready to embrace all that Ghana had to offer. I quickly located Erinn Ransom, professor of Africana Studies at Ashesi University, and the journey began.
It didn't really hit me until I arrived what a profound adventure I had embarked upon. Since I purchase pure, unrefined shea butter and cocoa butter from Ghana for my products, it seemed only fitting that I would travel there to purchase the items directly from the vendors. It was my goal from the very beginning to try to establish fair trade relationships with co-ops there and I must be honest, the issue regarding fair trade is much more serious than I thought. This is especially true once I began to do more research not just into the benefits derived from using Shea butter but how much of a presence this precious commodity has on the global cosmetic and food industry. And even now that I am back home in the States, I realize that even more research will be necessary before a fair trade relationship can be established. However, my trip has encouraged me to continue on, and I have been successful in reaching one cooperative in central Togo with whom I hope to do business with soon.
Accra is a bustling city of entrepreneurs, and there are both business owners and street vendors everywhere. I had several opportunities during my stay to visit with business owners who were very impressed with AfroVeda's product line, as well as the natural, Ayurvedic hair care system we have established. As a result of those meetings, AfroVeda is in the process of establishing its presence in Accra and in the Cape Coast region of Ghana.