"It’s a memoir I wrote for an Islamic fundamentalist who was branded an infidel and sentenced to life in prison in the Middle East."
- Jeff Benedict, Author
Over the past several years, my family and I have gotten to know Tito very well. This book is the culmination of my family working with Tito to document and capture his amazing life story in print. I personally believe Tito is one of the most extraordinary people living on the planet today. Also, Tito was a former Ayindisa artisan and used to make handmade greeting cards for Ayindisa. However, due to various health challenges and concerns for the safety of his life in Africa, he had to flee Ghana and was granted asylum here in the USA.
I encourage everyone to buy this book, read it, and support Tito so it can become a best seller… Tito’s life will greatly improve.
"The phone rang in the middle of the night and my dad rushed in asking me to help him with a medical emergency. The next thing I knew I was helping him carry some strange man into a hospital. The man could not walk and barely talk, his body was limp like a lump of clay. He looked so tired and frail. When I put him down on the hospital bed he smiled and warmly thanked me for helping him. As I listened to him speak to my dad and the medical staff I felt strongly impressed by his spirit and knew right away this was no ordinary person I had just met. After leaving the hospital my dad then told me a little about Tito’s life and my jaw dropped."
-Chris Gay, Ayindisa founder
Ayindisa Basket Weaving Shelter Breaks Ground in Ghana!
“Do you want us to dance and die?”
-Georgina Abongo, Ayindisa Basket Group Leader
I remember these words uttered to me in shear jubilation and joy when the weavers realized the reality that a basket weaving shelter would actually break ground in 2013. That time is now here and it sums up the expressions of joy and thanks as the shelter comes to life literally before the weavers eyes brick by brick each day.
Many of you already know that simply purchasing one of our fair trade products is an easy way to support the people or the producers who make them. However, we believe we can do more and should do more whenever we are able to better improve the lives of the talented and hardworking artisans we have personal and direct relationships with. So in this spirit we are very excited and proud to announce the groundbreaking of a brand new Ayindisa’s basket weaving shelter in the Northern part of Ghana in the village where our weavers live.
The Yarkibisi Ayindisa Basket Weaving Cooperative weavers are taking initiative by assisting the local masons and manual labor for construction has been utilized from within this community. So the shelter is a bit of a local boom for people within this community which is another reason to celebrate.
“Its great because in addition to the money the artisans are making weaving baskets they now are able to earn some extra, an additional wage helping build their own shelter, taking ownership and responsibility of this project. There is a lot of pride and everyone is happy including me because this took us five years to realize and now it is actually happening.”
-Chris Gay, Ayindisa Founder
This shelter will provide all 35 of Ayindisa’s original basket group members with a safe and secure meeting place where artisans will be protected from the elements so they can weave baskets, store materials and provide a central location to gather, train, teach and improve new basket styles. Ayindisa was able to construct this shelter after many years of saving a 10-15 percentage of each basket we sold. We used some of these proceeds also in 2011 to build a clean water drinking well in this weavers village which now has a flourishing garden attached to the well where the gray water is also be collected and used to grow fresh food for the community. The weavers have kept their promises and have maintained the well very well and now Ayindisa is keeping its promise of helping to build a shelter. Its fair trade in action and self reliance in action and a blessing all in one.
We would also like to thank our customers and all those that support Ayindisa and fair trade. So in the Spirit of fair trade month this October we hope everyone within the movement and those supportive of fair trade will do more to help those producing the goods we here in the US enjoy and purchase. Fair trade does really change lives. The proof is in these pictures.
Basket weavers and villagers taking a quick break to pose for this photo. Yarkibisi, Northern Ghana, 2013.