In July, Combi Coffee (Melbourne, Australia) proprietors, Anthony Baker and Penny Loughnan, visited G-lish in Bolgatanga for a week. It was one of the best weeks we’ve ever had!
They have been selling baskets in their cafes for the past year, as well as supporting G-lish by donating tips from their cafes to support tree planting and Green Clubs activities, among others. Psst. We were quietly nervous about not having any coffee making facilities (except a tiny plunger) for our café owner visitors. But Anthony was up and making coffee—cup by cup—for all of us first thing each morning. It was a treat to have coffee made by an expert coffee maker!
Then he was out shooting photos with Penny or Godwin. He took off with Godwin on rounds in the villages and town and come back triumphant with about twenty new friends after each visit, promising to send the photos to us to hand out after they returned to Australia. Proof below!
Penny became enamoured with all the children and the people she met around the house and in the villages too. It was like two Aussie pied pipers out and around our home and town when Penny and Anthony went exploring.
One of the most valuable outcomes for G-lish was their feedback—right here. Since Penny and Anthony hear directly from their customers at the cafe, they passed those suggestions, as well as their own, on to us.
Penny suggested two new products based on this feedback. One was a long-handled bag that’s about half the size of our popular basket. We jumped in and tested the bag that week. This is a photo of Penny with Affii, a weaver, creating the very first “Penny” bag.
We visited the village where baskets are made a couple of times. It was the perfect time of year—height of the rainy season and crop growing—green, cool, lush.
Penny and Anthony explained that a lot more effort and work is involved in making these products than they ever imagined before coming to visit. It’s hard to convey the effort involved in words, and it felt rewarding to have this valued and understood by these wonderfully positive friends and customers.
At the end of the week, two Penny bags were ready and whizzed home to Melbourne to test on café customers. Very positive feedback so far. It was an honour to develop new products with a former fashion expert!
To all Combi Café customers: thank you for buying baskets and thank you for your ideas and contributions!
We received a huge box of over 200 photos last week from Anthony and Penny. They were laminated, labeled and categorized into the groups we had to distribute them to. It was our great pleasure, last week, to hand out the photos that Anthony promised to send.
Here are a few photos being received by the families around our home, and some of those we work with in the village as well. Also some from the boys who play soccer and the local motor mechanic fixing our old bike. See the original photo here and the photo immediately below! What a joy!
Making the journey to Ghana from Australia is tough. Making the journey from Accra to Bolga is almost tougher. Not many people do either. It truly was an honour to know them here and to share experiences with each other. Meeting them in person and sharing our home and work is one of the most rewarding experiences we’ve had on a personal and professional level.
On behalf of everyone here in Bolga, THANK YOU to Anthony and Penny for your great company, positivity, generosity and fun! We can’t wait to meet you again somewhere on this big old hunk of rock.