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Meet the Baba Tree Weavers

A few stories about the weavers of the Baba Tree Basket Company

We buy all of our baskets from the Baba Tree, founded by our treasured comrade in fair trade - Gregory MacCarthy. The weavers call him 'Ayinedollah'.

Greg is an 'economic migrant' who left Canada for Bolgatanga in northern Ghana in 2005. He's been there ever since, revolutionising the basket industry for the benefit of its community of weavers.

Here are a few of the master weavers who make the Baba Tree such a special place, along with some personal tributes from Greg.

We adore you all.

Weavers' portraits and text © Baba Tree Basket Co. Used with permission.

Akolpoka Abisika : Weaver and teacher. 15 years at the Baba Tree 

'Baba Tree has provided shelter for me to be able to concentrate and weave my basket without disturbance. Baba Tree - I will call it a place off happiness. I have learned so many new designs and also help my young and new weavers to learn how to weave the new designs to make the company stand tall.'

Greg MacCarthy writes: Such warmth emits from this woman. Day in and day out, we find her in the compound quietly leading the way for the younger weavers. As is the norm for this area, she has an easy laugh and shows such dedication. An alumnus of our trip to the National Institute of Design in India. Akolpoka is married with three children and lives in the village of Winkongo.

Akolpoka Abisika is one of the Baba Tree's finest and friendliest weavers

'Smiling John' Akurugo : Weaver and teacher. 20 years at the Baba Tree

'The peaceful environment and love shown to me by Ayinedollah gives me motivation. It is important for me to help the Baba Tree develop and grow. Baba Tree has and is here to help and support us.'

Greg MacCarthy writes: I first met John 20 years ago when we were young men. He was a member of one of the weaving groups on the village of Gambibgo. When John travelled with the Baba Tree to the National Institute of Design in India he helped develop our signature wave technique, which has revolutionised the industry in Bolgatanga. John smiles a lot and likes to watch me play air guitar. He's married with five children.

John Akurugu: ever patient, ever smiling, master weaver

Aniamah Akugre : Weaver and teacher. 20 years at the Baba Tree

'He help me in paying my child school fees and my medical expenses. The quality of basket and the high process I like.'

Greg MacCarthy writes: Deaf as a post and tough as nails, Aniamah is one of the finest weavers in Bolgatanga. Renowned for the weight of her baskets owing to the tight weave of her work, Aniamah’s baskets stood out when I bought one in the market place 20 years ago. Finding her basket began an odyssey which had me going from village to village on my bicycle looking for the weaver of this extraordinary basket. We found each other… Simply put, Aniamah is a wonderful human being. She is a single mother with one child.

Aniamah Akugre brings light and joy to the Baba Tree compound

Akabare 'The Chairman' Abentara : Weaver, teacher and leader. 20 years at the Baba Tree

'The level in which Baba Tree have lifted basket weaving, the financial support and the medical support…school fees support... the price of basket is very good as compared to the open market. I have the opportunity to go to India and also being able to organise my people well not to disappoint the company and the weavers also help me as a chairman.'

Greg MacCarthy writes: Akabare was one of the first weavers I met when I found Gambigo, a village held in high esteem for its weaving. The Abentara house is renowned for the quality of its baskets. We’ve been through a lot together. From the time that my first assistant stole all of our money to the time when I was arrested at the business end of a half dozen AK-47s courtesy of other players in the industry who didn’t want us to travel to India, Akabare and I have been through it together. The stress that we endured prior to our departure was more than palpable. It turned out to be a feel good movie for all of us in the end. We triumphed. Akabare is a colour master. He has this ability of combining the most unlikely colours and making them sing. There is a Zen quality about his weaving…it’s effortless for the man. He is very much a leader among The Baba Tree weavers. He will dance the odd time, too. Akabare has seven children.

Master weaver Akabare Abentara: his nickname 'The Chairman' says it all
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