We’re here. We’ve always been here

This picture of Madame Hannah (right) and her daughter-in-law was taken in Bolgatanga in November 2019 when my friend, Betty Vandy (@bettyliciouscooks), my sparring partner, Seth Avusuglo (@barrist) and I travelled to the Upper East region of Ghana with the intention of meeting women farmers and learning about their lives, their joys and their challenges.

With the assistance of Abu, our tuk-tuk driver and translator, Hannah generously welcomed us onto her land and spoke to us about her life and her work. Surrounded by her fellow women farmers, she explained how she had been working the land since she was a child and, though she had made many sacrifices, it had served her and her family in terms of sustenance and in providing the financial resources needed to send her children to school.

We spent about three hours with the women – talking, laughing, and bonding despite the language barrier – and I knew then that the impact of this encounter would be lasting, even if I didn’t yet know how.

Susan, Hannah, and Anna | Bolgatanga, Ghana | November 2019

If I can pinpoint a genesis for African Women Are History!, then it would probably be here, with these women, in this place. Their humility and dignity in their service and contribution to their community’s and the country’s development with no recognition was a lesson in resilience. Whether we choose to see them or not, they are here. They’ve always been here. And now it’s time to hear them too.

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