By Leah Plummer
Amidst a Ghanaian Christmas and festive week in general, we baked our first loaves of bread on the 28th. They were our “sample loaves,” so we just made a little (which was actually a lot!) of each type of bread we will bake (mostly tea bread, sugar bread, bran bread). The group started mixing ingredients in the early afternoon but had to wait until 4am to put them in the oven because the dough was not rising! At 4, about half the loaves had risen, but we baked everything and it all tasted great. We have some ideas about how to alter our next batch so it will rise better. The members shared the samples and brought some home to their families. Everyone is excited for our first commercial production on Wednesday!
Everyone was very tired on the 29th so we began the bakery inauguration on the 30th. On the night of the 30th, everyone came to the bakery to start cooking for the next day’s celebration of the bakery opening. After we finished cooking (Peanut soup, Light soup, and chicken stew), Antoinette’s friend the pastor led the group in prayer. They are all devout Christians (Christianity is the dominant religion in Southern Ghana) so they participated fully in the prayer. It was very unlike any sort of prayer I have experienced in the US. The pastor was very dynamic, yelling and then whispering, gesturing and sweating. Sprinkled throughout his words, we would call out songs and the group would all sing together. It was very powerful to be present at, but it was all conducted in Fante so I had a hard time following the details. The next afternoon, everyone came over to pound fufu (a popular food that’s eaten with soup or stew, made out of boiled cassava and plantains that are pounded a lot! you just swallow it, no chewing!) and then we had a party. Music, so much food, and “minerals” (soda). Everyone was smiling and laughing. I am really glad that this bakery is more than a business, it is a community of people who all care about each other and are excited to work together to make the bakery cooperative a success. More updates when we start baking!