Empowered to Make These Sandals  

In Elizabeth’s final report from Ghana, she takes us through the process of making Mawu Lolo sandals in a rural village school building. Elizabeth meets Stephen, a father of three and shoemaker who is teaching sewing students to make the shoes. She also meets Bright, a 27 year old young man who supports himself and his grandmother by weaving the traditional African kente cloth that’s used on the sandals.

Rediscover Themselves  

In Elizabeth’s second report from West Africa, she shows us how learning a skill can be the difference between living in extreme poverty and running a small business in rural Ghana. We meet Emma, a young woman who grew up in a tiny village with no running water or electricity but attended the GlobeServe Vocational School and learned to sew. Emma now teaches other students her trade and makes dresses and accessories to sell, including a custom made dress for Elizabeth. We also visit a village similar to the one Emma grew up in to make a classic Okra Soup and attend a church service that’s like a Sunday morning party!

The Sky’s the Limit  

In Elizabeth’s first report from Ghana, she takes us to a celebration at a school for children in rural Ghana as they commemorate the construction of a brand new building that will increase enrollment from 400 to 900 students. But getting girls to school every day takes more than a bus or a building. Elizabeth learns how building wells in villages gets girls into the classroom and why Pastor Sam Dunya believes educating the African girl is the key to overcoming poverty.

Four flights, four time zones, jet lag, multiple vaccinations, malaria prevention, a visa, countless passport checks, a power outage, very few bathrooms, unusable tap water and some inevitable tummy troubles.

All that for a pair of sandals?

Well, these aren’t your run of the mill flip flops.

These sandals are part of a bigger mission to change thousands of lives. And the first step was taken more than 20 years ago.

In this special series of stories airing only on Twin Cities Live and 5 Eyewitness News, I’ll take you on a more than six thousand mile journey to West Africa, to find out how a chance meeting between a super successful Twin Cities businessman and a Ghanaian pastor with a big vision turned into an amazing effort to bring faith, education, clean water and employment to an area of Ghana where nearly 40 percent of people are living in extreme poverty.

Their latest venture? A line of sandals being sold right here in the Twin Cities called “Mawu Lolo,” meaning, “God is Great.”

The sandals feature traditional African kente cloth that is woven by artisans. Local shoemakers make each pair of sandals by hand and proceeds from sales are going right back into this community.

In Minnesota + Ghana: A Sole Connection, I’ll introduce you to the two men whose unlikely friendship is at the core of this mission and show you why they believe that investing in African girls is the key to overcoming poverty.

Come with me.

- Elizabeth Ries


To buy sandals, visit one of these retailers: Mawu Lolo Wild Ruffle Flaunt Accessories Happy Shoe Day


For more on Pastor Sam and Mrs. Jonhild Dunya’s GlobeServe Ministry, click here:

Globe Serve