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PAMBE Ghana store to open again in OKC for holiday season

Photo provided
Alice Iddi-Gubbels.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – It has been said that residents of Uptown New Orleans know that the holiday season has arrived when Christmas wreaths begin to appear on the fronts of the streetcars that make their way up and down St. Charles Avenue in that neighborhood.

One of the indicia of the arrival of the holidays in Oklahoma City is the presence of foreign art objects from various parts of the world in the window of a usually unoccupied store front located at 6516 N. Olie Avenue off of 63rd Street.

In recent years that window has displayed small wooden giraffes, metallic flowers made of discarded African coke cans, and other folk art items.

That location serves as the place where the PAMBE Ghana organization hosts its annual store where it sells works of art from throughout the world that have been made in accordance with the Fair Trade guidelines.

Those guidelines have been adopted by the Fair Trade Federation that ensure that the artists involved have been adequately compensated for their work and have been given the opportunity to learn new artistic techniques.

PAMBE Ghana is an Oklahoma nonprofit entity that raises funds to support the L’Angum Learning Center in northern Ghana that was founded by Ghana native and Oklahoma City University graduate Alice Iddi-Gubbels that provides education to children in that location.

The store will be operated by volunteers and all proceeds from sales will go to the L’Angum Learning Center.   

The grand opening will take place this year from 6-8 p.m. on Nov. 13. Iddi-Gubbels will be in attendance and will make a presentation highlighting what her school has achieved over the past 12 months.

In recent years the opening has been a festive event, with attendees sipping wine and nibbling on cheese and crackers as they look at the art that is available with great friends and new acquaintances. 

The items that have been purchased there in previous years are now in homes and offices throughout Oklahoma.   

Last year, musical entertainment was provided by a teenage musician, Clem Braden, and he will be performing again this year.

The store will be open from noon until 6 p.m. from Nov. 5 until Dec. 23 Tuesdays through Saturdays.

According to PAMBE Ghana volunteer and board member, Jane Wheeler, this year the art for sale will include items from Guatemala, Haiti, Peru, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Indi, and Nepal.

There will be a special emphasis on items made by Nepali artists as a result of the earthquake that took place there several months ago.

Wheeler, who formerly served as Chief of the Consumer Protection Division of the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, and several other members of the PAMBE Ghana Board made a trip to Ghana earlier this year where they saw firsthand the good work that is being done by the L’Angum Learning Center and she reports that that experience has strengthened her commitment to the center’s cause.

She also said that she looks forward to discussing her experiences in Ghana with those who come to the store.

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Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien is an attorney based in Oklahoma City.

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