Working_in_Ghana_with_ MOFA

Monday, July 10, 2006

THE AFRICAN SUN

One fine morning, around 2 weeks ago, I walked out of the compound on my way to work. The sky was a beautiful misty yellow, I stopped and took a minute to breathe in the air and enjoy the moment. As I turned my head, to get a full panoramic view, there it was…the sun was gazing at me from behind a hazy curtain. I was mesmerized by the fact that I could look directly at it without a flinch of the eye: it was sitting there, waiting to soon entrench us with its vital, potent rays bringing us another new day, bringing us life. MMMmmmm…it feels like finally my eyes are open. I am in Ghana…I am in Ghana, and it is beautiful. Finally, I feel that I have let myself be welcomed…I am not as tough skinned and catch myself doing things that I wouldn’t dare have done upon my first arrival.

For instance, when I dropped my frozen yogurt bag on the ground while trying to pay for my bananas, in Wa (which to my unpleasant surprise, turned out being plantain…hahah), I picked the bag up, wiped it with my sweatie hanky and continued on sucking out the sweet indulgence….

For instance, street meat is now my treat…as long as they don’t give me liver, fat, skin or intestine…I am a very happy camper!

For instance, using a public toilet…well lets just say I would have been utterly disgusted upon first arrival, however, with my new found inner peace, I managed to make the situation seem more mentally tolerable. Squatting over a dingy, foul hole in the ground that was full of everything you don’t want to see (including hundreds of maggots and flies whom were fully enjoying their feast), having absolutely no privacy if someone else were to have entered, is definitely an experience I am glad to have had after realizing my new inner peace. Lesson learned though: when you gotta go, just cop a squat in the bush!

For instance, when I now hear “Kubruni, how are you? I am fine, Thankyou!”, I quickly turn to find the little culprit guilty of yelling this ever irritating conglomeration of words, to say: Mon ke terray GG (My name is GG), Fu ke terray? (What is your name?) Surprisingly, it works well…I have more children yelling my name from afar, rather than cringing at the former.

Sister Allison and I are taking time to entertain ourselves, on the weekends of course. We have made enchiladas together one Friday evening, having some of our Ghanaian friends help in preparation and consumption…digesting later to the pounding of Sister’s drums. We have taken a Saturday afternoon to begin her nursery of a variety of vegetables, herbs and wild flowers…it was so relaxing and enjoyable. Some children came around to help us…it has been the first time that the little ones have not made me want to crawl out of my skin (very harsh, yes I know: exaggerating just a little)…they were actually very enjoyable to have around, and very helpful as well. AHHHH, a new view on children has further made me appreciate my new inner peace.

As for work, these past two weeks have been all about the first two workshops that took place last Wednesday and Thursday. I was exhausted on the Friday, however so relieved with how well they actually turned out being. The AEAs seemed to have learnt a lot; they are also very critical of one another’s work, but sometimes for less important reasons like spelling, grammar… Regardless, I think I hit home with RBM: we will see how well the reports are written in the next month. I do however believe that they should be refreshed with this information on a regular basis…as like the telephone game you play in elementary school: as time goes on the message gets distorted at the end of the line…must make sure the message is passed correctly.

Now my focus in the office will be to plan the last workshop (going to the EWB workshop in Tamale this weekend will be very helpful in that), to aid in preparation of the second DFSN meeting (with the task force team elected at the first meeting), to visit the field with some AEAs (not too much time foreseen for this: not very good) and lastly, to work with MIS in creating algorithms and using new functions in excel to create and reproduce programs that will be helpful in making their time in the office, and on the computer, more efficient.

As for this weekend…I am really looking forward to Tamale (and the fact that I will be getting a ride to and fro with Director in the truck: YAY, no stuffy uncomfortable, smoke filled, stopping every 15 minute, 8 hour TaTa ride), to of course see all of the wonderful JF’s, but to also enjoy a little slice of western cuisine (aka PIZZA at SWAB Fast food)… I am not craving it as much as I did around 3 weeks ago in my “low time”, but let me tell you who will be in shear Nirvana…me me me me me!!!

The weather here is a little cooler these past few days, but we need the rain to come…the farmers’ fields will not be prosperous without some precipitation…soon! Some AEAs have cancelled their farmer trainings because of the lack of rain…not cool! Anyhow, again constraints to food security that is somewhat beyond our control (possible solution: Treadle pumps in areas where there is a water source or shallow water table)!


Time to go back to work…

Tonight I will once again be reminded of where I am on this small, resilient planet; I will stare at the moon, whose face is now cocked tightly to the left as though sleeping on a pillow of dark velvet, to think that maybe someone I love back home may be doing the same thing.

Lots of love to all my family and friends…we will see you all soon.

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