Dave's EWB Placement

Monday, August 07, 2006


Niaswaga (how is your conversation? youre probably not talking to anyone, seeing as how you are at a computer, but Im just trying to keep the greetings fresh),

This one will be a little short. I dont have a ton to say but I am in the city so I thought I would let you all in on how things are going here in Ghana. I have finished up all of my big things for work and now I just have a few loose ends to tie up and I have to say goodbye. Everything went really well, with all of my workshops and meetings. There will be lots of pictures and stories about that when I come home. I was in tamale for the weekend for a workshop but decided to stay for an extra day. I am looking forward to coming home in a few weeks. I am not at all looking forward to saying goodbye to my host family though. It is funny but I was getting more and more excited to start heading home and to talk to all of you Canadians but as the days grow fewer in number I find myself dreading the day when I have to say goodbye to all of the wonderful people I've met. In the end though this has been a truely amazing experience from start to finish..... well almost finish. I have to run now though (tro tro will be leaving soon) so I am going to head out. You all will most likely hear from me in a week and a half time. Hope all is well with everyone.


Friday, July 21, 2006

Pictures this time

Well, I managed to sneak a ride to tamale for the day because they were having some maintainance done on the truck. I borrowed the laptop from work and hopefully I can get some pictures up on here. I finished my last workshop on wednesday this week, so now all I have left is one District Food Security Network meeting and some monitoring and evaluating left. I have full weeks left in my town and then I will make my way south to Accra to catch my flight. I am actually kind of sad to think about leaving, its different than leaving home because a lot of the people I have met I will never get a chance to see them again. I have met some pretty cool people here. On a completely unrelated note I got a drum last weekend (dont know if I mentioned that last time or not) so I will start up my lessons sometime next week. Other than that not a whole lot is new. I am getting so used to my routine here that I dont have a whole lot to write about (I also dont know where to start as far as the whole experience is concerned). It has been amazing thus far though.
Ok as for the pictures....... First one is Mole National park me with some elephants
second is me at work doing some surveying in the field. I would have added more but they took about 10 minutes each to post and I'm really not ready for that kind of commitment right now.

I think my time is running low here and I have to get the computer back to do some small small (<-- Ghanaian slang) work this afternoon. I have a cell phone here now so you EWBers can call me now and anyone at home is more than welcome to call. Its a loaner from a friend and has a broken screen so if you call and I dont answer call back cause I cant tell who it is. I think the country conde is 233 but check that out before you dial after that my number is 209327247. As always I love hearing from you guys so e mail me at dv886971@dal.ca and I will e mail you back as soon as I get it or you can make a comment on my blog regarding all the spelling mistakes and comma splices spread out all over this thing. In the meantime 'errbody should keep it real and Ill see you all in a month.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

So ...... here I am again

Tumayola (how is work? for those of you with your noses to the grindstone),

So since I last wrote on this thing I have done quite a bit. I am sitting here waiting for a tro tro in Tamale (bigger city), so I can go home to my village. I had a few hours to kill and really wanted to let you in on what I have been up to in the past couple weeks. Most of it is pretty well work related as this is the busiest time of the whole summer for me. I should start off with the work stuff..... so, I have now completed my first two workshops the first on adult learning, learning styles etc. and the second one about results based management. They both went pretty well and hopefully the third tomorrow will go well. I have been seeing some pretty amazing things as of late. We spent this past saturday at this place called fuller falls. we went for a swim (im not too sure if this was a great idea but whatever, I am not sick yet and it has been two full days). The falls were really tame and wide so you could climb up them. Everything else was really lush with ferns everywhere and moss growing on everything. At the bottom there were rock benches everywhere along the banks of the river/stream ...... pretty amazing Ill have to show you all the pictures maybe sometime in early August. It is really really hard to find a good internet cafe in this place, especially when you are only around them for a day or two at a time. Hope everyones summers are going well with work and whatever else it is that you might do to fill your time. Everything is going really well with my host family. I got a soccer ball for the kids this weekend. I have really realized how quickly these last few weeks here are going to go with how busy I am and everything. I am going to miss this place quite a bit when I come home. I dont have much more to say other than that but there should be a ton more in August when I come back. So I suppose I should head out now so I can catch the tro tro. Hope all is well in Canada


P.S. Dan Barker can you e mail me the address stuff for the house. thanks.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Is that kid still alive????

Tumayola (how is work in mampruli),

I try to teach you all some mampruli everytime I post. There will be a quiz in August (but which day??? who knows??). So its been a while since I've posted, but I am alive and well (as well as sub saharan Africa is allowing me to be). Well , I'll kick off the post with work related stuff....git' er' outta the way. So it has been a pretty busy time since I spoke to you all last. I just had my district food security network meeting yesterday. Basically there are a ton of NGO'g and GO's in the region all working on food and agriculture related things but the right hand seldom knows what the left is doing....... at all. So basically we are trying to revive this network that acts as a forum for all these organizations to meet. It was set up in 2001 but when CARE international (an organization that set it all up) pulled out of the district the whole thing fell apart somethin' fierce. The meeting was pretty interesting, not at all what you would expect from a meeting back in north america. The chairperson came and went at his leisure and it was on lawn chairs but we moved inside (for fanta and biscuits and the remainder of the meeting) when the sun was too much. pretty laid back ...... even by my standards. So, now that that is out of the way I will be moving along to my Agricultural extension agent workshops on results based management and adult learning in the next two weeks (I might have internet access for the next two weekends so if you want to chat with me write back (dv886971@dal.ca) and ill answer your e mails when im in town ... I love hearing from you guys short or long). So now with that work stuff out of the way Ill tell you what ive been up to in the meantime. Some of you who wrote to me and heard back a couple weeks ago know that I went to Mole Game Park. It was pretty amazing although it had a major saminga ("white man" in mampruli - which i answer to now more readily than dave or david) overtone. We got to go on a walk with Simone our guide (youre not allowed to go out in the park without an armed person), and saw Elephants, Waterbuck, Antelope, Crocodile, Wild Boar, Baboons (one attacked this girl chloe - but she's fine it just left some scratch marks when he was trying to grab some ass he didnt bite or anything), and red monkeys. The place had a pool with some murky water but that didnt bother me one bit. We enjoyed a nice star filled night and topped it off with a 4 dollar bottle of rhum. Other than that its been pretty much the same, I have kind of found a bit of a routine which is kind of nice. I dont want to sound homesick, because Im totally loving Ghana, but I cant wait to come home and share all my experiences with all of you guys (expecially you EWB ers who helped get me here), I have so many already I dont really know where to start. So I wont ill just save it for when I get home. I will be in town tomorrow too and maybe through the weekend so if you post a reply or want to e mail i will check before I leave town. Other than that all I have to say is Happy Canada Day in two hope you all find your own way to celebrate. well the time ticker is flashing red and that means its time for me to sign out here kids. Keep your sticks on the ice and dont forget to floss. Later


Friday, May 26, 2006

first ghanaian post!!!!

Niwuntanga (good afternoon)

I had some internet difficulties last time and couldnt post so this one will be a long one. Ill start from the top........ We all landed in Accra in the evening after a decent layover in amsterdam and went to the guest house ( like a hotel) to drop off our things and then it was off to the market. There I got my first blast of culture, there were tons of little stands that were selling all kinds of food. Everyone and their dog said hi and one man even tried to teach me how to count to ten in tri (with mixed results, though I am getting better with Mampruli , the local language in Gambaga). The next day it was off to Tamale....... well almost. After a 4 hour delay followed by a bus change because of a faulty "air system" we were off, only to arrive at 5 am. I slept sooo well that night, or morning??!?! the next morning we got to sleep in a little bit though, our meeting was at 10 am. we then got a chance to walk around Tamale for a bit and see some things. After our short bit in Tamale it was on a tro tro and off to Gambaga to meet my district. When I arrived, Alabama the office caretaker walked me from the station to the office. Its in the middle of a field punctuated with mud mortar huts with grass tops (as are most of the homes in the area). So far work has been slow going, but after talking to everyone else I'm pretty average. I have mostly been doing computer training and the such. I live about 6 miles away from work and ride my bike to work most days. The area is realy hilly and covered in trees. Now that the rains have come everything has become green. The ride back to Tamale (where I am now as im typing) was like a completely different experience than the ride 3 weeks ago. My family is awesome, I live with a man named Ben Awuni Asantanga, his wife and 5 kids (although two arent his). He is only 32 and has one of the most successful farms in the area and is a leader of his cooperative. I got a chance to get out and do some farming. We cleared about two acres of land (with hand hoes and machetes), and planted about two acres of maize and cassava elsewhere (his farmland seems to be spread out with a little here and a little there). He just got 600 baby fowls so we have a shed full of baby chicks that we light lanterns and stoves for every night. I have actually gotten my first chicken. He is completely white and pretty big. The chief gave him to me at about 6:15 in the morning (i was in my boxers). Im a little reluctant to give him a name though because I know im going to have to slaughter him when he gets big enough. I really want to send some pictures with the blog but i havent found an internet cafe that allows you to access something outside the computer (camera, jump drive, etc.). so hopefully I can get a chance to find one before the weekend is through here (im in tamale for the weekend for training .... did i mention that above???). Well my time is running out so i should be getting on my way but you should really leave me a message on my blog I would love to hear from all of you. If not you can e mail me at dv886971@dal.ca and i can get it whenever I get a chance to hit up the computers, which isnt all that often. Hope all is well in Canada.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sooooo..... this is it

Kind of an 11th hour post here but what the hell..............

So Im off to Ghana in just 4 short hours, kinda nervous but mostly excited. I'll be in the North Eastern region of Mamprusi in the village of Gambaga. I'll be working with the Ghanaian Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA ) in their district office. So thats the placement in a nutshell, as far as training is concerned.................. INTENSE is the only word to describe it. We (the MoFA'rians) started off the week with a lot of "self - realization" activities and workshops, then we did a ton of logistics to learn more about what it is we will be doing and how we will be helping out the Agricultural Extension Agents in our offices. Long days (12 hrs +) plus homework really stretched me mentally but at the end of the day it was a really really satisfying exhaustion. We all lived in the Akwaaba House (a small house where we packed about 26 people into about 3 bedrooms and air matresses everywhere), which made for a really close knit community. It was pretty amazing to be surrounded by a group of such dynamic people for an entire week. The people from the National office were incredible, I feel so ready to go over now ( i might have been a tad nervous before :) ). We will all be travelling to Amsterdam (too bad we get there at 6 in the morning), and then after a 6 hour layover we all hop onto a plane and head for Ghana. Once there, most of us will get on a bus and head for the central city Tamale where we will all disperse to our respective homes. I will be living alone (no other volunteers.... just me) with a farmer , his wife , and their children. I will most likely have to bike to work every morning (~15km's). I should probably get going though if I want to make the plane on time. Sorry if I didnt get a chance to e mail you before I left or if I didnt get a chance to see you before I shipped out (you know who you are ;) ). I wish you all the best and you'll hear from me soon


P.S. Thanks to everyone who helped me on my way!!!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Does this work?

So this'll be the first little blurb I post. Not actually in Africa yet but I wanted to get this thing up and running here in Canada, Stay posted for more!!