Dave's EWB Placement

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.

DAVE

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

DAVE

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