The Ghana Tree

My journey to Ghana. An account of what I see, learn, feel, and experience. My Story and the Stories I come across.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chairman and Jewish Men

I apologize for the delay in posting anything about my village stay last week, so here is a brief recap of what took place. I was staying in Wovouguma this week which is the sister community to Wovougu and the “ma” indicates that it does not have a chief; the chief being in Wovougu. The two communities are close together and in addition to sharing a chief they also share a water source and primary school. I was excited to be back in a village after my early departure the week before.

Wovouguma would not be the idea reintroduction to village life. My three days there were occupied with a constant fight with the village chairman. He did absolutely nothing to aid me in my work and appeared completely uninterested in what I was doing. As a result the training and the week went horribly. By Wednesday I was completely worn down and nearly caused a riot as I left. After rescheduling training sessions and arguing with the chairman I finally just canceled the student training on the last day and left. I kind of felt like I was “getting out of Dodge.” I have completely adapted to “African time” while in the village and understand that my training will not be attended by everyone that it should but this week were past the norm. This was largely caused by the lack of work by the chairman, whose job it is to organize the community for RUSODEF activities. A combination of not caring and laziness resulted in horrible training sessions. This by far was the worse example of African apathy and entitlement I have experienced. First they placed little importance on the training but then when it was not delivered to them—at their convenience, when I left it was two hours after the training was suppose to start—they became upset. Before I left I did give the training to one boy who had always been on time and both days had rode his bicycle back and forth between the school and the community looking for students to attend.

While I was in a constant and frustrating battle with the chairman Sabrina and Sophi two Belgium volunteers were enjoying and learning about village life. Walisu had previously trained women in the villages to host visitors and I had extended this opportunity to the volunteers that I am friends with, and after several months in Tamale most are looking for a new experience. They spent one night and two days in the village shadowed the women in their host compound. They carried water on their heads from the dam, cleaned the compound and cooked, and went to the farm and harvested rice which in the course of doing received several blisters which were of great concern to all the villagers. They really enjoyed it I am going to try and expand this side of RUSODEF by word of mouth and by putting up flyers in the volunteer organizations in Tamale. The money that they paid went directly to the women they stayed with and is a huge help to them.

I am scrambling to get out the door this morning but want to give you a brief overview of my weekend trip. We returned to the Kintampo area that we visited several weeks ago. This trip was organized by one of the volunteer organizations and would include several stops as well as spending the Saturday night in a guest house. A TroTro was rented and we set out at 6am Saturday morning. The first stop was the town of Boyum which is set in an almost mountainous valley. Here we hiked to a rocky outcrop and to a very beautiful waterfall. After this we drove about an hour to our guest house. This was located at Operation Hand in Hand, a center for handicapped children.

This is an incredibly well run and nice organization and something that is desperately needed. It was set up in 1992 by a Dutch women and her American husband and while they no longer run they have built a house in the grounds and spend most of their time living there. I wish I could fill you in more on the organization but I am short on time—it is wonderfully well run. I do want to quick tell you about Bob. Bob is an eighty year old retired Jewish banker from Chicago who loves to sing Frank Sinatra songs and tell jokes. That is a good way to describe him but he is one of those people’s whose personality is so huge that it is impossible to do it justice with just words. When I returned from the village this week I will try to do a better recap of the weekends activities and post a few pictures, also I might make another trip down to Hand in Hand in February.

This week I return to Wovougu and hope that the early successes I had there previuolsy continue because after last week I need a good village stay. I will also be joined by the two American volunteers, Katie and Nikki, as they are coming out for a stay in the village and I hope they enjoy it as much as Sophi and Sabrina did.   

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