Sunday, January 29, 2012

|Oops! I tried posting this last but posted it as a comment by mistake(!)

We had a great week last week, despite having to work through getting our "Africa legs" under conditions that were very challening to us middle aged Canadians! The people we met wer unfailing cheerful and resourceful. We met a member at Nkawkaw Community Credit Union that I will never forget. His name is Seth. He told us his story of how he " had absolutely nothing" ( his words) and had been living in a small room in someone's house. After his wife died he wanted to remarry and his prospective wife encouraged him to try for something more. He heard about the credit union and with their help, he managed to save some money, received a loan to begin a copy shop business, and his bdauther wsa able to get a loan to begin a hairdresser shop.  Later he received a loan to buy a plot of land and build a house, one room at a time, as he could buy enough cement...bit by bit. The look of absolute joy on his face as he spoke of his " neat little house, with four or five good rooms" was like a mother gazing at her baby. My pictures are poor as he was sitting with his back to a bright window while he spoke and I did not want to destroy the moment of his story. There was a moment as I watched his face, that I will hold in my heart for the rest of my life.
Sunday evening, Jan 29. Today Craig, Quay Que (our driver) and I went on the Dodi Princess boat cruise up Lake Volta to Dodi Island and back. The trip up the lake was lovely, live band, drinks, food. The water was beautiful and we saw lots of fishing boats. They are like very long and narrow canoes. When we got to Dodi Island they gave us 20 minutes to walk on the island. It turned out to be very disturbing because the people from the nearby village come to thT part of the island when a boat is coming and all the tiny children follow you along the path, begging for money. They were all in need, but it was not possible to give because there are so many of them and they swarm anyone who takes their wallet out. What they need is a cooperative that sets up one donation bucket at the dock and then share it among the villagers. They had dancers and singers at the dock so all they needed was to organize themselves so people had a way to give. Trouble is there seemed to be no way to explain that to them. When I get home I am going to try to find out about their school and see if I can do so something. It made the trip back rather long and sad. The band launched into a 45 minute song that was rather like a Ghanaian dirge with a funky beat. It did not really improve the mood! We joked that it must be their version of 99 bottles of beer on the wall! When we got to the dock, a fellow we had asked to make us woven bracelets for our family and friends had managed to complete all but about 8 of the 43 we asked him to do. Basically he had to weave the names into the bracelets so I am sure his fingers were ready to fall off! He brought the rest to the hotel tonight...a very nice young man. Tomorrow we are off to Somanya for two days and then back to Accra. It is going very quickly now. We are looking forward to learning about Somanya Community Credit Union and hoping we can offer them something of value.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nana goes to Ghana

One more sleep! The team is ready, the bags are about to be repacked, we went out and ate piles of beef and salad (not possible in Africa so last chance!)

One day to lift off

Almost ready to go. Thinking about how we transform ideals into action, action into the seeds of change, seeds of change into ripples that grow beyond our own ideas and dreams to become the ideas and dreams of others to transform lives, communities, and countries.