When in Ghana….

I totally slept threw my first alarm and was thankful I set a second since we, the volunteers, were meeting for breakfast in the common area before we started our training, met our partners and visited the WUSC offices.  

Today, we had the pleasure of meeting the people we will be working with on our mandate and talk about what we might like to accomplish during our time here.  Millicent from Pamoja Ghana is a very nice woman whom I expect I will learn a lot from.  She shared information about Pamoja Ghana and their work in the non-formal education sector, specifically related to literacy and the work they do in the various regions through their projects.  Like all non profit organizations, they are continually seeking funding, for core costs and for projects on the ground. 

While Pamoja Ghana is at work in the non-formal education sector, what I discovered during our brief conversation is that we face many of the same challenges when it comes to meeting the basic education needs of adult learners and others.  Similarly, I shared with her my desire to learn more about the REFLECT approach that they use since it sounds conceptually similar to appreciative inquiry.  I will start with them on Thursday and can hardly wait to learn more.

For lunch, we ate together and I tried my first Ghanaian dish – Banku.  Banku is made of Maize and Cassava.  It looks a dough ball and is tastey but heavy.  I ate a small portion and felt full and was told that it expands in your stomach once you eat it! The bankyu was served with tilapia and sauces.  They made a special not-so-hot sauce for the Canadians (midase!) since Ghanaian food is very spicy.  The Ghanaians wash their hands and then eat with their fingers (of the right hand).  So, when in Ghana, do as the Ghanaians!  …pick some banku, dip in sauce, and pick up the fish…or something like that!  The banku was very tasty and enjoyable so I expect to eat it again, although I will have to ask for a small portion since portion sizes here are very, very large.  And, of course, the not-so-hot sauce made especially for Canadians!

The Pamoja Ghana office will be a TroTro ride away from where I am staying.  The Suma Court Hotel on Atomic Road in Haatso is perfect.  Family owned and operated with friendly staff who cater to your needs, with self contained rooms (i.e. private bath) and air conditioning in the rooms (not the common areas).  Now, don’t go to Google maps and enter Suma Court on Atomic Road in Haatso and expect to find it, although doing so will lead you in the right direction (as Google maps links addresses in their system to those words).  On a map Atomic Road is not called Atomic Road, it is called Westland Boulevard, which may seem confusing until you realize it is OK since…as we learned in our training today…the roads may have names but no one knows what they are anyway. HaHa!  People use landmarks for direction and so, this is Atomic Road because it is the road that leads to the Atomic Energy plant….seems easier to remember than “Westland Boulevard” anyway.

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