It’s over. My 3 weeks working in Kumasi, Ghana.
We had a long weekend visiting Mole National Park. Apart from that, and a few trips to the local spot at the end of the working day, we didn’t have much leisure time.
That feeling of “no escape” was heightened by all 6 of us Scots living together in a house in Kwadoso Estates. In some ways that helped with the work we had to do. In others it was less positive. 3 weeks is a long time when you can’t get a decent night’s sleep.
First, the locals we dealt with were all delightful. A breath of fresh air.
Next, I enjoyed working with my 3 clients. Very different people with very different businesses – a fish farm, a water distribution operation and a kente weaving business.
I enjoyed learning about local culture, both generally and in business. To take one little example, being a Rotary International project we visited two of the city’s Rotary clubs. The way they run their meetings could hardly be less like the rather formal and old fashioned approach of most Scottish ones.
The Mole trip gave us the chance to see the north of the country – a different tribe, language and religion as well as a different landscape. We saw some wildlife very close up – baboons, warthogs and bushbuck all wandered around the hotel gardens.
I don’t know why, but it did come as a shock to see people living in mud huts. I’ve been to Africa before. Maybe it’s because we were interacting with them and not just ogling as we passed by in a car.
I enjoyed lots of things about the local food – guinea fowl with jollof rice and red red were two I liked a lot. In Scotland we joke about people wanting chips (French fries) with everything. In Ghana it’s plantain with everything.
The team is due to return to Ghana in March. The jury’s out on that in my case. I was unhappy about some of the organisational arrangements – our deathtrap minibus, for example, which broke down 3 times and which had to be pushed twice.
I’m happy to give up a few creature comforts, some income and some time to benefit the cause, but at the age of 62 I don’t expect to have to push a minibus down a busy African highway in the heat of the day because it won’t start.
© iain taylor 2015