I’ve now spent 4 nights in Ghana – one in a hotel in Accra and 3 in our project house in Kumasi.
I have asked myself “why” a few times recently.
Why have I asked that question? Here’s a few reasons.
Power cuts are regular. It was from 6am until mid evening yesterday. Today it has gone down twice, so far – it will be lunchtime soon (I hope – smells good).
We have a generator, so basic functions can continue.
We are all aware of how power cuts affect IT systems. We have 2 wifi routers in the house. They are no use (even if we have electricity in the house) if the places hosting the servers are down.
We have dongles to access the internet via the mobile phone network. That seems to work well. Good old Vodafone Ghana. (Did I really write that about Vodafone?)
Traffic in Kumasi is a disaster. We can easily be at a standstill for 15-20 minutes. Much of it is commercial – minibuses and shared taxis. Like the power cuts, it is a significant problem for businesses.
The house doesn’t have air conditioning – just ceiling fans. So far I have slept well anyway.
Malaria is a danger here, so my bed is draped in netting. It has been a while since I slept naked under a mossie net.
During the days we are hot and sweaty most of the time. It’s a matter of accepting the fact, and slowing down a bit – and staying hydrated, of course. The temperature is high 20s at midday (the sun really burns fast this close to the Equator) and drops as low as 22˚c at night. Kinda sticky…
So that’s the “why”.
The purpose of it all?
I’m there on a voluntary project as part of a team. Six of us have come over from Scotland and the team has a number of local members too – Isaac who drives the minibus. Kwame who helps us get where we need to go (in more ways than one). Maxwell is a general “fixer” who (for example) gets Isaac out of jail after being arrested for not paying a bribe. They are just a few…
We are here to mentor a number of local SMEs (small or medium sized enterprises) to help them get better established and/or expand. My clients are a fish/rabbit farming business, a textile enterprise weaving cloth in local patterns and a fresh water bottling business.
Actually, they sell it in little sealed plastic bags, but “water bagging business” reads a bit strangely.
© iain taylor 2015