VWB/VSF Student Project: Ghana

Monday, July 19, 2010

Steve and his new friend

Village Meeting

Just a normal day in the village with the friendly villagers and their birds:)

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Peaceful Ghanians

How the time has flown...it is sad...my time in Ghana is quickly coming to an end! I already know how much I miss this place and how I want to return:)
This Upper West region is very special, the people and the villagers are unique. They are honest, accepting, non-judgemental, peaceful and accepting. I have not yet heard a Ghanian say that someone "should" be a certain way other than what they are, they are accepted for who they are. As well, Ghanians seem to have been born with excellent conflict resolution skills, I still have not figured out exactly how they do it but I am trying to learn:)
As for the project we are wrapping things up. The next bit will consist of trying to get the local vet representative out to the villages to vaccinate. Some of the villages have never met their representative so this is quite significant. Steve and I will both go to our chosen village and stay for a few days so that we can truly experience villlage life.
We have just returned from a trip to Kumasi, the commercial capital and it made me so happy to come back to Wa:)
I must go and tether my goats (I have 5 now) and feed my chickens and guinea fowl:) Of course, it is sunny and gorgeous outside and the watchman for my place is sowing peanuts by hand (ground nuts here) outside my window.
Until next time....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

African Life

Stopped to buy charcoal by the side of the road and the kids did not mind if i took a picture.

Plowing in Africa

A common sight in the villages, either using oxen to plow or doing it by hand under the hot African sun.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Adventurs in Paga


July 10th, 2010 is a day I may never forget. We drove out to Paga, a town in northern Ghana that borders Burkina Faso. The town is known for its sacred crocodile ponds that claim to have tame crocs. They believe in this so faithfully that their attraction is to entice a croc out of the water and then allow visitors to sit on top of it. This is exactly what we did - and got some great pictures and video to document it all. The second main attraction of Paga is the slave camps. This village served as a middle point for slaves captured from the northern region that would be later shipped down to the coast for oversea transport. A guide took us around the camp and showed us where they were shackled, fed, punished and sometimes buried. Locals performed ritual drumming on the rocks - the only source of entertainment and celebration for the slaves. It was difficult to see but important to remember the low points of humanity.

Our efforts to cross the border into Burkina Faso on the drive back were spoiled by the high costs of a visa. It was still exciting to see a small part of the neighboring country and speak a small bit of french with some locals. To say the roads from Wa to Paga are bad is an understatement. On the way back home I hit a very large pot hole which blew both of the drivers side tires. Fortunately no one was harmed, but we were left in a predicament. We were still about an hour outside of Wa just outside a small village called Sabuli. With no CAA to call we were at the mercy of strangers. Luckily we are in Ghana where people are always more than willing to help. In minutes there were 20 people around helping us. With help we managed to jack up the car with stones and remove both tires. We waited until a friend we contacted in Wa was able to pick us up. To our surprise he was able to track down two spare tires. About 5 hours later we made it back to Wa safe and sound. I am truly grateful to all the individuals who went out of their way to help people they just met.

It is now my final week in Wa. There are lots of loose strings to wrap up, including preparing the samples to come back to Canada. This week we will also be traveling to Kumasi with the regional director of veterinary services to visit a guinea fowl production system. After that I will be saying good bye to all the friends I have made here. I will then have a couple weeks to see the country and then back home to Canada. Time is getting very short and I am amazed at how fast it has gone.

All the best,


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lengthy Update


Please excuse the long delay between posts, long days at work followed by festivities surrounding the world cup and weekend excursions have kept me busy. There is also the matter of a varying internet connection. In regards to the project, everything is running smoothly as we are starting to see how it may develop in the future. As this is a pilot project our main goal is to get an idea of how it can expand. We need to take into consideration the goals of VWB, the needs and wants of the villagers as well as the feasibility of it all. This past week has been spent having general meetings with the villagers to figure out exactly that. We presented them with different ideas on how to improve their guinea fowl production and we then get their input on what they think may work and what not. Besides identification and treatment of disease their main wishes are to improve the housing and feeding of their guinea fowl.

The farmers are very willing to work with us and upon every visit I am informed upon the importance of guinea fowl to them and their families. Guinea Fowl is a type of insurance for a family. When difficult times come, such as illness, school fees, holidays, the bird is sold in order to pay. Improving their facilities and means to rear goes far beyond helping the animals; the significance of poultry is tied in with the success of the entire village. It has been very exciting to be a part of this project. It has given me a whole new appreciation into the work involved with sustainable development. I am very hopefully this project will continue on in the future as the well being of the people is strongly linked to the well being of the birds. It will be some time until we are capable of determining the cause of deaths. Samples will need to be shipped to Canada for proper analysis. I am hoping that we are able to determine the cause and recommend proper treatment or vaccination.

In other news I have been really enjoying following the World Cup. The Black Stars have been doing tremendously well, clinching a spot in the Quarter Finals, representing the whole of Africa. I was quick to dawn a Black Stars jersey which always enthuses the locals. We have made weekend trips to the Kintampo Waterfalls and Mole National park. Both were incredible and highly recommended to any travelling Ghana. We were able to stand 20m from wild African elephants, something I will never forget. We have also been inserting ourselves into the culture. We had the opportunity to attend a local funeral; a 3-day outdoor event filled with mourning and celebration. The end of the funeral was celebrated with cultural displays where I had the opportunity to dance and play drums in front of 300 people. I am now known as the dancing/drumming white man in the village of Charia. I hope to spend a couple days in this village before leaving as they have been very welcoming.

I regret not keeping up with my posts as I know I am forgetting more stories. I also wish the internet speed was quicker so I could post video and pictures. Please keep reading as I will better document my last two weeks in Wa. After that I will have some time to travel Ghana where I hope to visit the famous Cape Coast and also try some surfing on Busua Beach. I hope everyone back home is enjoying the summer. I encourage you all to cheer on the Black Stars tomorrow evening as they take on Uruguay. I have also adopted a puppy from a village which who had lost its mother and was struggling. I am working to nurse it back to health and if all goes well he may be following me back to Canada!

All the best,