Saturday, January 22, 2011
I am now back home, I have been home for two weeks. It took me a few extra days to get home because of flight mixups and closed airports but I made it and went straight back to classes:) What an abrupt change! The Ghana trip went very well, I made it out to all of the villages and had successful meetings in all of them. The attendance of the women was remarkable and their participation was invaluable. It was so good to see all of the villagers again and they were so happy to see me. It meant so much for them to see me again. I had sent some pictures in the mail to Wa which were then distributed to the villages after my trip last time and some villagers brought these to the meetings to show me that they had received them. That made me so happy! Of course, they were all hospitable and even as I left villages, chickens were put in the back of the truck for me. What wonderful people. In Wa my friends all now feel like family, I am very comfortable in Wa and feel as though it is a second home. I am involved in both the christian and muslim communities and attended church while I was there and was also invited to a muslim conference which I also attended.
One of the most unexpected benefits of my trip were the discussions I became engaged in with adults after visiting a very sick patient at a hospital-we had some very interesting discussions about AIDS and hepatitis. It is not common to talk about such issues in Ghana therefore I was more than happy to be apart of these conversations and answer their questions to the best of my knowledge. I believe that awareness is the beginning to decease the incidence of devastating diseases such as AIDS.
Now, we will be working on the poultry and guinea fowl proposal to submit to CIDA. I hope all goes well and it will be accepted. We are proposing a train the trainer approach and improved management/housing/nutrition/care for the chickens and guinea fowl at the village level while establishing local contacts for them with their local extension officer. We hope to strengthen local bonds between MOFA (Minister of food and agriculture) while educating. As well, since our samples were denied access into Canada and they are waiting for us to process them in Accra, Ghana we would like to incorporate improved lab facilities and testing in Ghana, both in Accra and then in the Upper West. We believe that these aspects combined would be a sustainable start to alleviating the severe poverty in the Upper West Region.
Overall, great trip in all aspects. I still cannot stop saying what wonderful people I have met in this special region of Ghana and I hope to have a lifelong partnership with them.