Published: October 10th 2008October 10th 2008
even the dog was bored
how not to start a meeting
Although the last few weeks and months have not been totally filled with problems and challenges, they have included a rather disproportionately high number! I had not shared with readers, the 2 earlier sightings in our yard of snakes ( for fear of deterring visitors!) , especially as we all lived to tell the tale - notably Jess who survived the slithering of one across her feet during her visit here in June. On that occasion, I inadvertently, but gratefully, managed to decapitate the culprit by smashing its head in a door-jamb. Although we recognised that on each occasion the snakes were trying to get away from us as fast as possible, not coming towards us…when I then encountered a 3rd, it felt like time to have a word with our landlord. As this coincided with us ( but mostly me!) being covered by small, very itchy insect bites of some kind, AND because paying our rent for the next 18 months in advance was being negotiated, the landlord agreed to get the whole house and exterior sprayed. Altho I was at work at the time, it appeared that not only was the bug-busting outfit pretty efficient ( a rare breed
Efi + "mama"
in new dress presented to me by Efi
here) but the 2 lads obviously enjoyed their work as Dave recounted the shrieks of enjoyment they got from watching cockroaches kamikaze-ing from underneath our roof into the yard. And thus I was greeted on my return home, by about 8 “enormous” beasts lying belly - up ..yuk! A day or three later I also came across a rotting snake in a corner of the yard, so presumably the agent-orange or whatever it was had been effective there too. Whilst I was not sorry at the demise at these close neighbours , or the biting bugs, I have been sad that ever since then I keep coming across tiny corpses of geckos ( up to 1 cm long) - unwitting victims of the nasty-icide.!
On the work front, some potentially positive developments still include the inevitable frustrations that come with living and working in Ghana - just one example was a meeting “organised” by our local disability organisations to launch an income generating project for their members. The organisations undertook to notify their members and to have a venue ready, whilst I hosted a guest speaker from a national DPO and accompanied him to the meeting! We arrived 10
Asafao no1 + traditional priests
mins ahead of scheduled time to a dark, dingy hall with no chairs, top table or access to electricity and no executives from any of the associations. Eventually a caretaker was tracked down whom then arranged chairs, reassembled a broken table for the guest and the executives to sit at and we sat and waited…and waited. After about 20 minutes the first participant turned up, and some 5 minutes later a stray puppy wandered in. After meandering around the hall a few times, and sniffing at our feet, he resorted to a corner for an extensive scratch before falling asleep to accompany the behaviour of our only member of the audience. Over the next hour the room slowly filled with more audience members but phone calls and texts to the DPO executives only elicited the response “I’m Coming” which I now know to mean…….absolutely nothing concrete!....but 2hours and 10mins after the scheduled time, we were all assembled and ready to start and, despite the problematic start the meeting was successful.
The untimely death of a disabled child I was working with left me reeling for a time, whilst I decided how to react to the immediate pleas of the
Local chief plus spirit ( young girl)
family to give them money ( despite the fact that they had neglected and even mistreated the girl), to the bewilderment of my colleagues to my concern that a child’s death should warrant some investigation, and to my natural sense of guilt that I could have done more. Having now discovered that Ghana has had a perfectly sound Children Act since 1998, I am now trying to establish some protocols for agencies working together to keep children safe and well. Hopefully this will give some meaning to Elizabeth’s short and miserable life.
But there is much fun, friendliness, community spirit and colour here too, epitomised recently by the Oguaa Afehye, the local festival which culminates in the Traditional Chiefs, Queen Mothers, traditional priests and priestesses and Asafo tribes processing through the town to receive the adulation and support of their followers. Accompanied by a “self-adopted” daughter Effie, I was taken to watch the procession, join in the dancing, and bake in the sun and the greetings of fellow Cape Coasters
There are more photos below