Published: February 9th 2010February 7th 2010
I am writing this little diddy from my hotel room in Cape Coast and I'm like teetering on the edge of my seat. Though the jitters are partially due to the fact that I've had like three cokes today (they taste so much better when they don't have corn syrup in them and come from glass bottles), I'm jumpin' around like a Mexican jumping bean because Sam and I are officially starting our internship with the United Nations tomorrow!
By a stroke of (true-to-Ghanaian-fashion) luck, last week Sam randomly went by the director's office (Yvonne) on her way to class. If you recall from my older posts, we were supposed to be interning with Yvonne last semester, working to develop training manuals and seminars for teachers for environmental education. Specifically, we were to work with climate change and waste management curriculum development for the United Nations University, Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (I know...way awesome, right?!) Unfortunately, the ball never really got rolling with the internship and by the end of the semester, after checking in numerous times, we sort of lost hope that it would actually happen. Taking a page from many other things in Ghana that were supposed to happen, we had to chalk the whole experience up as a loss.
You see, things like this happen all of the time here in Ghana. Someone will have a really cool, innovative, original idea...and people will get really hyped for a while. And then everyday life, which happens to be nothing short of exhausting here, takes over. And budgets evaporate. And people get malaria. And there's a funeral to attend. And the “lights” go out (no power). And then it's Christmas break. And so on and so on... While I realize that things and projects fall apart in places all over the world, I feel like that sort of thing is almost the norm here. There are just multitude of variables in Africa, in Ghana, that western countries do not even have to contend with.
Anyway, I had recently been spending a lot of time and effort thinking about what kinds of projects I could get involved with during my last months in Ghana, and was even going through the process of contacting different environmental organization folks, to volunteer with this semester. Oddly enough, it can pretty difficult to volunteer here. Yes, that’s right, it can be hard to GIVE AWAY your time. Weird, huh?? (It’s just that whole logistical problem again). But just as I was mourning the loss of the opportunity to work with UN Institute for NR in Africa, (haha, just had to spell it out again☺), Yvonne had some work for us!
So this week, Sam and I are traveling to Cape Coast and Elmina, in the Central region of Ghana, to spend some time in various primary and junior high schools. We will be assisting with the presentation of curriculum on waste management and climate change. Looks like we will also be working with an awesome NGO called, Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis, whose director we just met. Had a nice chat with him about his time in COPENHAGEN for the climate change conference this December. Talk about networking. Whew! This is what I came to Africa for, in case any of you were wondering ☺
P.S… In case you didn’t follow along, Ghana placed 2nd in the Africa Cup of Nations, after a loss to Egypt ☹