Published: February 14th 2010February 14th 2010
We traveled to Hohoe from Kpando and arrived there at the credit union around noon. This place is about half of the size of the Kpando operation. It is located on the second floor at the back of a building. We had to follow a dirt path to the rear of the building and then climb a flight of stairs to reach the CU office. We met the manager, Mr. Moses and briefly chatted about his CU. They have about 600 members and use 10 runners to collect cash from market workers. Hey have no computers but are planning to acquire one in May/10.
Following the meeting with the manager we went to our hotel (Matvin Gardens). It is clean but no towels, no soap, no toilet paper (30 ceded/night). Interestingly the girl at the bar had trouble calculating how much to charge Laurie for his beer and water.
Laurie and I walked part way to town and gave up due to the heat. One thing we noted is the increased presence of Moslems in this part of the country. The ‘calls to prayer’ were happening very frequently.
I worked on the CU review until about 8:00.
Pooped, I then went to bed.
Day 10, Thursday, Feb 4
Today we reviewed the operations at the Hohoe /ASSI Credit Union. ASSI stands for ‘acquisition of small scale industry’. The credit union has problems. It has a 70% loan delinquency rate and received a bad audit report for 2009. The manager, Mr. Moses, seems very dedicated and appears to be overworked. His two female clerks did little work while we were there. It looks like the expected Ghanaian male:female scenario, where the women do all the work, reversed here. He asked us to recommend additional staff, we will be recommending a bit more work load sharing.
For the first time at a credit union, I had to have a pee during the day. I asked one of the staff where the bathroom was. She said there wasn’t one and that the men simply peed against a post at the base of the building ... so I did!! I am going NATIVE.
After lunch (rice and chicken leg) we met the Treasurer, a really nice lady who runs a shop across the street from the credit union. She sells everything from gas stoves to TV antennas.
It’s amazing, there is shop after shop on the street that sell everything imaginable, it’s really hard to nail down what particular type of business any one of them is.
So far today (5:00pm) we have only been without power for about 10 minutes. Hopefully this continues through the night.
9:30pm, just returned from a bar in Hohoe. We had Really nice evening with our driver and Mr. Moses. Met a young fellow, David, who is a chemical engineer for agricultural development, they still use DDT in Ghana. We talked about many things including Shaman. Apparently the practice is illegal and discouraged by the government. We also talked about Nigerians (bad) an people from Lagos (worse).
The lights are now back on after being out from 6:30 until 8:00.
Ac- bay ka ka means thank you very much in Twi. Ac-bay means thank you.
This has been a great day. Something ‘big’ just ran under my door.
This is a Muslim part of the country. Calls to prayer are based on local time in Mecca. In the middle of the night there is dead silence and then the calls are BLASTED out to the faithful,
first call (Mecca sunrise) is at 3:30am Hohoe time.
Day 11, Friday, Feb 5
I have not had a bowel movement since the Sunday night purge. 4 days and counting.
The hotel we are staying at asked us to pay for our entire stay. For 4 days the bill was 120 Cedes or $90US.
I had to go to a local print shop to print our report.
Despite some very serious problems identified in the report the manager read it and expressed his sincere gratitude for our write-up. I think he was surprised that we said we would take the time to present the material to the board. The poor guy is swamped, while he deals with a stream of customers going in and out of his office, his secretary spent her time chatting up our driver and showing family pictures to him.
We met the board at 1:00 and presented our recommendations. The mood was less upbeat than in Kpando. However, the people were very gracious and express sincere thanks for our coming to their part of the world to help them. I hate the heat but honestly love the people here. What amazing resiliency and
positive attitudes even though, from our perspective, they have so little. Wow!!
Our driver took us back to our hotel at 2:30. There has been no power since 8:00am
Laurie and I walked into town around 4:30. We went back to the restaurant that Moses took us to last night. We both had rice and fish.
It’s Friday so it’s the beginning of funerals in the city. As we were eating a parade of celebrants(?) walked back and forth in front of our restaurant singing and dancing. They were dressed in red, the colour signifies the age of the deceased. Prior to their arrival a hearse, with sirens blasting slowly preceded them down the street. It’s PARTY night in Hohoe!
There are more photos below