Saturday, November 04, 2006

Posting this Saturday mid-day from Axim Ghana, Delegate Diana.

I see you've not had much to read the last few days, so I will try to fill you in.

Wed. 11/1, we all worked at the orphanage site, clearing land, carrying scrap wood to piles, gravel, sand, and water for mixing cement to lay rest of second floor. The women of Axim responded to call for volunteers and came with their pans which carried gravel, sand, and water when placed on their heads. A few of us tried, but it was tough. The best were Jeanie and Suz who got right in line and carried the heavy contents.

Ravyn, Jeanie, Susan, and Barabara went to check out sanitation in schools. The condition is one of which they discovered no water or running toilets. This inspired Ravyn for the Engineers without Borders project she will be proposing.

Off to Anna Esi's village, called Okonu, and Susan H. and Jeanie gave presentations to adults in community, in a borrowed school room. Presentations on hygeine to help control infections and HIV/AIDs where many were pleased to receive free condoms. JJ and Mustafa did the translation and JJ's second career might be an HIV/AIDs educator instead of journalist.... Louise filmed while there, and we had all the school kids who wanted to shake every hand of the few of us Obrunyi who had come. Returning by bus we stopped and had coconut cut for drink, and then cut to eat. About 7 or 8 coconuts cost 8000 cedis, which is about 80 cents.

Afternoon was part one of gender dialogue, men with men about what it is like to be a man in the world. Women with women. This was rich in the women's circle as our Ghanaian delegate women broke culture norm to not share deep secrets. What these women have been subjected to is something all must raise up and encourage them. Part 2 was continued on Friday afternoon

Evening at beach for dinner and entertainment from local dance and drumming group. Wow can they move! Leif had his eye on a big drum, one shaped like a torpedo, wondering if he could get one home.

About 9 or 10 delegates went with Mustafa to his Muslim village. Spent a few hours there. Our delegates had to dress more conservatively to go there. Especially shocking for those who went was to observe the women in the village contained behind a thick cloth barrier, as they weren't to be seen by the men. This fueled the Gender dialogue Part 2 when men and women came togerher in the afternoon.

In the a.m. Diana visited the Women's training institute in Axim. They learn dressmaking, hairdressing, catering, batik, and more. Fees are about $80 for 3 years, enrollment at 70, can handle 120, but many can not afford to go to the school. With the hairdressers, I offered to let them touch my hair, and they eagerly accepted the offer; They were so suprised and said "It doesn't feel like ours." Found a computer room of 20 computers, 10 worked, were 16 MB ram, and using Windows 95. Abysmal. Need to get more current equipment here for them, and share with the secondary school a few kilometers away.

Friday a.m. Mahara and Dennis worked with Concerned Elders Assocation -- teaching them more conflict resolution tools. Mahara will follow up during her 6 week stay past our departure.

Friday evening the delegates made dinner together. We've been eating Ghanaian food, and now people shared food they wanted others to try. Amercians did: stove top chicken dressing, macaroni and cheese, matzo balls and chicken soup, dried apples, and more.

Jackie and Jerome were awarded this Sat a.m. at breakfast an award and appreciation gift from schools for having taught there. How grande!

Better post before I lose what I wrote-- these computers are slow.

Diana, writing for all,