Monday, May 07, 2007

Good evening,

Another excellent day. Spent the am working on James’ drafts of job descriptions, including one for the responsibilities of the Board. Not real exciting, but we want drafts to give to the Board on Wed.
In pm, we (Esi, Annie, Anastasia and I) went out to the Nursing Institute. There we met John, first of all, who introduced us to Patricia Odot and Sabina Bilson. They were most cordial. P and S gave us a very good review of the public health aspects of our children’s home---not just sanitation, but hygiene in general, medical examinations, nine vaccinations for children provided free by gov’t, need for bednets and general malaria prevention actions, inspections by various officials, requirements, etc. I will type up a formal report for Board and Esi. Anastasia took good notes---we’re practicing on doing the various duties of her job. The computer we brought for the Nursing School is not well---they sent it to be repaired because the charger is not working. The question is whether to order one from the company. Hmm. Does anyone have any wisdom on this that I could pass on to them? They seemed unsure if it was the battery that couldn’t be charged, or the actual charger. Are we sure it was ok for 240?

We also discussed water---they are for the pipe method. Annie is starting to think that way, too, although she still likes bore holes, because once they have them, they have water forever, power or no power to run the pumps. But, the public health nurses were pretty adamant that we should use the pipe, if at all possible, and have a polytank to store water for washing, garden, emergency, etc. Barbara, Bo emailed me the Mercer Is. Rotary “World Committee” is still reviewing our request for funds for the polytank and stand. Could you perhaps give him a call? I can send out emails, but laboriously only via the webmail site. # is (206) 275-0426. He has the pro forma invoice, description, etc.

While rendezvousing at Bentil’s and just before leaving for Nursing school, who should appear but Constance! She’d heard I was in town. She said at least 10 women wanted to meet with me to report on what they’ve been doing with what they learned in the women's workshop!! Isn’t that terrific?!! So, she’s going to set it up and let me know. I told her about the DVD I have about the charcoal out of coconut husks, and they want to see it. Thank goodness I brought the little RadioShack portable speaker for my computer. I hope it all works. Where’s Tom when I need him, or Jeanie for nursing stuff, or Diana for women, or … where are you all anyway?? I could stand a little help, if you don’t mind…if at least a few of you could interrupt your busy, busy schedules….

Then back to my “office”---could do worse than working out of #13, overlooking the Atlantic!! We can’t use Word, Excel, etc., yet, because we’ll wait until Frank comes with the “real” disks. We don’t want to just get the 60 day trials going, only to have to redo the activation when he comes because hooking to the internet is a real pain. But, we started in with Quicken. Today we got all the deposits entered for the bank statements we had. One was missing, which Patrick will get tomorrow---Anastasia should be able to do that, but James hasn’t given the authorization for her, yet. We’ve decided to pretend the currency system is already done and the Ghana Cedi is in place (10,000 will equal 1 after June 30, I believe) so that the whole of 2007 will “work” decimal point-wise. She did very well. Had to be taught how to “round up” and “round down”, but basically she loved it. She wants shirts designed with the WCHH logo, etc. and asked if I thought Americans might buy them too. I said I thought maybe about 15 would (did I hear a “yes” just now…?). This because it’s the “in” thing here---workers are all getting shirts alike---here at ABH everyone wears “the shirt” every day, including managers, etc. They talk about “their team” now, too. And the bigger companies, like the port at Tema, have special shirts for Fridays, etc they told me. All the shirts seem to have the Ghana color scheme of yellow, green, red, and black. The only thing missing at ABH seems to be customers---we had quite a few but now they’ve thinned out. Too bad—it’s just such a nice place.

Then, just as I was walking Anastasia to the taxi stand, who should appear but Benard from the Ghana Water Board, who Ravyn and I had met before!! He had come up to email Ravyn and also to see if I was here. The network is percolating, I guess. We talked briefly about developments on the water stuff. He said the World Bank is getting involved, but not in the “main” town of Axim, where the need is so great. He needed to go, but we agreed to meet with Stephen at their office on Thursday or Friday, and with my map. So, I will before them review the school notebook with Ravyn’s notes before that. Thank goodness you gave it to me, Ravyn!

And some more learnings: Old Soldier wants Hillary for Pres because he thinks America needs healing and therefore a woman will be best. Anastasia also wants Hillary, because if we get a woman maybe Ghana will, too. She and I are learning internet searching by finding contact info for Oprah, because she wants to invite Oprah to our dedication (I explained the concept of “long shot” to her!). There are a lot of one-man boats out there line fishing (in open ocean)---for some reason I hadn’t seen them before. Seems dangerous, but they say not when the water is calm.

I put out the word that I will not ride in a taxi without a seat belt. They not only get the seat belt working, but rather elaborately wipe it off with a cloth and the seat, too, for good measure, and they circle me a lot, hoping that I succumb, I guess, and will need a ride. And I haven’t mentioned the weather, but succumbing would be entirely a natural thing. It is hot, and very. very wet. I think it’s worse than before---it’s fairly dry in the morning and by about 7:00 at night, there’s water on the tables, but it hasn’t rained. In picking up Old S yesterday, I heard a call and it was the Queen Mother herself in her very ordinary house, cooking a meal outdoors in front for her grandchildren, including beautiful twin girls, that she proudly introduced to me. A happy humble, very basic woman I think, with piles of wrapped kenke around, etc. She told me Mahara said her food “smells of Africa” and gave me some to smell. I asked her what her responsibilities were: she said anything the king asks. She said she also has land, and if anyone needs it, she will give, even to me. Barbara, she would make a good interviewee for you, I think. And at church Sunday, we “Amas” (all the people born on Saturday) won the offering! The custom is to dance up to the offering basket with your birth day mates, and you do this several times. It’s kind of a contest to see which birth day mate groups contribute the most. Hmmm…I threw in 10,000 (US $1 but quite a lot here). Do you suppose….?

Annie told me they tried to teach the children how to sit in circles and “share” when they had the Easter party, but instead of the 50 or so they had in mind, 600 children showed up! Forget circles!! Justine was there and said it was really fun, but a madhouse. Finally one of the young guys came and just put on some music, loud, and everyone danced and had a blast. They had chicken meals, which the adults broke apart with their bare hands to try to have enough. Justine said it was a “loaves and fishes” day. They are new to all of this and learning as they go.

Didn’t go to the site today. Just too much else going on. Tomorrow, Manye School, then James is coming to work on site and Board stuff, and A and I will continue to work on the financial recordkeeping.

And yes, the sunsets are gorgeous, the magic is here on this bluff over the ocean. Did I mention how much fun this is?
Goodnight. Next time…Maryanne