Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hi all,
Didn't get to this last night, so I'll try to summarize. Yesterday I did meet with Awulae (aka the king) for a while. Annie, Esi and I delivered the fabric to Mary his wife, and he invited us in and talked for quite a while. He thanked GCJ for our efforts, and also said a lot of people come talk,talk, talk, but we do and it's "wonderful." He was very positive about Mr Biney coming on board as our contractor, and let me know he had something to do with that decision. So, a good man, who is trying to do a good job. He said he was going up to the site at 5:00 after work to have a look. I shared my big concerns: water and road condition. He said there is a pumping station right at the junction, but it will need a pump. We went searching for standpipes today and found a couple, but we want our own so we don't have to pay someone else. He didn't address the road condition, and since we'll be meeting again with Board, I didn't press. He did acknowledge, though.

Pretty much all the rest of day was spent on James' computer, which after about 7 hours, and help from Leif over the phone, etc. I got completely updated, etc. What a stretch...Thank goodness we really have quite good ethernet connection here.

John and his friend dropped in (John from Nursing Inst). It was great to see him. He told me about "Veronica buckets" (more below). All is going well for him. I showed him and his friend some photos etc. from my "Ghana Best" folder.

This morning Esi, Annie, Anastasia and I went to Manye School. We met about 17 of the kids. It was really fun. They just started the new term yesterday, so all was kind of relaxed. Quite a few of the teachers came out, too. I rallied "our" kids because I had a small photo book with their pictures and names, and I called out the name and the child came up and I greeted him/her, etc. So shy, but enthusiastic, too. I've got to post a photo tomorrow. I don't have the photos downloaded--just ran out of time. Maybe tomorrow night. I gave them the "letters" from the book group, which they LOVED! In fact, it was a bit of a problem, because at that very moment, a bunch of "other" kids came running up, swearing they too wanted letters. One boy even came up and whispered to me he too was an orphan. But when I said, are you really? he smiled sheepishly and said "no". So, I got all of the "others" and their teachers together and took a whole bunch of photos and showed them, etc. until they kind of forgot about the letters. Then, two teachers and and four of us all of us tramped on the path up to the "home". We now are building a "home", not an orphanage. This is because of Ghana's official registration, which requires all children in an orphanage to be TRUE orphans---both parents died. And WCHH has a more encompassing mission, so, it's better. There are only five real registered orphanages in Ghana, but many officially designated "homes." As Susan P taught us: SHIFT! :)

I need to clear up something---Manye Academy JSS is actually not becoming a goverment school---Esi called me to correct herself. The government is taking its teachers out of Manye JSS and it is actually becoming completely private.

Then, we went chased around trying to find the "veronica buckets" John had urged me to go see. These are handwashing stations, and he thinks we should have these at the home and also Manye school. We finally found some after walking approximately 250 miles to the district offices, etc. etc. and finally---at the hospital. I took some photos. They are really simple affairs, very much like a "cooler" we might have to carry water or punch or something to a picnic. But they are using them here for hand sanitation. I'll try to post some photos.

Anastasia and I went back to the hotel and worked together on the HP recovery process for 5-6 hours. Whew. We got it done, though. Leif, could you hear us cheering ourselves?? We will need to go on internet to get the virus checker done, software registered, etc., but what a stretch. She drove and I watched--she is very good. I think James, et al have made a great choice in her. Well-trained, very very enthusiastic, skilled, good language skills, and has worked in some offices before. She's about 25 or so.

Tonight I celebrated getting these computers in working order with an avocado salad and 1/4 of a glass of Jonas' "NEW" water---he dug a well 150 feet deep and claims it's the purest safest water in Ghana. So, I tried it. It tasted really good---we'll see. If I'm unavailable for a few days.... Also, the salad was a bit risky, can't eat palaver every night. Also, there was a minister there with his wife, and had heard about our place being possibly for conferences, and asked me if possibly he could bring some kind of group there for a conference! I nearly hugged him---he can pay for that, and we can get revenue. I gave him my card and James' info.

Tomorrow Anastasia and I will load Quicken, and start working on that. We went through the whole petty cash thing conceptually today. She has worked with an accountant some, as a secretary, so I think she gets it. I think I'll wait to hook to internet to update, register, etc. the newly loaded computer until Frank comes with all the disks, etc.

Other news: Looks like Mercer Island Rotary is still in the game for the polytank and stand. The king says Michael will make the money "stretch" better than anyone else could. You can eat the insides of a nice little yellow ball right off bushes and it's delicious. You can lay a cassava branch on the ground and when it rains it will grow and that's how you get new cassava plants. Avocado trees are 30 feet high here. You can eat the leaves of cassava as well as the root. Fertilized cassava does not make good fufu. You can retired with a pension here at age 60, per John's friend who is in charge of pensions in Nzema East. Dr. Boakye wants a cold room for his bodies---50,000,000 cedis. It seems they're stacking up some. Also two air conditioning units at 15,000,000 each--URGENT. He thanked me fulsomely for our mattresses and waved to the wards as to where they were, but I was after veronica buckets and didn't stop to look.

Hope all of you are well. Goodnight for now. Maryanne