Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Hi all,
First to continue with yesterday....I had to stop because I was simultaneously working on James' computer and Leif and I got into a long "help" session, so I broke off.

To follow up on the costs of school---it gets murkier. The 40,000 per test is actually per subject, so if you have 4 subjects, it's 160,000 -- and if you don't pass, you have to take it again and pay again, if you want a certificate. Maybe this does make sense in a poor country. They are striving for provide every kid through Junior High School (note name change), and so the child is educated and can read and write. They may not have the certificate, but they do have the skills, so....

Also, about meeting with Anna and Esi yesterday. I told them Leif's news on his marriage, and they got up and danced a little dance for him and Sue and said "IT HAPPENED IN GHANA!" Then I told them about Barbara's ordination, and they got up and sang the "presence" song Barbara taught out---a very beautiful song, Barbara---call me one of these days and sing it to me.

Anastasia is the new office person. She is SS, and secretarial training. She has taught computers. Seems very on top of it. Involved with kids, very interested. She lives in Takoradi, but is here and is learning Nzema, but knows Fante. She seems very on top of things, but I only spoke briefly.

I also wanted to say the newest computer lab/internet cafe plan is to have a learning lab at the Home and cafe downtown where it's very accessible, and they've identified a building for that. So, that will generate more income. Jonas here at ABH is again discussing his 35 kilometer radius internet access system he is planning, and why don't we share? I need to connect him and James more formally on that. But, it does seem to make sense to have a cafe downtown, because the Home is a bit far out, but OK for classes, etc. Both are envisioned to be self-sustaining. Details? Well, they'll come to us, I guess, as God provides.

Also, there is a lot of energy here. The Ghana@50 celebration is ongoing, and there is a lot of patriotic pride. Lots of Ghana cloth like Jeanie's @50 dress. And the staff here, for example, all have very sharp red-gold-green-black outfits (like the flag). The VP said at his speech in Nkroful that Ghana would be a middle-income country by 2015---we'll see, but people really whooped and hollered at that. Also, they are quite positive about President Bush. He has done a lot for Ghana, they say, with the Millennium Grant, and they are proud and tell you often that it's because they have "good government." I remain silent, because it's not my job to represent the USA in Ghana---that's what we have an Embassy for.

The solar hot water system here is terrific---it's too hot actually, in the shower. I had to mix with cold! Really terrific. I think Jonas is looking into lights, too. He and I had a talk last night about computers (price is dropping very rapidly for good used computers--Pentium 4's at least). They are "cheap", now he said, and he nevr buys anything in Europe anymore except for a few specialty items. He has spruced up his computer systems here a lot---nice new looking refurbished on in office, with a staff person who uses it a lot. He also said he'd meet with me again on solar power---electric lights type. He has a lot of info and wants to install, I think, here at ABH.

Bentil's two adopted boys passed JSS---now for SS.

OK, now for today...I walked to the orphanage from ABH. Patrick walked with me. It took an hour (twice as long as the mighty Mahara reported, but we had to stop and talk a lot. I spent about 45 minutes on the site today. They were working hard. When I showed up, one guy said "work hard!!" So I took his picture! I was heartened a lot by the progress. They have two more rows (two cement block layers, one might say) to complete on the top story walls and then comes the roof. The floors, walls, etc. are looking really good. Mr. Biney was not there---he was buying materials they said. He is trying to get the concrete companies to give us wholesale prices, since the price of cement is just outrageously inflating by the day. I'll put up photos if possible. They really seemed pretty energized, and I don't think it was just because of me. One poor woman is lugging water in her headpan the last part of the road. She gets it from the storage tank about one-third the way down. What a job. Big smile every time though---how is it possible? But I must say I had this feeling that we might really do this...breathe deeply, Maryanne. Stay cool and calm!

I did investigate the water pump right at the bottom of the little rough road up to the site, right on the main road, so to speak, at the turnoff. That can provide us water I think---a little vague in terms of the Fire Dept etc. etc., but step at a time. Also, there's an Areeba tower right there, and a TIGO one a bit off. I'm pressing James to please follow up with Kassapa on their tower---I hope the Areeba one is not too close. It seems like a great "high point" for a communication tower. They don't have one yet, I have determined from my many sources....:)

I also lugged the office computer to the hotel (I didn't...Patrick and taxi driver did..) and I have Leif's recovery disks, so I'll see what I can do. I simply can't work at the office---people are just streaming in. After that Patrick and I got a case of water. Then he and I had a good chicken/rice dinner here at the hotel---we were both totally exhausted and starved. I gave him a couple of waters. Oh, Diana, we stopped at Philomena's place---Patrick's girlfriend --- Philomena Ute(?) Quam is her full name. And when P left ABH hotel he had all your fabric, patterns, placemat, etc. with him. He seemed really pleased.

The woman who talked to the "two white women" told me it was a man and a woman, young like her and Patrick (Patrick didn't talk to them). I asked her if she thought they were Americans and she said she thought they were from London. She said they said nothing, asked the directions to the home, and that the man's name was "David." Hmmm.

Tomorrow we're meeting with Mr. Eyesson, the director of social welfare---we being Anna, Esi, James and me. Earlier before that, James, the King, and Patrick are going to meet and go over finances. We are going to meet with Mr. E so he can describe for me with them listening, exactly the difference between a "home" and an "orphanage." It seems there is a registration process, and they have registered as a "home." More on that later. Esi is sort of acting as chief linguist for me, which I appreciate. Smooths the way. She has been asked to serve on the Board of Manye Academy since the kid are there. That's really great, I think. I'm also going to try to find out what the actual estimate is for how many kids are not in school that should be in school, and what is involved. And, I went over the Town Hall notes just now and marked all the items that seems "social welfare-ish", and I'll try to bring them up.

I'm going to play it safe and post this before I try some photos, just in case the whole thing comes crashing down.

Oh, BTW, Ravyn, the wind-up flashlight is just a Major Major hit! Do they come in headlamps, is the question? Justine thinks she can sell that at the mine in Tarkwa where she supplies overalls, if headlamp style. Also, they want embroidered monogram type company name on uniform and there is only one such machine in all Sekondi-Takoradi. She had to wait one month to get her patches monogrammed for the mining company---so if you happen to see a good used monogram machine (the kind that embroiders the name on a patch and then you sew the patch on the uniform) tell Nate and get one over here, pronto! She figures there's an opportunity there.