Tuesday, May 29, 2007

May 19

Today was another good day. Yesterday I was exhausted and just kind of hid out at Axim Beach. Typed up a report for James, and also a report about care of children from the public health folks, etc. I am particularly proud of the bookkeeping system we've set up; Patrick and all have really done a wonderful job of keeping receipts on all purchases, and Anastasia has caught on quickly to Quicken software. We're doing it all in "new" cedis, because the currency will be converted in about two months. Today we went over all the Quicken data, and made fixes. Then Justine came about 6:30 which was fun. She stayed with me overnight.

We walked down to the Palace and at 8:57 am arrived, to find Constance and four others WAITING for me! The meeting was supposed to be at 9:00 sharp, and so it was. But the king came in and ordered the room swept, so that had to be done first. About 20 some were there---I have names and occupations for each, and good info. I realized that I was expected to train them in something. Gulp. I thought what would Susan P do, being the resourceful type. So I put them all in a circle, got a stone, and asked them to each introduce themselves, and speak about what was going well. This worked great---they each got up and recounted what they'd learned before and how were applying, if they'd been there before. Time management, quality, keeping records, selling something completely different, selling to a school, low profit margins to increase turnover, etc. So, this was great. I have more detail---thank goodness for Justine and Anastasia who spoke Nzema, and more or less took over. It was terrific---really. They are EAGER for Diana and Gifty to return, are interested in learning more, getting entrreprenship, more capital, etc. very good. A great nucleas. Then, I found out later some Upper Axim women were upset they weren't invited---but I didn't do the inviting---Constance did. I assured them they would be invited next time. A great day.

Then the king invited Justine and me for lunch, so we had lunch there----fufu, smoked fish, light soup.Very good. I'm getting good at using the right hand to eat (with the hand, not fork, etc.). We had red wine!! But the family ate in another room, so Justine and I just sat together and chatted and ate. Then a wild ride with him to the site, where we went over everything. Looking very good. I got quite a lot of info about chief things, land issues, etc., too from him. Mary is such a nice person. He is giving them two weeks to finish. Well¦maybe...
Then to the Beach Hotel for meeting with Esi, Bentil, Justine, Anastasia. One name came up: Axim Asomdwee Heritage Home (asomdwee is "peace" in Nzema) We voted unanimously, but have to consult James and Awulae. (Note: in the end the Board decided finally on "Western Heritage Home"). They also decided to try to raise the furnishings themselves---I think, Ravyn, they'll probably not make it on the gas stoves, oven, bunk beds, etc., but they marked an "L" next to everything that can be donated locally in their judgement. This is terrific, and something VERY new for them. They are going to write letters to everyone imaginable asking for support, and take people to visit the site. Bentil will take the guys tarring the streets, and get them to grade the road. Things are moving. The interesting thing is that they said this has never been done in this town before (asking for donations, etc.) They are brave to step out like this.

Then the colors came up: cream and chocolate are OK, but they want COLOR! This is Ghana, after all!! So, big discussion about blue and green with cream and chocolate, no, yellow, no., I just enjoyed it. Who knows what it will eventually be! They want to make "the cloth", too. I assured them we'd buy 15 shirts at 120,000 each ($13.00).

Then, back to my room to dismantle the computer to return to the little WHH office in Bentil's building. Anastasia took charge. Each person got into Thani's cab, and held part of the computer on his/her lap. Carefully. They all went down to the office together to put it back together. She was just beaming. Leif, you would have loved it.

Then, I just sort of collapsed down at the beach area on a lounge chair. What a day! James is coming tomorrow for a funeral. I'll go to Anglican Church with Old Soldier, and then to Sekondi. I have tentative appts with Coca-cola, Ghana Bauxite, US Embassy and Produce Buying.

So, since I may not get to an internet connection again until I get home, I'll sign off from Axim. I'll catch a flight 9:00 at night on Wed. See you all SOON!! Good luck to the BHam folks at church tomorrow---I wish I were going to be there. It will be great.
So, good night. Love you, Maryanne