Friday, 29 July 2011

Inspiring and Interesting: Some of the Chereponi faces!

Hello readers,

It's been  a while since I've made a post, I know. But if you guessed that I was just trying to make you anxious for the next post, you could be right! More likely though I've just been very busy with work, as the end of my time here in Ghana is approaching too quickly, so I have to work twice as fast in order to be satisfied with my achievements here in Ghana!

So This post is a little piece on two really interesting people I've met here. This isn't to say that their the only interesting people here in Ghana at all, because I think every single person I've met here has been very interesting. But these two have some interesting characteristics that make me want to let everyone I can know about them! So hopefully my faithful (or at least passerby) readers will remember just these two faces.

Emanuel, the Contact Farmer of Sambick community
I went to a community with a District Agricultural Officer (DAO) named Shani last week. On the trip I was both an observer and a researcher, by this I mean Shani was very busy with his own work on Block Farms (see next post to read about what this is) so I was trying to get as much done as I could on this trip while still following along on his work. So after an interesting visit to a community doing some projects under Shani's supervision we were en route to Sambick. I had been to Sambick before and I had noticed that this community was one of the only (if not the only) community who had taken up the practice of composting. When I had asked why they were doing this, this young man had responded "that because we lack resources, we can use this as fertilizer to make up for what we can't buy" (paraphrased). I was astonished first at the adoption of such a technology because it's a difficult and laborious practice that's completely uncommon, and secondly with the fact that he had so accurately described how this practice could benefit farmers who're willing to give it a try.

On this trip we were there in Sambick to take some field measurements, and as the secretary of his farmer group and the contact farmer (see next post) for the community we asked Emanuel to come along for the work. During the work I was pretty much useless, just kind of walking around with Shani and starting to regret coming along. But I started talking to Emanuel during the work and things quickly changed. I told Emanuel his English was very good and asked where he had learned, he said he had completed senior high school. As we were doing the field measurement he was quickly adding up acreages and remembering exactly what had been measured, I told him that if I were to measure this field this wouldn't be the way I would do it, and he agreed and told me how he would have done it. His idea was to measure the perimeter of the field then write all these measurements down, then make a calculation of the area and I agreed this would both be quicker and easier than measuring piece by piece as we were doing. I was astonished at how intelligent he was, and asked why hadn't he continued with his schooling? He told me that his grades weren't the best, and there was a lack of finances for this. I wondered how a person like this could have low grades, but as time passed I formed my own theory of how this could happen.

Emanuel told me he was 27 when I asked his age. I told him I don't think your that old, as you don't look it at all, and he told me he didn't think so either. This may seem strange to most people, not knowing your own age, but as children are commonly born in the house and the parents are illiterate they don't write down the date and time of birth. He told me that he had no way of finding out his real age, and I supposed he was at least four years younger than this. So my theory is he was in a grade level higher than he should have been and due to this it was a feat to have even completed senior high school below the normal age. Moreover, I found out that not only is he a secretary of his group he's also the zonal coordinator for the District Assembly in his community. This means he actively monitors his community and makes monthly reports to the Assembly so they can be aware of the activities happening there. In addition he asked to borrow our calculator and measuring tape so he could take the rest of the day to measure the field out acre by acre for his community members.

Needless to say I was impressed on many levels by Emanuel: he was extremely intelligent, hard working, and incredibly responsible. At his young age he was responsible for so much of the community's well-being and I don't think he realized just how amazing he is!

Introducing the one and only RIMKA
So on a bus ride back to my district almost 3 weeks ago I was talking to the boy sitting next to me about many things, but more importantly the topic of which languages I can speak came up. I told him I can speak English and a little bit of French, when I said this the man in a full denim outfit (Canadian Tuxedo) began speaking to me in french. The conversation went one for less than a minute before I had exhausted my vocabulary and we had to switch to English. So he and I started talking about our work, I told him I'm working with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Chereponi and he told me he was a rapper. Immediately I began to take the conversation much less seriously, as the idea of a rapper coming from a small district with a small amount of electricity available seemed totally ridiculous. Not long after I asked him if he did shows or things of this sort did a small boy 3 seats up say "I have one of his tracks on my phone!". The kid held the phone up and I was so surprised to see that this guy was actually somehow a somewhat famous rapper, at least in this area. He said my name is Abdul Kharim, but my rap name is RIMKA.

Not long after I got back my beard was getting out of control, so I started seeking a barber and my colleagues pointed me to a nearby stall with the VODAFONE symbol plastered on the side (just like so many other buildings) and inside who was I to find but RIMKA the rapper cum hairstylist. So we re-introduced ourselves and he told me he was running the barber shop in order to save up money for studio fees. I asked him if I could video tape some of his raps so I could show people at home, and he was excited to do so. He rapped 3 songs (2 French, and 1 Chikosi) and I can't say that I fully dug his rythm (maybe because I couldn't understand the language) but I can say the energy and happiness he put into it was amazing, just watching him made me feel extremely happy! The way this man can smile in the face of so many challenges and live out his dreams in a world where the chances are slimmer than anywhere else I was so inspired, I thought "I can do this too, live my own dream regardless of barriers or probabilities, and smile because I'm doing what makes me happy"

So that's all for this time folks but the next post will come very soon, and is promised to be only about the work I'm doing here! A forewarning for readers of the next post is that it will be a long one, and somewhat dry! But it's work that I'm extremely interested in and it's be great if some people out there could let me know what they think too!

Talk to ya'll soon,
$$ Bill

1 comment:

  1. You don’t choose the day you enter the world and you don’t chose the day you leave. It’s what you do in between that makes all the difference.
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