I’d like to tell you a story. My last post indicated at the end that there was some tension in the house. While thankfully this only lasted an uncomfortable meal or two, it didn't fully remove the strain of the group. As you may also remember, I had alluded to things not quite going as we’d hoped. And this first leads me to confession time…
Those of you who were around me pre-travel knew I was trying my hardest to arrive in Ghana with few expectations. I’d like to think I did a pretty good job of that, being as I really only expected two things: 1. It would be hot. 2. I would be insanely busy. Before I proceed further, I need to make it perfectly clear that what I’m about to say is not an attempt to paint the organization I’m here with in a negative light. But, when it comes to my expectations for this trip only one has been correct – it’s friggin’ hot here!
I spoke with a "special friend" last weekend who excitedly asked what I've been doing, and all I could say was, “we did two workshops and a seminar.” He sounded almost as disappointed to receive this news, as I was to accept the reality that this is all that we had accomplished in nearly six weeks. Most days we are done by noon, leaving us ample downtime. At first it was nice, because we had an opportunity to explore Koforidua, and return to Cape Coast. But, this past week, I think the five of us had collectively had enough.
It’s Monday morning, we’re all at our usual meeting spot, knowing that our anticipated Friday activity had to be rescheduled. We arrived with the intention of developing a game plan, but were quickly greeted with the news that Tuesday and Thursday’s activities also had to be postponed. This meant that we had nothing going on this week, as Monday was to be used for preparations for the week’s activities, and Wednesday was planned for our Mid-Term Reports. I felt so deflated when I left that meeting. Well, I suppose I should say I felt even more deflated when I left that meeting.
Wednesday morning we met with William (the project coordinator) to discuss the current schedule we have for the remainder of our time. The goal of this meeting: to see what we can add to make us busier. I felt we left that meeting one a positive note. It was great! We brainstormed some more ideas that were relatively cheap to execute, and beefed up the calendar for the next six weeks. I think everyone was feeling pretty good about things, but we were anticipating a visit from Fred the next morning, so we were also feeling hopeful about the outcomes of our time with him. When Thursday came and went, the group was on a high only seen in the first week or two after our arrival. We made additional plans with Fred that gave responsibility to each group member, with an attempt to level the playing field.
So, here’s where I wish the story to begin. A week ago we saw a huge divide in the group. This led to a bit of tension for a few days, that I, personally, found challenging. We collectively felt demotivated on Monday morning, and then two days later, we came together to make the situation better! Now we’re on fire again, with new activities in the books, and little down time (It’s Saturday morning, and after breakfast I have to get to work for next week’s activities!)! This is what I came here for…or perhaps what I was expecting!
On Friday we broke into teams and tackled several items. I had the opportunity to travel to Nsawam with William where I feel we had the most productive meeting I've been in here. The partner we met with was responsive to the questions and ideas we brought with us, and I’m looking forward to the remaining activities we have planned for the area. And this, my friends, sums up the tale of making lemonade out of lemons!