It turns out everyone in the world knows English 🙂 or at least pretends to- and that has made my experience here way easier than it could have been. This week I am thankful to live in a world where cross-cultural communication is becoming important enough for others to make strides toward learning global languages. I’m also glad that English is my mother tongue!
I’m not quite sure where to start this week, as being here for a while now things aren’t jumping out at me as much as in the beginning. But, that also means that nothing bad is standing out either. We had a strange traveling experience last weekend, and have truly come to love and appreciate the place we call home in the Akuapem Hills. Coming back to Naomi’s house has become a sign of relief and comfort, and I’m feeling rather lucky to have a host mom who has made life on the other side of the world so sweet. Speaking of Naomi- today is her 31st birthday! I’m not sure what a Ghanian birthday party entails, but my roommates and I decided to postpone our travels so we could have dinner with her. We ordered a cake to be specially made which will be picked up this afternoon, and we are so excited to surprise her with it later tonight!
This week at work was smooth sailing- a welcomed feeling after weeks of begging women to show up to meetings, be somewhat on time, and allow us to give personal advice for businesses struggling to make profits. On Monday and Tuesday our two new loan villages, Mampong Nkawanta and Korkormu, began their first loan repayments. In comparison to the existing villages, their attendance was stellar and we were also impressed by their desire to put some money aside for Projects Abroad to help them save. After more serious discussions with our Wednesday and Thursday villages last week, I was pleasantly surprised to see them making strides towards our requests for them to stay at the meetings longer than to only complete their weekly repayment. Because they took our request seriously, the microfinance supervisor, Gifty, was able to give a workshop on typhoid at each of these villages and her teaching was a huge success. From the outside, it might seem like typhoid workshops and loan beneficiary meetings have little in common- but because our women are merchants and often sell food as their business, we feel it is part of our job to teach them about social responsibility to their communities. The way that typhoid can spread often occurs through food, and based on the reactions, feedback, and questions of the women in Kwamoso and Akokoa, the information Gifty taught them was something they had never learned before. Hopefully her advice to them will encourage sanitary cooking and sales practices, as being hospitalized in a third world country is something no one enjoys.
Today is Friday, and on Fridays microfinance volunteers are only needed to come to the office and write a report of the week. Part of the package my Oma sent me (that arrived last week) was stickers and homemade dolls from her church back in Portland, OR. So this morning, because we have nothing but time, the other volunteer and I decided to visit the Projects Abroad orphanage- Adom Daycare Center- and give out the toys. We had such a lovely morning, filled with children hanging all over us shouting, “Aunty, aunty, pick me up!” and fighting over heart-shaped stickers. Their shy smiles and contageous giggles won us over, and we decided we’d return next Friday for a bit of play time before heading to work to write the report.
Overall it’s been another great and fast paced week, and I’m excited to make the most of my remaining time here in Ghana! Next week I will be on an airplane to Germany to begin studying abroad, but until then I have nine full days to get a nice sunburn in.