A short Twi lesson:
Korkormu is pronounced “kakum”
Kokrobite is pronounced “coco-bit-uh”
A written r is a silent r! Why do they still write r’s if Twi is mostly spoken? I wish I knew.
I’d like to make a special announcement that we had a *magical* and extremely western Saturday in Accra. Not only did we find real fruit smoothies, but also a bakery and SUSHI! I truly love Ghana- the people, the tros, the same five Twi songs playing endlessly everywhere you go- but there is nothing like comfort food to make your day/week/month 10x better.
This week in my microfinance I found myself much busier and more useful than last week, and for that I am grateful. I was excited to teach a healthy eating/ hypertension workshop at each of the villages, especially because I experienced firsthand the lack of energy women described during the “challenges at work” section of the interviews I previously conducted. Teaching this workshop was important to me because I am positive these women have no idea how much better they can feel if they were to alter their diets slightly. A majority of the groups we talked to this week said that they usually ate fruit once a week, and their vegetable consumption was limited to onions and garlic. I don’t know if garlic is even considered a vegetable (I don’t know a lot of things!!!). I have a huge problem with the lack of healthy diet here because fruits and vegetables are abundant and cheap. There should be no reason why a child isn’t eating the plantains growing in their backyard! It felt good to do what we could and encourage these women to feed themselves better, whether to live longer or prevent diseases or even solely to become a merchant with more energy and determination.
Along with the healthy eating portion of the workshop, we taught about high blood pressure and also took the blood pressure of each woman who attended the meetings. Although none of this sounds like microfinance, the other part of my position here is teaching women things they probably don’t know- and this week that looked like nutrition and health.
At two of the villages we taught at, we were also finally able to administer the first ever loans to each group. I am so glad to have been here for the entire process- from going to these new villages for the first time with Projects Abroad, to inviting women and interviewing each of them, selecting the best candidates and then dispursing money to those I helped pick. It feels very whole and rewarding to be a part of an organization whose sole purpose is to better the lives of those in the community. Women who received loans were ecstatic, thankful, and generous with their wishes of “God to bless me” in return for helping them. Women who didn’t receive the first loans remained determined to be chosen next, which is an attitude I like to see. What a privilege it is to be able to watch womens’ lives change from such a short distance.
Aside from work and play this week, it has proven to be an interesting time to be in the hills. Some say Ghana isn’t a great representation of Africa because it has become so westernized, but I am currently witnessing day five of a weeklong funeral for a King and/or Chief (no one seems to know) who died ten years ago. I’d say it doesn’t get much more African. The President of Ghana has come to stay in the hills to attend the funeral, a police truck full of armed soldiers shooting commemorative gunshots and local men playing bongos just drove by, and every tree and building for twenty miles are decorated with red and black ribbon. This is a first for Projects Abroad staff and Obronis, and we’ve been advised day-in and day-out to be “extra cautious” this week. Schools have been shut down from here to Accra due to fears of an old practice stemming from Ghanian traditional religion. I won’t go into detail because it’s unnecessary and outdated, and so far everyone in Akuapem Hills has remained safe. That being said, we were encouraged to travel over the weekend and will now be sitting on Kokrobite Beach for Saturday-Sunday instead of at home.
I am in disbelief and awe that my fifth week has come and gone, and I am excited to make the most of my last three weeks in Ghana. I continue to appreciate your messages, questions and prayers- please don’t ever hesitate to reach out to me!