25th February 2015
It has already been a week since we first set foot on Ghanaian ground. After a long journey on both train and plane, we found the driver who would have brought us to our hostel in Accra. Our plan was to stay there for two nights in order to arrange all the necessities, such as a plane ticket to Tamale and a Ghanaian SIM-card. However, this was not as easy as we had thought: the way things are well arranged in the Netherlands is not the same as it is over here. Luckily for us, we found a Ghanaian friend on our second day, who showed us all of Accra and where to find everything we needed. For example, in order to pay for our plane tickets, we had to go to a specific bank and pay in cash. Since Myrthe forgot the battery of her Nikon camera, we had to find one on the local market. Our Ghanaian friend saved us a lot of time doing so. Although the tourists at the hostel told us that arranging one thing a day over here would already be a lot, we seemed to be lucky. However, this luck changed considerably the next upcoming days. On the second day in Accra, Myrthe found out her MacBook started to melt at the bottom, because of the heat. Furthermore, Accra’s power delivery is only working for 12 hours, then it is shut down for 24 hours. Nobody could say with certainty at what hour the power would be turned on again, which means everyone was running to their power supplies to charge everything; this was the first point we came across that would be of importance for our project.
On Friday the 20th we took the plane towards Tamale, Northern Ghana. After a delay of one hour, and also a one-hour flight, we arrived there and were picked up by Francis, our UDS contact and a friend. He drove us to our next habitat, an enormous villa located outside of Tamale town. At first this seemed really nice, but we were slightly disappointed to discover that we have not been situated at the UDS campus, in order to get in contact with ICT4D (Information and Communication Technology for Development) professionals. We planned to discuss this during our next meeting with Francis. He told us he did not have a lot of time, but that he could meet us at a later stage. Unfortunately, the next day we received a text message stating that he did not have time that day, and our meeting would have been postponed to the next day, together with his father, UDS professor Saa Dittoh. During this meeting we interviewed Francis about his knowledge of the project and the environment and his father explained to us that we could stay at a village nearby Bolgatanga (North-Ghana, near the Burkina Faso border), from Wednesday on. However, today is Wednesday, and we are still in Tamale, which is an urban context instead of a rural one and therefore useless for data gathering. Our trip to the village has now been delayed at least until Sunday March the 1st, which means that there is little time left for Gossa to experience the village life and for us to translate the local needs and wishes into an ICT device. The time that it takes to manage things we wish to achieve remains quite disappointing; however, we keep our heads up and hope that eventually things turn out as we aimed for.
We will keep you updated and hope to come back with some exciting data for our project, Knowledge Sharing for the Rural Poor.
Gossa Lo and Myrthe van der Wekken