Posted by: devonhamilton | October 25, 2010

Last week in Takoradi!

This week flew by for all of us – I think we really hit our stride. Dividing the workshops between the five of us has been a big help because it means that while we are giving a workshop, we know someone else is planning the next one. Week 4 is now officially our last full week in Takoradi. We will be giving workshops everyday this week, and then our final report on Takoradi is due on November 3rd. November 4th is our travel day to Koforidua and we begin workshops there the following Monday (November 8th). For those who don’t remember, Koforidua is two hours North of Accra (see a map under the “Where I am Staying” tab).

We’ve found out that in Koforidua three of us will have our own rooms, and two of us will be sharing a room – quite a change from sharing one room between the five of us! Koforidua will be a different experience from Takoradi in that it is a more rural setting than the urban setting we are experiencing here; we will also be working extensively with “peer mentors” there who are in our age group, who have been trained in various topics previously, including HIV/AIDS from the last YCI group this past summer. From what we know they are interested in learning more about proposal writing in order to secure funding for future community outreach projects.

We continued to do workshops on the MDGs, with a focus on MDG 1 (eradicate poverty), 2 (universal primary education) and 3 (promote gender equality). At OIC we gave our general MDG overview to a new group of students, and then presented workshops on proposal writing and project management to the teachers. I was nervous about the proposal writing workshop because there is a lot to cover, and we only had an hour and a half. We also needed to go over a logical framework analysis (LFA) during this workshop, which is something we spent the whole year perfecting at school! The teachers were interested and understood the LFA enough to ask us some questions about it at the end. According to our post-test they would like us to cover the LFA in more depth, so that is something we will have to look into for our last workshops there this upcoming Friday. Our post-tests are also showing that a lot of the information from our workshops is being absorbed by the students so we’re happy to see some of the impact we are making.

On Saturday we took the day off and visited one of the hotels on the beach here in Takoradi. You can pay a small fee there to use their pool (12 cedis) and generally just lounge around, and I think it was worth it! The food there was really good too (although more expensive than what we are accustomed to), and between the six of us we tried snapper (grilled & barbeque), macaroni & cheese, and the beef burger. Part of the day was overcast but luckily the rain didn’t come until after we were finished dinner. We’ve also been playing a lot of Hearts, but I still need to learn Euchre.

We were invited to attend a Presbyterian Church service on Sunday. The service is in English from 7am-9:30am and a Twi (pronounced “chwee”) service from 10am-12pm. The Twi service would have been interesting to see but we were more concerned about knowing what was being said, so we went to the early service with our friend from the community, Augustine. There was singing and of course some dancing. We also had to come to the front and introduce ourselves to the entire congregation; so I am “Devon” but my Ghanaian name is “Esi” as I am born on a Sunday (as are two of the other girls). All the women at Church were wearing such nice traditional clothes that it made me wish I had ordered something more traditional than just a skirt from the tailor here! The clothes we are having custom-made are not going to be ready until next Friday. He had a sample skirt that I really liked (with pockets!) so I’m having that made and apparently I have enough fabric for a shirt, too. Pictures to come soon!

Other news: I had my first bout with sickness this week, as I was up all night after eating spicy rice that tasted a little fishy (literally). Lesson learned – if your food tastes suspicious, stop eating it. I was lucky in that it only lasted overnight and I didn’t have to take any medication. I’ve also finished both “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl who Played with Fire” and I don’t understand what all the hype was about. Does anyone agree with me here? Every 5 seconds the characters are described as “frowning” or having their eyes “darken.” It just didn’t do it for me. In all fairness they did keep my attention and I finished them pretty quickly, but at the end I just felt “meh”. Now I am on to “Eat, Pray, Love” which I have also heard mixed things about. Other ways we are entertaining ourselves: We have watched all of Season 1 and half of Season 2 of “The Big Bang Theory.” We also have gotten our hands on “Bored to Death” but we’ve only watched one episode so far. I have also enjoyed texting with some of you at home – if I haven’t texted you it is because I don’t know your cell number by heart. I know you all have my number, so text away!

Last time I saw a TV it said that it was 33 degrees in Accra, so I would say that’s more or less the temperature that we’ve been experiencing. The rain made it cold enough last night for me to put on the long sleeve shirt I hadn’t touched since Amsterdam, and didn’t think I would touch again until I return to Amsterdam on December 13th. Hope everyone in Canada is well – we’ve heard from friends who have already had to put on their winter jackets or had snow (so sorry to hear that).

I am hoping that we have our final report on Takoradi completed one day early (November 2) so I can spend my birthday on the 3rd sitting under a palm tree before the big move to Koforidua. We’ll see what happens!


  1. Both Dragon Tattoo AND Fire, were awesome. Hornet’s Nest was mah!! How was Mr. Pip?

    • That’s dissapointing, I was hoping that Hornet’s Next would really sell me on the series. I need to finish Mr. Pip when I get back – didn’t think it would do well in the African sun. Miss you guys!

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