Audio Post

22 Aug

Mark checks in from Tamale, Ghana on his way to Kpandai. It sounds like getting text and images out might be a challenge once he gets to his placement, but this seemed to work pretty well so hopefully we’ll get regular updates.

“Hello and welcome to Radio Kpandai, a special edition of the Engineeers Without Borders Broadcasting Centre or EWBBC. This is Mark Abbott reporting: I’m a pro junior fellow with Engineers Without Borders Canada, a member of the Vancouver Pro Chapter and from mid-August to December 2010 I will be working in Kpandai town a town of 7,500 people in Kpandai district of 100,000 people in the northern region of Ghana and I will be working with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in that district which is an office of about 15 people.

So this is my first broadcast. It’s been a bit of a journey to get this far: I was selected for the placement I think in March, there was a lot of reading, learning and mentoring in Vancouver to prepare me for a week of pre-departure training in Toronto which was quite intensive, where I got a chance to meet the other 5 PJFs who would be coming overseas with me. 3 of us are going to working with MoFA and one other with another program. After pre-departure training we had a crazy couple-of-days flight that took us from, I guess all the way from my cushy apartment in Vancouver to the EWB house in Toronto, and then the flight took us to Istanbul where we got a chance to see the Blue Mosque and tour around, and to Cairo where we got a chance to see the pyramids, then to Accra which is the capital of Ghana, then up to Tamale which is sort of the northern capital, where I am now, and then in a couple of days I head to Kpandai.

So it’s kind of been steps from 1st word luxury, and when I wind up in Kpandai I’ll be pretty far off the beaten path. It’s interesting where I am now because there are a lot of students and volunteers who are passing through Tamale as we are starting our placements they are coming out of theirs. So it’s interesting to see a lot of the people come from more remote towns and seeing sort of culture-shock as they are adapting to being in some ways I guess more lush surroundings but in other ways somewhat less personal surroundings.

So good question: “What are you going to be doing?”

Well I’ll be with the MoFA office – EWB is helping to pilot an agriculture program where agriculture agents who work in the office go out and work with farmers and try to help with business skills along with the technical skill, technical farming skills they normally teach, also I’m going to be working on building some net competencies into the management of the office. So that’s sort of a brief overview, I’ll give more on that later.

Generally I’m feeling pretty positive. I guess from my travels I’ve seen developing countries, but I haven’t ever really spent much time anywhere as rural as Kpandai, so I guess there will be a bit of culture shock yet.

So a brief summary and a first broadcast. I hope this works out OK and it will be my goal to send something every week. From a culutrual perspective, I’m trying not to use my left my hand which is considered quite rude in many circumstances here because your left hand is traditionally used for cleaning yourself, so I’ll have to really work on not holding my chin and scratching my nose with my left hand because it’s one of those things will really set you apart as an Abruni, or white guy.

Thank you all very much for listening and following my blog. My internet is going to be pretty patchy in Kpandai, but please feel free to email me, or give a try on texting me on my cell numbers. Questions, comments or just to let me know you’re out there!

Bye-bye from Tamale, soon to be Kpandai, and hopefully we’ll talk to you next week.”

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2 Responses to “Audio Post”

  1. Michelle Nicholson August 22, 2010 at 11:21 pm #

    Loved the audio post! Sounds like you have already had some great adventures…we are all thinking about you here and cheering you on!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Audio Post « Your Man In Africa -- Topsy.com - August 23, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Brian Magee, mwjabbott. mwjabbott said: Audio Post: http://wp.me/pZk9x-2J […]

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