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Crunch Time

DSCF1572 With only two weeks left in my project, I have really gotten down to crunch time. Now that I have compiled as much information as I can in the span of time I have, I sat down to write a strategy document. One of my biggest challenges has been narrowing down the focus of the strategy. Unfortunately the Ghana YMCA does not have any staff responsible specifically for marketing and communications. What should be one full-time position is dispersed across a number of people in a scattered and unclear way. Internal communication needs to be addressed but could make an entire new strategic document. That being said, I found as I was writing the document that it was difficult to limit what I was including. My initial goal of 10 pages was pushed to 40 pretty quickly. Luckily my supervisor, Samuel, has been really great at helping me focus the document and make it relevant to the Ghana YMCA and easy to implement.

Most of the week was spent furiously typing away, reading and re-reading and fiddling with Table of Contents tools. Some highlights were: one of the national service persons (every university student is placed with an organization for a year after they graduate – the YMCA has 5 students) teaching me how to use SPSS (a stats program that I have never had any contact with before), me attempting to teach her excel in return, and trying to give Samuel typing tips (I’m trying to convince him that it’s more efficient to type with all 10 fingers rather than just 2…).

One other highlight I want to describe are meetings in Ghana. I may be the only one, and these meetings may be odd because I am an Obruni (what Ghanaians call white people), but I find them so entertaining. Alex, Samuel and myself had a meeting with the Principle of a school on Monday – she is an amazingly friendly woman and is responsible for creating a really great school. The meeting was intended to be a short, informal relationship-building visit. We walked into her office and it appeared she was in the middle of a meeting with two teachers and two students. I started making my apologies and began to leave the room when we were ushered to sit in on the remainder of their meeting. While they were actively discussing the turnover of the student body and lack of enforced cleanliness from the students, we were offered a slice of watermelon. Then we were “offered” (forced to take) another slice. All while sitting in on what seemed to be a pretty serious meeting. This continued on for a little while, with lunch being offered, followed by juice later on. Meetings continued throughout. At one point I looked over (we had moved to the table beside where the meetings were happening to eat lunch) and the Principle was casually lounging/laying on her couch while discussing something with a teacher.

Cell phone use is also hysterical. Just like in Canada, everyone is addicted to their cell phone. Except Ghanaians are unabashedly open about their cell phone use. In the middle of meetings, people will answer their phones and have a full conversation in front of everyone. Presenters will stop talking to take a call in front of an entire audience. Everyone has two cell phones and running out of credit is always on the mind. I have felt right at home in this cell phone-obsessed environment!

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