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Back to Accra – Last Weekend in Ghana

Time is a funny thing. When things are slow, your counting the minutes as they pass. But just when you are about to run out of it, you’re desperate for more. With only a few days left in Ghana I am definitely wishing I had a bit more time here. There’s still so much I want to do and see and learn. In my last couple of weeks I’ve been feeling very comfortable and ready to push myself outside of my comfort zone a little more. I would love to learn more Twi (the predominant language in Accra) and explore the city I’ve been living. But alas, right when something is about to end is usually when it’s at it’s best. I’m sure if I still had 3 months to go I would be having different sentiments. I can’t pretend that I’m also not excited to get home and see my friends and family, let my legs heal from the mosquito bites, and let my skin cool off a bit (and oh yes – really really appreciate a hot shower and consistent electricity).

I leave Ghana Monday night so the weekend is filled with attending blog camp (will explain in a bit), completing the final version of my strategy document, completing all other reports that must be done for YCI and the YMCA (Final Activity Report, evaluations, debriefs, and so on), packing, and saying goodbyes – although I hate goodbye’s so I’ll be saying ‘see you’ instead.

I was also able to have a little fun. A friend’s birthday party was on Friday so we had a big bbq at Obruni House (the hostel I stay at), where Master Chef Ali cooked his famous chicken and Senay the birthday boy provided fresh salad (!!) and naan. Senay is one of those amazing people who is genuinely really good friends with everyone. This was made clearly apparent by the 3 separate birthday cakes he received!! Marketa (another friend from the hostel) and I tried to bake him a cake (ok Marketa baked him a cake… anyone reading this who has seen me in the kitchen knows I’m more of a sideline encourager than in-the-action baker) in the little oven I have in my apartment. The cake was very tasty if I do say so myself. Unfortunately we were totally shown up by a delicious black forest cake and an ice cream cake!! Oh well, I got to enjoy all three so no complaints on my end!

With such little time left, there is really no point in resting or taking it easy. Saturday was an action packed day where myself and Freda (the National Service Person who works under Samuel so works on the Facebook Page and website) attended Blog Camp 2013 hosted by BloggingGhana. My friend Sharifah, who is a social media/NGO specialist, told me about Blog Camp when I first arrived in Ghana so I have been excited about this for quite awhile. And the blog camp really met all expectations. In the morning, speakers discussed topics such as the importance of blogging, copyright and plagiarism, Internet freedom and censorship, and a panel discussion with Ghana Decides – an NGO that used social media to educate and inform Ghanaians about the elections that recently took place. In the afternoon, there were two breakout sessions where each attendee (there were about 250 people there) was able to pick between 3 different sessions. Freda and I attended Social Media for Organizations and How Social Media Pays. Both were very informative and helpful sessions – especially the first session, as it coincided very nicely with what I’m trying to do with the YMCA. I learned a lot and even won a prize! Woot woot! Although I gave the prize to Freda because I figured she would appreciate it more and I don’t need anything extra to pack. One of the best parts of the day was that Freda really enjoyed the workshop too. She seemed very engaged and after the session when we were chatting she said she had learned a lot from me. I was really touched and felt that if nothing else comes of this trip and the work I’ve done, that comment was enough for me ☺.
Accra-20130323-00206

The fun did not end at Blog Camp however! Directly after that finished, I rushed home to meet Alex (my work colleague, roommate, and other half in Ghana) to attend a production of Les Miserables by the Ghana International School at the National Theater. I’ve had some surreal experiences while in Ghana, but I think this one takes the cake. The Ghana International School is a very well known private school in Accra and I guess every year they put on a musical production. The National Theater is in itself very interesting – a building that looks like an attempt to replicate the Guggenheim with white wavy architecture but with an African vibe. Alex and I really did not know what to expect from this play – our friend Sam had bought tickets but gave them to us when him and his girlfriend couldn’t attend. Actually, I think we expected to see 11 year olds bumbling around attempting to reproduce Les Mis. What we got was completely different. The kids (they seemed to be around high school age) were amazing. I was convinced they were lip-syncing because they were SO good – especially the two kids who played Jean Valjean and Eponinne. If I was an agent, I would have sought those kids out and tried to sign a record deal. So impressive. And the rest of the cast, the set and the costumes were really great too. It was definitely something else seeing all these Ghanaian high school students singing in Cockney or old English accents. We weren’t planning on staying for the whole thing (we had pre-emptively discussed our escape if it was horrible) but were so captivated that we watched the whole thing – and it’s a pretty long play. Turns out, if you’re ever in Ghana you can catch a pretty good production of Les Mis!
Accra-20130323-00215

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