Meetings Meetings Meetings
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
The day starts with breakfast at St. John the Evangel rectory in Egyam—hard boiled eggs, Ghana bread, jam and porridge are served by Veronica the housekeeper.
We take the main highway through town to St. Mary’s Senior High School for boys to speak to the headmaster about ITC classes there. They too find working computers difficult to maintain, and never have enough. A couple of flat screen monitors are sitting next to the headmaster’s desk, not a good sign. The Computers they were used with are now defunct so the monitors are in the office for safe keeping. We learn that St. Mary’s instructors teach students how to use the computer and its software, but do not touch upon hardware, diagnostics or repair. The headmaster calls the head of Takoradi Technical Institute, one of the city’s vocational schools and learns that a new hardware course will be taught starting in September of 2012. The only problem is that the TTI headmaster is in Accra and we are unable to visit with him about the proposed course. It is this kind of instruction which could help bring about changes in the way Ghanaians deal with the repair, refurbishing and recycling of computer software. If E-quip Africa can assist in this process, we will, as it has been a long term goal of ours to provide assistance with the eventual end days of our donated computers’ usefulness.
We return to the rectory to finish packing and say our good-byes. It seems Monsignor Francis has been without the internet long enough and his withdrawal pains are too great so we see a USB device sticking out of the side of his old laptop which brings him the internet wirelessly at a great speed. Doug uses this serendipitous opportunity to check his facebook account to find contact information for Emmanuel Addo, a young man from Takoradi who helped him pair up classrooms in Duluth, Minnesota and Takoradi Ghana via email and Skype.
Emmanuel now works for Tigo, a cell phone service provider across Ghana and is at the airport this morning working with new clients and getting them set up for internet access. He could have supplied Monsignor with that USB receiver/transmitter on his laptop! Since we have decided to fly back to Accra we stop to see him and purchase our tickets for an afternoon flight. We spend barely an hour with him but learn that things are moving rapidly in Ghana and more and more people are getting “connected” to the cyber world outside Ghana’s borders.
Then it’s off for lunch with a high-spirited man by the name of Lord Tay. We meet and eat at Akroma Plaza, a glittering new complex not too far from Star of The Sea Cathedral. Doug has a cheeseburger and chips which turns out to be the first disappointing meal in Ghana for him. He recalls that one should not order fish at a steak house!
Lord Tay runs an NGO from his heart called New Beginnings and distributes books and other supplies to schools in the bush. He is delighted to be receiving several boxes of books from the container which we believe is still buried under red tape in Tema, some 6 hours away by automobile. We try to assure him that those books will eventually be in his hands.
We are surprised to hear Lord’s wife sells batiks in the Takoradi Central Market. Had we known that we would have held off on fabric purchases until today. We visit her stall in the interior section and decide we didn’t have enough cloth yet so we need to buy more. Hopefully our checked luggage will come in under the 50 pound limit with Delta!
Soon it’s time to return to the airport and check in for our flight to Accra. An automobile or bus trip with heavy road construction between here and there takes somewhere around 4 to 5 hours, but the flight is 30 minutes. For $62.50 U.S. Dollars we take advantage of the relatively new service between the larger cities of Ghana. StarBow is the airline, it’s a new company that is bending over backward to capture the market for regional flights, including this low fare. The jet is new, clean and smooth so we have a great trip with plenty of leg room. We ask if they would take us all the way to MSP, but for some reason they decline!
We taxi home (Alan & Philo’s home) and have another delightful evening meal with the Brittains. Meetings are arranged for the time remaining before we must board a larger plane for a much longer trip. The days ahead will be full!