Welcome to the Canadian Co-operative Association's international development blog devoted to the Uganda/Malawi and Ghana coaching programs taking place in January 2011. With volunteers working on the frontline of development, experience the missions through their photos, words and videos.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Are we leaving already?

Stewart Oke - Uganda
This morning we woke to a beautiful sunny day…the rain has stopped and everything smells fresh and green.   That is the one thing about Uganda…it is very lush and productive.  The land is fertile and produces good crops as well as adequate feed for the cattle, goats, and other livestock.
Today was our final day with the Kagamba SACCO.   The road conditions had improved substantially with only a few soft spots remaining.  That is the beauty of clay…it dries and hardens quite quickly!!
Our meeting with the SACCO went well and our report was well received by everyone.  The board graciously considered our recommendations and asked some excellent questions to clarify how they could accomplish some of the recommendations.  It was rewarding to know that our hard work was appreciated.  
Friday will be our last day in Africa and a very busy day as well.  We have a meeting scheduled in the Morning with the Canadian Consulate here in Kampala and then we will spend the afternoon in de-brief meetings with the UCA.  From there we will head for the airport and catch the red-eye to London for the CCA de-brief.  And then HOME!!! 

Blake Reynolds - Malawi

Erin and Grace, Manager
Auction Holdings Employees SACCO
We made our presentation to the Auction Holding Employees SACCO this morning.  They are a pretty healthy SACCO with good leadership at both the board and management levels so it’s difficult in some ways to make many suggestions.  But that being said, our observations and suggestions were very well accepted, and it was sad to say good bye to these wonderful people.
  This afternoon we will re-joined with our other Malawi teammates at MUSCCO.  As we were already in Lilongwe, we were able to have an extra day with our SACCO which was very nice.   I’m really looking forward to hearing about their own adventures and stories, and perhaps sharing a few of my own.

Are we leaving already?  What an amazing two weeks!  When you arrive in Malawi, it’s laid back vibe makes you feel like you have all the time in the world.  “Malawi Time” really does sneak up on you.  Unfortunately this second week, the realisation dawns on you that there are things left to be done, places left to be seen, adventures yet to be had and stories yet to discovered…and time suddenly is not on your side.
Heidi Hyokki - Ghana
Heidi and Damien
As tomorrow is our last credit union evaluation, Damien and I are reflecting back on our top ten list of items that we have learnt in the last 12 days about Ghana....

#1 - If asked to attend a credit union AGM clarify BEFORE you say yes how long it is....BTW....the 2 that we attended were both 5 hours long!!!

#2 - If you ask how much further you will be told "it's not far".....always determine how far this really is as "it's not far" usually means 2 hours

#3 - Everything is "within walking distance" in Ghana

#4 - If you ask a question and it is answered with "okay" it's not

#5 - Unless you like to eat "soup" with your hands, don't order the fufu

#6 - If a Ghanaian makes a "clicking" sound while talking this is a good sign

#7 - You need to practice singing "It's a Small World"

#8 - The only safe food to eat is chicken & rice...and more chicken & rice...and even more chicken & rice

#9 - Always carry your own roll of toilet paper and bring extra immodium and a cork for the car rides that "aren't too far"

And finally........

#10 - Prepare to leave a little piece of you behind when you leave Ghana, as you will never forget the amazing people and cherished new friends you will meet.  :)

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