Thoughts from an agricultural development gal in Ghana


This probably sounds weird, but it’s amazing how often I’m reminded of my cottage in Ghana.

Lately I can close my eyes, feel the sun on my face and cool breeze in my hair, and picture Georgian Bay stretching out in front of me. And sometimes when I’m riding my moto, it sounds like a motorboat bouncing across the waves (luckily I don’t close my eyes for that one).

Beautiful Georgian Bay

But when I open my eyes, I’m back in Ghana – and I’m happy for this. Ghana has really grown on me in the last 5 months. I think I complained at first: “Ghana is an ugly country, there’s no physical beauty in this land”. But as the dry season gives way to rain, I’ve discovered that it’s actually a beautiful landscape – green vegetation, blue skies dotted with clouds, sunrises and sunsets to die for, and the craziest storm clouds and lightning in the world.

I’m starting to see beauty everywhere I look, beyond the physical landscape to the gentle sway of women’s hips as they carry firewood along the road, past the chaos of the market to the brightly-coloured clothing of the market vendors, underneath the dirt on childrens’ faces to the smiles in their eyes as they run to greet me when I get home.

My work is busy and every day is full of purpose. I have a wonderful team of inspiring people to work with, both in EWB and MoFA. Every day I go home to a simple family who welcomes me without a second thought.

Team MoFA

And I realize why it feels like the cottage: I’m happy here.


6 responses

  1. Julie

    Hey Erin, I`m so glad to hear that you are enjoying your time in Ghana! I love reading your blog posts – you are such an eloquent writer and so inspiring! I am in the Explore program in Chicoutimi right now and I really love it ; ) It is going by very quickly because it is lots of fun! After the program I think I will stay for a week or two longer and do the ‘tour de lac St Jean’ by bike and some other touristy things… Keep up the great work! Love Julie

    July 23, 2010 at 1:18 am

  2. Don Bradley

    July 24, 2010
    ERIN: You don’t know me, but my wife, Edna and I are usually table mates here at Tranquility with your Grandmother. She has kept us informed of your adventures in Ghanna and have let us read some of your blog submissions. Your Dad provided your blog address and suggested I might get your reports directly. I have a question that Ann suggests I ask you. Do the adults in their busy lives providing food , have time for recreation or reading?
    Don B.

    July 25, 2010 at 1:59 am

    • Hi Don,
      I’m happy to hear from you, thanks for reading my blog! My Gramma is always talking about you and your wife and I think she appreciates having someone to talk to about what I’m doing here in Ghana. So thanks for that!
      As for your question, yes people do have time for recreation, though reading is not very common – many people are illiterate, especially above a certain age, and books are not a common possession as they can get ruined easily in this climate. However, people do lots of other activities for recreation, from singing and dancing on special occasions, to just sitting and chatting in the evening. In addition, people find social time during their work, for example as men farm their fields and women walk to fetch water or do other household tasks. “Work” here is not very separate from “life”, meaning that the tasks of caring and providing for a family are interwoven with friendships and laughter. It’s a beautiful thing to see, while at the same time heartbreaking because people have to work so hard to do things that we in Canada take for granted, like turning on a tap to get hot water.
      Anyway, I hope that answered your question! Thanks again for reading. And tell my Gramma I’ll call her this week!

      July 27, 2010 at 10:49 am

  3. Leah

    Hey Erin!
    I’m catching up on blog posts and just wanted to say I loved this one 🙂 It touched my feely side, especially because sometimes when I’m in Waterloo, I can close my eyes and feel like I’m actually sailing on Georgian Bay! So I found it interesting/relatable to hear that you feel the same way in Ghana. It really is a beautiful feeling.

    All the best,

    August 4, 2010 at 10:03 pm

  4. Don Bradley

    Aug 06, 2010
    Hi Erin: Sorry for the delay; I couldn’t find my way to here without help from our daughter.
    Thanks for the information about leisure time of your host family. It raised the question in my mind about the education system. Is education now different than when the current adults were children ? Do both boys and girls have equal opportunity and to what age ? Are the schools run by the government ? (Iam assuming that before independence religious groups were involved) Does your sponsoring group participate in the education process ?
    These questions arise when I try to compare Ghannian life stile with that of Canadians farming in the early 20th century.
    Best wishes for success in your venture.
    Don B.

    August 6, 2010 at 4:04 pm

  5. Olivia

    I love the photo of the kids! And I’m glad to hear that you’re so happy 🙂


    August 16, 2010 at 11:26 pm

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