Ghana

Peace and Rick Honeymoon

After spending a few days at home to recover, Peace and I headed off to Elmina for a quick honeymoon break. We booked two nights at the Coconut Grove Beach Resort. It was a lovely spot: nice rooms and well-maintained grounds. But Peace was very annoyed that the coconuts growing on premises, far from being free for guests, in fact cost more than buying them in Accra. The lovely honeymoon gift display from the hotel more than made up for the expensive coconuts!

Peace & Rick Traditional Marriage

On Saturday August 23rd, 2014, two weeks and a day after our formal civil ceremony at the Registrar in Accra, Peace and I celebrated our traditional marriage. Peace had numerous family members in attendance: her mother Grace Ntim, her sister Veronica and brother Emmanuel from Kasoa, her niece Maggie and husband Edem from Ho, brother Mensah from Wusuta in Volta Region and aunts and uncles. Cousin Charles did the prayers and blessings and other cousins from Takoradi were in attendance.

Peace & Rick Marriage Signing

Today, the eighth of August, 2014, my Ghanaian partner Peace Nanafio and I were married in a civil ceremony at the Registrar General’s Office in Accra. We arrived early and were given a bouquet of plastic flowers and a slip of paper with the number 4, our position in the queue. By our 9AM start time there were at least six more couples seated in the queue. We were asked to enter the room where the ceremony was to take place and we witnessed couple number 3.

Christmas Vacation - 2013

This Christmas vacation Peace and I decided to take a few days of vacation away from Accra. We packed a few things and Peace, Kofia and headed off. We spent the first night in a hotel in Cape Coast that I knew from my travels working on the Ghana Education Decentralization project. On the next day we visited Kakum National Park in the morning. Peace, pretending not to be scared on the hanging walkway in Kakum Park.

Peace's Father's First Anniversary

Roughly a year after the death of Peace’s father we organized an anniversary celebration in his home town of Anfoega in the Volta Region. Although Anfoega was her father’s town, Peace never knew the village or its people. She was raised by her mother in Wusuta, also in the Volta Region, and then by her elder sister Veronica in Accra. We stayed with Peace’s mother and brother in Wusuta. This was our chance to see first-hand progress on construction we have been sponsoring for a new house for Peace’s mother.

A Picnic at Aburi Gardens

Peace had been promising to take me to Aburi Gardens for over a year. Finally, on the Muslim holiday in October, we packed a picnic lunch and set out. The gardens date back to the British colonial days. You still see evidence of the English garden aesthetic in the careful lines of trees and the arrangement of the beds. Peace is enjoying a kalabash of palm wine.

STHEYA Family Trip to Boti Falls in Eastern Region

STHEYA First Lady Regina rests on a rock. Peace poses in front of the 'fertility tree' Interesting hanging rock. Hey! I'm way down here! Sitting in the shade of the rock. Sure hope it stays where it is. At the base of Boti Falls. Striking a pose. Rita and the kids snap a picture.

STHEYA 21st Anniversary

Unlike the STHEYA 20th Anniversary, we celebrated the 21st Anniversary at the church with just a light lunch after second mass. Peace with Victor Antwi, one of the early STHEYA presidents. Honorable STHEYA Secretary Gavu gets into the picture.

Easter Picnic - 2013

Has it really been a year since my first St. Theresa’s Church Picnic? Last year the picnic was held at the local school, but this year the weather was raining and the field was a mess so we decided to relocate the STHEYA participation to Barbara’s house. Peace sister Veronica joined us for the picnic. Peace and Vero. One of the Reverend Sisters joined us.

Victor Antwi's Fiftieth Birthday Party

For his fiftienth birthday former STHEYA President Victor Antwi threw a huge bash at his new home near the Accra suburb of Ayirifa. Doesn't Suzi look elegant? Peace in profile. Victor with Suzi Victor and wife Margaret Victor kicks up his heels. Looking great at 50! Peace and me in a quiet mood.

Christmas Vacation - 2012

This Christmas vacation we took a short trip to Okosombo with our friend Doris and her two boys. We overnighted in a guest house in Okosombo and then spent the following day at Sujuna Beach Resort. I had visited Sajuna Beach earlier in the year on our company “away day” and was sure Kofi and his two best friends would enjoy it. I wasn’t disappointed; they had a blast! Doris and her eldest Ekow.

STHEYA 20th Anniversary Celebration

Peace and Kofi are dressed in their STHEYA Anniversary cloth. And so are Peace and Rick. Not sure what I think of my dress. Isn't Kofi a great looking boy. STHEYA planted this palm tree twenty years ago. Look at it now. As it has grown so has STHEYA! Father gives STHEYA his blessing. A group shot.

Peace's Fortieth Birthday Bash

Peace turned forty on March 28th, 2012. But because her birthday fell in Lent this year it was decided to postpone the celebration until after Easter. So it was that Peace’s fortieth birthday bash was held on April 14th. Happy Birthday Love This was my first experience with putting on such a party in Ghana and it was quite an event. We spent weeks collecting the food and drinks, organizing the “spinner” (the DJ), table and chair rentals, preparing invitations, contacting friends and relatives.

Easter Picnic - 2012

Every Easter St. Theresa’s Catholic Church organizes a picnic at the Junior High School on Palace Street in North Kaneshie. This was really my first appearance with Peace at a church social event. We sat in one corner of the playing field with other members of the St. Theresa’s Youth Association or STHEYA. There were sack races and scrabble tables, but the premier contest, as expected, was the annual East Footbal Grudge Match.

A Visit to Anfoega

Peace with her mother Grace Ntim and sister Affie Peace's father Raphael Nanafio Peace, mother, sister and father. A guy from the house shows the clay tablets he makes. People eat them to settle their stomach. It's cool under the thatched roof.

Goodbye Jake

I met Jake (John Spraklin) at my WUSC posting. He was the “Documentation Specialist” and I was the “Network Specialist.” With all the travelling the job entailed, we spent a lot of time together on the road and became good friends. As the GEDP project was winding to a close Jake was heading back to his home town in Sarnia, Ontario. We got together for one last drink up at Asanka Local in Madina.

The Canteen

Peace works at Ghana’s Centre for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR). She has been running the canteen at CSIR since two-thousand eight. As it turns out CSIR is walking distance from the WUSC offices in East Legon where I have been working for the past five months. I’ve been eating lunch at the canteen for a couple of months but that will come to an end as I am about to start a new job working for Busylab in just a few more days.

First Date at Next Door Beach

I first met Peace on December 23rd, 2011 at Chez Afrique, a favourite hang-out of mine and, as it turned out, also Peace. Peace and her friend Joyce were dancing at their table. I walked up and asked Peace if should would like to dance. She said, “I am dancing.” Anyway, I joined them and was immediately taken with this funny, friendly Ghanaian woman. The very next day I called and made our first date.

EDUnet Launch

After more than a few false starts EDUnet, the flag ship information system of the Ghana Education Decentralization Project, officially “launched” on December 20th, 2011. Officials from the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) spoke hopefully about the transition from the current system based on paper forms, snail mail and sneaker net to a more digital approach to managing the GES.

Harmattan is Here

I woke up one morning earlier this week to a pale, grey-blue haze. For now the seemingly endless days of bright blue skies have gone with the arrival of the Harmattan, a dry and dusty trade wind from the north. If you believe Wikipedia (and who doesn’t) the wind passes over the Sahara picking up ultra fine particles of dust on its way. Night temperatures drop, humidity gets nose-bleed inducingly low and even air traffic is affected.

More Pictures from EDUnet Launch

Ghana news media setting up in preparation for the briefing. Mr. Victor Note leads the group in a prayer for a successful launch. USAID Chief of Mission, Mrs Cheryl Anderson congratulates the partners and team. GES ICT Administrator, Mr. Atta-Williams describes the new GES Sharepoint Portal. GEDP ICT Development Lead, Mr. David Ofori-Atta fields a question from the audience.

On the Road for User Training

For the past two weeks the GEDP Team has been travelling to each of the 10 regions in Ghana. The purpose of these regional visits is two-fold: to report back to the Regional Education Decentralization Advisory Committees (REDAC) on the draft decentralization framework and to conduct monitoring of ICT user training being provided to region and district staff on the use of desktop computers and software applications required by the new framework.

Settling Into Accra

Accra is a great bustling city located in West Africa on the Gulf of Guinea. The WUSC office where I spent my first week of orientation is located in a suburb of Accra called Haatso (pronounced hawtcho) and our temporary accommodation at the Suma Court Hotel was a just a short but sweaty walk away. In our second week we joined the rest of the GEDP Project Team at the project office in East Legon, another suburb of Accra located not far from the University of Ghana campus.

Kwaku Ricky!

While English is the language taught in school and the language of commerce in Ghana there are also many traditional languages spoken. Of these Twi (tchwee) is the most universally understood, although many people will speak another language unique to their region. Today, day three of our in-country orientation, was an introduction to Twi for visitors. The first Twi word any visitor to Ghana will learn is “akwaaba” meaning welcome. This is as it should be; in my short time here I have found Ghanaians to be incredibly welcoming people.