Dear Nii Kpakpo,
So I finally get a chance to go to the Upper West thanks to GhanaThink initiative in BarCamp Wa and you think I’d pass it up? Not for all the tea in China. One problem though, I was broke.
So when a swag volunteer
Peter wanted passengers to contribute to get gas so the Tamale team could be represented at the event we jumped in and were ready to go even without thinking about it.
Kpakpo, one lesson I learnt this past weekend is to reaffirm the power of social media and the importance of having friends in high places. You remember I said we didn’t have fuel but then I made a call to a sweet aunt at GOIL and even amidst their current disaster management and bad press, she came through for me and ensured we were provided with just the right amount of fuel to tide us up on the journey to Wa. Didn’t tell the team until I knew it was settled and we were all happy cos it wouldn’t be about just staying in one place when we got to Wa. We could move about freely.
Nii Kpakpo, we were so excited about going on the road trip that some of us didn’t Sleep the night before the trip. The almost 200miles was gonna be a lot of fun. Our breakfast in Damango, an hour drive away from Tamale, was hot porridge, which somebody couldn’t drink cos too hot, and very hot burloaf straight off the fire out of the oil.
Oh and yes, when we saw a huge billboard of the local radio station PAD fm, you can imagine our excitement at the name especially with what it connotes.
The excitement was so much that our driver developed a lead foot and sped down the Long winding coal tar roads through Larabanga, Sawla and several other towns past a hippo sanctuary on our way to Wa. The four hour journey was made in just three and half making us get to the venue very early enough to even help set up for the program.
Nii Kpakpo Thompson with regards to the Barcamp Wa itself the program began with a discussion on what Wa has to offer as a one of the fastest growing cities in Ghana, which we believe is mostly due to the university situated in the city. Participants discussed and suggested what they thought was indigenous to the community and that part of the savanna.
Oh! Yours truly made contribution about the lovely water bodies you see as you drive into the city.
Anyemi, in yo vast experience around the world, you ever come across speed dating. Well in the Barcamp we have a session based on the same idea and we call it speed mentoring where participants get to interact with mentors in different fields related to the theme. Yours truly has been found to be a user of social media and volunteered to be mentoring on social media. It was fun meeting people who in this age knew about Facebook and email but never used it. They were untouched by the modern day electronics even though they had phones and were in computer school.
Then there was lunch. Oh Yeah! We need food for the mental metabolism to work. All the while from the time the program began there was sobolo on tap constantly refreshing participants.
After lunch came the break out sessions and OMG! What fun it was. There was a Breakout session on entrepreneurship, another on use of ICT, one on relationships and finally one one open defecation.
Kpakpo, notice that apart from ICT and entrepreneurship (they called their group The Money Team)the other two were out of the blue groups. Relationships are very important in this social media and networking age and many people just take etiquette for granted. It was important to discuss it to see the way forward in every aspect of human relations be it electronic or physical. Moderator of this group was a pretty bombshell and most of the fine gal participants were in that group. Women and relationships huh.
The most interesting group, you know I’d be part of was the Open Defecation group aka the Shit Talkers. Most people in the world do not have access to portable toilets and in a place like Wa it’s no exception. Open defecation is the order of the day in town and even the metro assembly is starting to clamp down on it but how effective can that be when there are no toilets.
Realized that any student who passed through the university was bound to have typhoid or cholera at least once before they Leave school. That’s one serious case Kpakpo.
It was a pretty fun event but the after party was Wow! Amidst shouts and refrains of “Wa oh Wa!”which had started in the morning after we arrived and was constantly interspersed throughout the event (to show how glad we were to be in Wa)we just trudged on through the events.
Kpakpo would you believe that it was after the program that we started to try to find a place to sleep, if even we were gonna sleep at all. We had already indicated that most of us won’t sleep cos we wanted to experience Wa by night. Some rains earlier in the day however was to set the weather for the evening.
Truth be told, Wa is a lot colder than most places I’ve been this year. By 9pm some of the women needed jackets just to sit out and it set me wondering why in this season when it was raining all around us Tamale still remained very hot during the days even though it was a bit better than at the beginning of the year. Chale! This global weather patterns got me so baffled I’ve stopped trying to understand it.
Imagine that in the nightclub in Wa people had to come indoors cos it as warmer and more comfortable to be inside the nightclub than to even be on the balcony. And that was even with the large glazed windows open.
Nii Kpakpo, the guest house we slept in was very homely and being together from all over Ghana and hanging out in Wa, most of us for the first time, was the ish. It is really a nice city and I intend to visit it for an extended period the next time as part of my travels.
Maybe we can do it together when you come visit the Savannah.
Anyways, it’s been a long tale and I’d tell you how we stopped over at Larabang to do a Photoshoot in my next letter.
Till then Hey! Let’s keep promoting Ghana and take part in it’s development.
This nation is blessed and we gotta enjoy it’s blessings.
Your Cousin in Law,