M’adamfo (My friend)

Day 10 – January 7th

We woke up early in order to interview Nana, the chief of Kobina Ansa. The interview had to be handled carefully because while a handful of children from Kobina Ansa attend the Akoanso school, Kobina Ansa has its own school that we were not planning on supporting. Nana, however, is good friends with Isaac so we weren’t too concerned. Unfortunately, the meeting was crashed by the Financial Secretary of the community, who was a bit less welcoming than Nana. We asked many questions about school in the area in general, prompting the Financial Secretary to ask us what we were bringing to the Kobina Ansa school and their community – a question we had no good answer to. Explaining that we were interested in speaking to with them because we wanted to thoroughly research the Akoanso school project was not an adequate answer for him; and would have been quite offensive in

After that somewhat stressful interview, we went to Akoanso to interview the chief of their town as well. His interview went spectacularly well, unsurprising as the school is being built in his town and the woman building it, Faustina, is his niece. He answered all our questions and told us he could “continue until the sun goes down” if we thought of any more questions for him. We didn’t continue for nearly that long though – we had our third and final interview for the day to complete, with the Queen Mother of the area. The Queen Mother helps to support the women and children of 64 communities that make up the Anomabo Traditional Area. Queen Mothers do everything from coordinating family planning training to helping to set up a school in one of their communities. Nana Sakyiwaa spoke to us about the problems of teen pregnancy, the barriers to education, and the girl to boy ratio in schools, among other topics pertinent to our project. After her interview, we went back to the eco-lodge, where our favorite chef had yam chips with tomato sauce and chicken awaiting us for lunch.

In the afternoon, some of us joined chef Fausti for her usual trip to the market in Cape Coast. It was quite a maze – Paul, Jiwon, Yaa and I bumped in to everything and were pretty much constantly in the way, but Fausti was patient with us. The market was a somewhat overwhelming cacophony of sights and especially smells, particularly the butcher shop. We searched unsuccessfully for mozzarella cheese for the mud-oven pizza we planned to make the next day and ended up buying cheddar instead. We also finally got to experience a tro-tro on our way back the Kobina Ansa. The tro-tro is a super cheap form of transportation: a van with a driver and a fare collector, all of which have different destinations that are yelled out of the window by the fare collector. They tend to be crowded and falling apart – our particular tro-tro had a side door that was so rusted through that there were holes in the metal and it refused to close without serious effort from the collector.

Just before dinner, Isaac surprised us with visitors from the refugee camp, including two men who we were beginning to consider friends.  He also brought two new guests, including a refugee who was incredibly musically talented and played a few of his own songs on guitar while singing for us. We ate dinner with them, groundnut (peanut) soup by the ever-talented Fausti. Unfortunately, the peanut fumes in the air kept Zoe from eating with us (she’s extremely allergic), but she was able to join later when we taught the refugees a few American card games, including BS and King’s Cup. After a long, lovely evening, we reluctantly went to bed, knowing we had to be up early the next day to continue our work.


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