We have just passed the halfway mark and fully gotten into the swing of being in Ghana. After a long weekend spent on safari in Mole, we made the long trek “home” to Fairhill. Sarah, Kelly and I have spent this week getting extremely involved in our filming project. We caught a bus at 5am on Tuesday and dozed off on the way to Accra. After a lazy day of working on our story outline, shopping at the Culture Center, and visiting the National Museum, we went to an environmental film festival at the British Council. We had the opportunity to watch a few short films on the waste crisis Ghana is facing today. One of the most interesting clips focused on plastic collection in Ghana by an organization called Trashy Bags. This group collects the plastic discarded from products like Fan Ice, a frozen milk product sold on the streets, and sashes, the plastic bags we drink water out of, and use them to make bags which they then sell all over the world. We then participated in a panel discussion focusing on the hot button current issues. Afterwards the panelists, a representative from the EPA and Trashy Bags spoke with the three of us about our work here in Ghana. We also met a gentleman in attendance that runs an applied green energy company based in both Ghana and the US. He is an expert in agriculture and land management who was in town speaking at a G8 conference and will hopefully serve as a good contact in the future.
When we got back to Ghana on Wednesday evening, we caught up with the rest of the group and learned that there had been torrential rains here in Cape Coast. Even better, we had no power and just got it back this evening. Due to the power outage most people called it an early night, while some played cards.
After class today we had an interview with Professor Mansa from Cape Coast University. She is the Queen Mother of the village, Abaasa, which we have based our documentary on and has written an ethnography on the community, Watch and Pray: A Portrait of a Fanti Village Life and Transition. The interview surpassed our expectations. Eleven years ago she was on a hunt for a bird cage, and was lead on a trek through the forest to Asebu Abaasa. After several visits and a lot of convincing on behalf of the chief, she became Queen Mother of the village. The queen mother’s responsibility is essentially to be on the beck and call of the village people and to share responsibility with the chief. Since then she has helped the village get electricity, paid for students to go to high school (“SS”), and started building a library, among many other projects. Her interview was crucial to understanding what we have observed in the village and helped us connect everything to a much larger scale. An hour and forty-five minutes later we rushed to Cape Deaf to join the group in drumming and dancing. It has been a tiring several days – but we’re all ready for our free weekend!
Mackenzie and Kelly