laupÀev, 15. september 2018

Blog post August: Taking stock and some reflections

Now that I have completed my second month, I feel like I have a way better grasp of everything; my work, an established routine, what to eat and cook, getting around and also my social relationships.  At work, I feel like the women have really opened up to me and see me less as a foreigner (though I’ll always remain the solemiye/the white woman to them haha) and more as a part of the team. They are indeed very protective over me and are always giving me advice. I credit the sheer amount of time I spend with them 6 days a week to this new found familiarity and one result of this is having gained insights into the cooperatives' “office politics”; now as an integrated part of the team, I witness the quarreling, the grudges and see the womens' unique character traits shine through. On the other side of the spectrum, managing customer relations with foreign clients can also get heated. In one occasion I had to act as the “bridge” between the two, which was really quite uncomfortable.

I am happy to have finally established a regular routine in my daily life, including my yoga practice, laundry, market shopping and cooking, etc. - all things that help make me feel at home in Kongo. Getting around the village, but also around Bolgatanga, the nearest big town in the region, has also made life a lot easier.  In terms of my social life, I think I am at a point where I can say I have more meaningful relationships to the people around me and slowly establishing my own inner circle of friends. So, after a hectic first month full of new information and impressions, the second month has come to a friendly close, where I am feeling a lot more relaxed and on top of things. 

Throughout these last eight weeks I have had a lot of time to reflect on certain issues in Ghana, which I would like to share below.

Given the popularity of chocolate in the world, I find it sad that Ghana has not been able to cash in on the cocoa industry more. Among the locals chocolate is not very popular and to date there is only one chocolate factory in the country. Ghana is the number two cocoa-producer and exporter in the world, and despite the world’s addiction to chocolate, Ghana is not much richer for it. Sadly, Ghana makes very little profit of this brown gold as it only exports the raw material, whereas the actual manufacturing happens in a Swiss or Belgian factory and is then sold as expensive chocolate across the globe, even back to Africa. Although I am well aware of the consequences of trade-distortions and the lasting effects of colonial exploitation, when you see these inequalities up close, the magnitude of the problem just hits home. Our trade distortions are perpetuating the poverty cycle that LDC’s are struggling to break out of.

Another tragedy is the e-waste recycling business in Ghana. Many young Ghanaians make a living rummaging through the big rubbish dump in Agbogbloshie, Accra looking for parts like copper and steel that can be re-used, and by so doing inhale the toxic fumes of burning e-waste that slowly ruin their internal organs and lead to death. The kids know it, everybody does, but for those working there, exposing oneself to the risks sadly outweigh the costs of not doing it.

This month a young member of the community here in Kongo village passed away and the person happened to be a close friend of the friends that I have made here. Because he was young, the community didn’t celebrate life as they do when elderly members of the community die, but were instead visibly distraught. His passing sparked a lot of discussion over people dying young from preventable diseases. Often, they say what happens is that patients get misdiagnosed and treated for the wrong illness before they realize the real cause and by then it is too late.  All too often sick people get treated for ulcers, because this sickness that eats away at the organs due to lack of food, is very common but its treatment is insufficient to treat diseases like hepatitis b and others.

Faced with these harsh realities, I have come to understand the support that religion offers many people here. This village has a large catholic community, and because I reside in the Catholic mission, I attend mass weekly. Its there that I see how serious they are about their faith; how the whole family gets dressed up in their finest, sing, pray and listen to the priests from Kerala preaching on the importance of raising morally-driven children, of getting married under the eyes of God and not to sin out of wedlock. This month we had a week-long celebration for Marian devotion. The entire catholic community from the district descended onto Kongo to attend mass at the grotto. I actually really enjoyed this festival, less for the religious meaning, but more for the festival vibes. A large food market was set up, which was open 24/7, where kids and adults ate, cooked, conversed and slept for an entire week. It was fun to watch everyone rock out in church, like at any other high school dance. In the absence of a village discotheque, this festival is the closest thing to going to a dance party that youngsters can get and they make good use of it 😉

There is little other means of entertainment in the village, except for a handful of bars that are open at night and where mostly men come for a drink. The men love to drink and they love their motorcycles-and the two in their eyes are inseparable. So, although everyone knows not to drink and drive, everybody does it anyway. Usually when I approach them about it, they just say that the police see them drink and drive, but don’t say anything. Laws are unfortunately not enforced here and road accidents are frequent, sometimes also fatal. Most acknowledge that road safety is a problem throughout Africa, but when I ask them why nobody does anything about it, they just shrug. Police officers in Ghana are known as “paper tigers”. Why? Because on paper they are fearful, but in reality, they are soft.
I have always enjoyed a good proverb and want to collect as many as I can keep during my stay. Proverbs are an integral part of Ghanaian and African culture. They convey wisdom, truth and life lessons and are very often used to educate children. I have yet to collect a lot of interesting ones, but one that I heard was “The shea butter laughs at the salt when it rains forgetting that the sun will soon shine”. I think it is a pretty clever one.

One thing that is a constant throughout all of Ghana is children’s upbringing. Children must respect their elders, which isn’t limited to their parents, but cuts across all people senior to them. You will seldomly see any child not obeying an adult. The other day a three-year old got admonished for giving me her left hand to greet me.  Like in many other cultures, Ghanaians consider the left hand “dirty” and are not allowed to use it to eat, when greeting with a handshake or handing something over to someone else, like making a payment. Paying at the market, while juggling your new bought produce in one hand, can be a tricky affair...!

Finally I want to talk about a popular mode of transport here in the Upper East, the Can-do’s/Kandu: the Indian three-wheeler, also known as auto-rikshaw, bajaj or tuktuk in other places, was introduced to Ghana recently under the last President, John Mahama. This president was so popular among Ghanaians, that this vehicle that got introduced under his tenure became synonymous for his election slogan “Mahama can do!”. The last two syllables “can do” stuck and that has become its colloquial name in the Upper East region. Interestingly enough, can-do’s are widely used in larger towns of the northern areas, but are unseen in the country’s southern capital, Accra. Similarly, another stark north-south contrast is that in the North you can see a lot of women driving a motorbike themselves, whereas in the South it is hardly seen. A plausible explanation for this is probably the necessity of driving in the north and the traffic and pollution in cities like Accra, where closed vehicles are preferred (probably also for its status symbol).

Enjoy the last days of summer!!


pĂŒhapĂ€ev, 5. august 2018

Early days as an EUAV

The beginning of my EUAV assignment in Kongo, Ghana

My arrival time in Accra should have been 5pm, a good time to arrive, just in time to reach the hostel before nightfall and shake out tired legs. Instead, I arrived at 2 am, 8 hours late with swollen legs and to sleepy immigration officers. My journey to Ghana was everything but smooth. The day before at the airport in Paris, we were stuck at the gate in an overheated airplane for 3 hours due to a technical malfunction and strict immigration laws that prohibited us from disembarking the aircraft. After the pilot deemed the vessel unsuitable for flying, we were told to change planes and finally allowed to disembark- luggage, crying babies and duty-free shopping bags in tow. Once at the new gate, aircrew personnel informed us that our flight had been unexpectedly re-routed to Lome. Later that night in Lome, our onward journey was again delayed by another two hours. You would think that passengers by then would have been raging mad, but most of them were West African and one passenger next to me just chuckled and said “welcome to Africa”. I fell to bed exhausted that morning and woke up a couple of hours later to chirping birds and Nigerian pop music.

Being German has been an easy conversation-starter here, particularly because my arrival coincided with the knock-out round of the FIFA World Cup. Germany, the former World Champion, had just been defeated by South Korea, a country more known for its 10-step skin care routine than world-class football. As a response to my nationality, I keep hearing “ah, it really pains me about Germany” or simply, “what happened?!”. But Ghanaians can relate as they share a shameful story with their national team, the Black All Stars, who lost the qualifying match due to a corruption scandal within the team.

The distance from Accra to my assigned village, Kongo, in Ghana’s Upper East Region is a 15-hour bus journey. The borders of Ghana and much of Africa were carved in artificial lines by the colonizing powers, which came to be known as the ‘Scramble for Africa’ and culminated with the Berlin Conference in 1884. After World War I Ghana’s northern border was again rewritten when the Upper East and West regions were added to the northern region. The Upper East Region borders Togo to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It lies below the Sahel belt, which is characteristic for dry and arid lands. It is the least urbanized region in Ghana with approx. 79% of the population living in rural settlements. Families who can afford it, send their children south to cities like Kumasi or Accra for better chances at education and a promising government job. Historically, this region was exploited by the more affluent southern tribes (central Ashanti and coastal Fante) who sold northerners to European colonizers that would ship them overseas as slaves. Far from the rich soil of cocoa plantations in the Ashanti region and the newly discovered oil fields, the Upper East region has been overseen by economic development that has shot up the rest of the country to be a contender for the fastest growing African economy in 2018.

From Accra, I took a one-hour plane to Tamale in Ghana’s Northern region and from there a shared taxi for two hours to Bolgatanga, and then finally after another 45min. arrived in Kongo village. When I finally reached Kongo, I had nearly missed it-that’s how small it is. Even my taxi driver after we drove through the village tried to convince me to move to Bolga instead. Kongo is a dusty village on the highway that leads northeast to the Togolese border, frequented by tro tros (Ghana’s notorious minibuses) and noisy cargo trucks that speed by frequently. On any given day, you will see motorcycles parked along the roadside because transportation is vital to Kongo’s residents for buying food, clothes and household supplies that are not readily available in the village and simply just for that 'city (town) feeling'. 

Market day, which takes place twice a week, is a lively event in Kongo. The main staples in this area are millet, corn, groundnuts (peanuts), beans, hot peppers and rice. Ghanaians like their food spicy and “peppe”, red hot peppers, are widely used for seasoning as are peanuts to make a peanut sauce/stew that they eat with mashed millet, rice or yams. The only fruit in this area are mango and shea nuts, which are both seasonal. So, if you find yourself to be here out of season, then the locals joke that “groundnuts are our fruit”. This is due to the lack of rainfall here, which makes for unfertile soil. The other day I wanted to buy a banana in the biggest town of the region, which is a 45min ride away. The whole journey took me 5 hours, door to door. One reason was because tro tro’s cannot leave until they are full, and many times I wait up to two hours for this. Honestly, not having fruit and a wide variety of vegetables to my disposal has been the biggest challenge for me, especially as a vegetarian. Nevertheless, I can get beans with plantains and jollof rice, both which I love. 
My home here is at the Catholic Mission’s Spiritual Renewal Center, a center on top of a hill reserved for retreats for fathers from the diocese. In fact, it was a former priest from this diocese that gave this village its name after he had been posted here from the Democratic Republic of Congo. My hosts are Father Martin and Father Cletus, both priests from Kochi, Kerala in India. Whereas Father Martin arrived two years ago, Father Cletus has been here over ten years, knows the community well and is currently testing growing wheat on their plot. Because they are hosting me, I attend Sunday mass at 6:30 am every week. Although its Catholic, the lively choir gives it an ‘African touch’. Sunday is THE day here for villagers. You will see them dressed to impress attending church, in order to be seen and to see. What you wear is really important in Ghanaian and most African cultures. You will receive a lot more respect as a foreigner if you dress up “proper” (for boys that means button-down shirts and for girls dresses) and the more colors, the better!

As for work, I have been warmly taken under the wing of Victor More, the Executive Director of my host organization, Kongo Community Development Association (KoCDA). My arrival in Kongo coincided with the first rains of the season, and so every time it rains, Victor jokingly thanks me for bringing the village good fortune. It was through the observations of his son, Kingsley, who was writing a thesis on the treatment of widows in his community, that the two founded KoCDA back in 2009. Both were determined to engage widows as an active part of the community and to provide women with economic opportunities to take care of themselves and their children. Three years later with support from Mondo, two women’s cooperatives were born; one in basket weaving (Yen Pang) and the other in shea butter making (Nongtaaba). Some people like to tell the story of how “8 women and one volunteer met under a mango tree” and the rest is history. Most recently, a Tree nursery cooperative was added to reverse the effects of deforestation, as both cooperatives use a lot of firewood to fuel their businesses. 
My assignment is to support these cooperatives in capacity training and organizational development, more specifically in skills training, client base expansion and product marketing. What that means in practice is observing how their internal systems work, identifying where it needs improvement, engaging with the women to ask about their challenges, their goals and how we can get there. I spend a lot of time either at the weaver’s house or the shea butter house just learning what their day to day activities are. Although we received good briefings prior to our departure, you really only get a sense of the work once you’re on the ground. The pieces have slowly come together and I have managed to connect the dots and complete the mosaic of info that started during my briefing at the Tallinn training.

The first week was especially exhausting, both mentally and physically! My body was acclimatizing, I was figuring out what and where I could eat, adjusting to waking up and going to sleep with the sunlight - all while my mind was on turbo-speed trying to soak in as much info: remembering as many names, and local phrases as I possibly could.

The women and the villagers are extremely welcoming, friendly and chatty and they have made my start here really pleasant. After a couple of weeks, I finally have the local greeting down, especially since everyone is curious to know how the only foreigner in the village is doing. Strength seems to be a very highly deemed attribute here because the response to the local ‘how are you’ is a local fine that is accompanied with two raised fists and flexed arms. People in the village seem to think that white people are feeble and not very strong. And unfortunately, I couldn’t prove them wrong. Once I tried to join the shea ladies (average age 65+) carry 25 kg boxes of shea butter on top of their heads, down a slope and across a river, and miserably failed.

Greetings are another really highly esteemed custom among Ghanaians, as in most African countries. Whereas, at home we might ask “how are you”, we don’t really expect a substantial answer, but rather get straight to the point. Here, on the other hand, greetings are relished! The more questions, and the longer the handshake or the silence, the better. After a “how are you”, you should also at least ask “how is the home/family” or “how is work”, depending on how well you know the person. Your counterpart will most likely hold onto your hand for the duration, even once moments of (awkward) silence settle in, but hold that handshake, stick it out and you'll be rewarded for it😉

I think much of my assignment is immersing myself in the community, understanding the situation of the women and seeing it from their eyes. It is a learning opportunity to spend so much time with these women and experience their day-to-day lives. It is a chance that not many foreigners get and I am grateful for it!         

pĂŒhapĂ€ev, 3. detsember 2017

Mariti kuues nĂ€dal – lĂ”pp hea, kĂ”ik hea

Teadsin seda juba siia tulles, aga olen siin olles veel ja veel kinnitust saanud, et pean Mondole  ainult tĂ€nulik olema, et ta mulle sellise rikastava vĂ”imaluse andis.  

Viimasele nĂ€dalale kohaselt toimus mitmeid hĂŒvastijĂ€tte. EsmaspĂ€eval oli planeeritud kohtumine Bolgatanga Ă€mmaemandate kooli direktrissiga, kellega mul siiani ei olnud Ă”nnestunud kohtuda. Kui enamus Ghana naisi on vĂ€ga kenad, hoolitsetud ja sĂ€titud, siis direktriss oli mulle ĂŒllatuseks vĂ€ga tagasihoidlik. Must plekiline pintsak tekitas mulle lausa tunde, et olen vale inimese juures. Olin valmis aru andma, miks ma siin olen ja miks asjad kĂ”ige paremalt ei sujunud.  Veidral kombel, aga oli direktriss nagu Ă€ra vahetatud. Tundis siiralt huvi, mida sain Ă€ra tehtud  ja mis ma koolist arvan. Kiitsin tublisid tudengeid ja pöörasin jutu vaikselt jĂ€rgmiste vabatahtlike peale. Kui minu ja Silja tulekuga oli omajagu segadust, siis uute tulijatele annab direktriss terekĂ€e. HaridussĂŒsteemi ja Ă”ppekava tutvustuse peaks aga vabatahtlikud saama Accras ministeeriumis.  See on direktrissi selge nĂ”ue.  Lepingu, mis ikka veel allkirjastamist ootas lubasid nad ise Mondosse saata. Eks saab nĂ€ha. Midagi on pildil valesti, aga selle vĂ€lja selgitamiseks tuleb veel pead murda. VĂ€ga selgelt aga soovis kool teha koostööd meie tervishoiu kĂ”rgkoolidega. Soovitakse teha nii Ă”ppejĂ”udude, kui ka Ă”pilasvahetust. Paraku pole kolleegid Erasmus+ midagi kuulnud. Lubasin saata materjale, sest tegelikult on nii Ă”ppejĂ”ul, kui tudengil siinses keskkonnas palju Ă”ppida. Õppida, mismoodi tulla toime vÔÔras kultuurisuumis, milline mĂ”ju on usul siinsete inimest kĂ€itumistele, kuidas tulla  toime tingimustes (nt. elektri ja veepuudus), mis on meile nii haiglas, kodus, kui koolis elementaarne. Tundsin rÔÔmu, et mul olid teadmised varnast vĂ”tta ajast, kus haiglatöös ei olnud veel ĂŒhekordseid asju ja kuidas siduda haavu marlisidemetega (aitĂ€h Inge Paju). Õppida, et kĂŒlalislahkus ei kĂŒsi raha. Just nice to be nice.

Paljud asjad, mida siin kogesin on pĂ€rit paarikĂŒmne aasta tagusest meie ajast. Pidevalt oli tunne, et seda olen kunagi lapsepĂ”lves nĂ€inud vĂ”i kogenud. Samas ei tĂ€henda see seda, et nad kĂ”ik 20 aastat peaks lĂ€bi tegema. Suurel enamusel tĂ€iskasvanutest on nutitelefonid ja nendega osatakse kenasti opereerida. Igaks juhuks on taskus ka nuppudega telefon, sest aku pĂŒsivusel on suur vahe. Interneti ĂŒhendusega on nii-naa. Mina tegin enda lepingu Vodafone firmaga, mis osutus aga Kongo kĂŒlas suhteliselt kasutuks. MTN, aga levib rahuldavalt. Noorte peamine suhtluskanal on WhatsApp. E-postid on kĂŒll olemas, aga kirjamehed nad siin pole. Isegi Ă”ppejĂ”ud saadavad kirju vĂ€ga vaevaliselt. 

Vabatahtlik kes siia tuleb peab olema avatud ja loov, sest pidevalt on vaja midagi mittestandardset konstrueerida. Paljudel kohalikel on raske n.ö kastist vĂ€lja mĂ”elda vĂ”i on asjad poolikult lahendatud. Nt kliinikus on olemas kraan ja vesi, aga korraliku kĂ€tepesu tarbeks pole alati seepi vĂ”i kĂ€te kuivatamise vahendeid. Siis tuleb leiutada, mis moodi seda kĂ”ige parem lahendada oleks.  Ressursse on vĂ€he, aga tihti tuli ette olukordi, kus seda olemasolevatki ei osata Ă”igesti vĂ”i mĂ”istlikult kasutada. Sellel kĂ”igel on aga oma taust. Loovus ei tule niisama, seda tuleb Ă”ppida ja arendada, aga kui alg- ja pĂ”hikooli Ă”ppemeetodiks on peamiselt materjali pĂ€he Ă”ppimine, siis on loovus raske tulema. Seega on haridusse siinkandis igal tasandil  mĂ”istlik investeerida. Need, kes on saanud hariduse kusagil suuremas linnas on silmatorkavamalt intelligentsemad, mĂ”istavad head huumorit ja  teavad, mis suunas hobune liikuma peaks. 
Kliinikumi sisehoov. Keskel kĂ€tepesu tĂŒnn. Taga on nĂ€ha ema, kes loputab last jaheda veega, et kehatemperatuuri langetada. 
KolmapĂ€eval kĂ€isime Ayamfooya kliiniku juhi Thomase juures Ă”htusöögil. PĂŒĂŒdsime analĂŒĂŒsida, mis kasu minu siinolek neile andis ja kui palju nad minu soovitustest saavad kĂ€iku vĂ”tta. Haiglajuht on laia silmaringiga. Miinuseks vĂ”ib pidada seda, et kuna ta on nooruses mĂ”lemad jalad kaotanud ja liigub haiglas ratastooliga suhtelist vĂ€he ringi ei tea ta tĂ€pselt, mida Ă”ed igapĂ€evaselt teevad. Ta saab kĂŒll ise kĂ”igega hakkama (sh sĂ”idab ka autoga), aga iga pĂ€ev Ă”dede tööruume ei kĂŒlasta. SeetĂ”ttu tulid talle mĂ”ned minu mĂ€rkused ĂŒllatusena, sest veidral kombel ei taha osad töötajad katkiste asjade kohta aru anda. Ei saanudki aru, kas see on hirm ĂŒlemuse ees vĂ”i mingi tĂŒlikohtade vĂ€ltimine. Söögiks pakuti Ă”htusöögil nii kohaliku toitu, kui riisi. Kohaliku toidu ehk Kenkey ja Tiserti (umbes selline nimi) söömine on paras vĂ€gitegu. Üks on tehtud fermenteeritud maisitĂ€rklisest ja teine hirsist. Paraku maitsevad mĂ”lemad suhteliselt Ă”udsalt (vabandust ette ja taha kokale). Kenkey`t peab sööma kĂ€tega, sest toit on vĂ€ga nĂ€tske ja parajalt veniv. Maitset on raske kirjeldada – jahune , lÀÀge, kleepuv toode. Tiserti`l on rohkem haput maitset, meelde tuli lapsepĂ”lves söödav kaerakisla.  MĂ”lemale pannakse peale vĂŒrtsikat suppi, mis on tehtud misiganes lihatĂŒkkidest ja kala supikogust.  Vanemad inimesed on sellega nii harjunud, et muud ei soovi. Riisi kĂ”rvale pakuti seekord kala punases kastmes, mis oli tĂ€iesti söödav. Magustoite vĂ€ga ei pakuta. Reeglina lĂ”petavad Ă”htusöögi puuviljad.
Kliiniku juht Thomas

Puljongi pallid turul.

Bolga linna "restorani" menĂŒĂŒ

NĂ€ide kohalikust toidust ja selle pakkimisest. Tihti on aga nĂŒĂŒd puuleht asendunud kilekotiga.

Modernsed Ghana naised

Traditsiooniline naiste smok (rahvariie)
Pea iga nĂ€dala kolmapĂ€eva Ă”htul oleme kĂŒlastanud Iirimaalt pĂ€rit isa Leo bubi. Asi tundub esmapilgul vĂ€ga kentsakas, et keset sĂŒgavat Aafrikat on Iiri pubi.  Isa on pikki aastaid erinevates aafrika maades töötanud. Et kogukonnaga ka töövĂ€liselt suhelda korraldab ta iga nĂ€dal pubiĂ”htuid, kus tema ise mĂ€ngib baarimeest. Kohalikest kĂ€ivad koos pigem edukamad inimesed (Ă”petajad, erinevad kirikuteenistujad ja nende kaasad). Iga ĂŒks pubisse sisse astuda ei saa. Peab olema „you are welcome“ kutse. Juttu tehakse seinast seina.   Koduloomadest, haridusest, usust. Leo on imehĂ€sti kogukonda sulandunud ja teab rÀÀkida palju huvitavaid lugusid. Üksteise vastu ollakse ÀÀrmiselt hoolivad, mis vĂ€ljendub eelkĂ”ige mĂ€rkamises. Kui keegi tundub olema liimist lahti, siis see nĂ€gemata ei jÀÀ. Viimasel Ă”htul andis isa nii mĂ”negi hea soovituse ja kontakti, kuidas oma paari pĂ€evast puhkust veedaks.    AitĂ€h!
Isa Leo Iiri pubi viimane Ôhtu (vasakul minu hea kolleeg vabatahtliku elus Toomas)

teisipÀev, 28. november 2017

Mariti viies nĂ€dal – armastus

Ghana riiki tutvustavatel kodulehtedel jÀÀb esimesena silma loosung „Ghana on rahulik ja  turvaline maa“.  Kohalikud kasutavad tihti vĂ€ljendid „nice to be nice“.
Nii see tundub mulle ka siin olles. Inimesed on uskumatult sĂ”bralikud. Samas emotsionaalsed ja kĂ”va hÀÀlega vĂ€itlemist ja vaidlust kuuleb ikka. Kordagi aga ei ole nĂ€inud, et asi oleks sĂ”imlemise vĂ”i rusikatega lĂ”ppenud. NĂ€itena toon ĂŒhe sĂ”idu kohaliku vĂ€ikebussi tro-troga. Bussid on pĂ€ris ebamugavad: roostes, mĂ”lkis, reeglina ei pĂ”le tuled, armatuurlauad on teibiga kokku kleebitud, kĂ”ikvĂ”imalikud juhtmed tilbendavad, liivatolmu on kĂ”ik kohad paksult tĂ€is ja bussi seisma jÀÀdes hakkab reisijatel higi kohe voolama. Hea, kui uksed kinni pĂŒsivad. Aga OK, sĂ”itma peab. Istusin koos u 20 sĂ”itjaga bussis (enamus naised). Minu kĂ”rval istub vĂ”rratult kaunis naine koos oma imeilusa rahvariietesse riietatud beebiga. Korraga tuleb tema kĂ”rvale purjus „not so nice“ mees. Mees hakkab kohe midagi seletama, last telefoniga togima ja nĂ€ppima. Minu jaoks suhteliselt ebameeldiv togimine kestab kogu sĂ”idu (u 45min). NĂ€ha on, et teised naised mehe mĂ”tteid ei jaga ja vaidlevad tĂ”siselt vastu, aga vihaseks ei saa keegi. Naised naeratavad, muigavad ja n.ö kannatavad mehe vĂ€lja.  Mina tahtsin kĂŒll juba mitu korda kĂ€ratada a`la palun Ă€ra napi mu last, aga hoian enda tagasi.
EsmaspĂ€eval on kliinikus iganĂ€dalane personali koosolek. Esmalt manitseb kliiniku juht Thomas töötajaid kĂ€ituma eetilisemalt. Thomas rĂ”hutab, et ĂŒkskord tuleb meile teadlik patsient, kes teab oma Ă”igusi, misstĂ”ttu peame kĂ€ituma eetiliselt ja viisakalt. Ei teagi, kus selline hirm vĂ”i teadmine tuleb, aga olen siiralt ĂŒllatunud, et sellised teemasid esimesena kĂ€sitletakse. Lisaks tulevad jutuks liiga pikad ooteajad, a- ja antiseptika reeglid ja probleemid laboriga. Kuna tegu on erakliinikuga, siis on iga patsiendi hoidmine oluline.  Peale koosolekut ongi töötajad veidi usinamad. Patsiente pĂŒĂŒtakse kiiremini teenindada ja koristaja teeb lapiga suuremaid ringe.
TeisipĂ€eval tulin tööle hiljem ja tegin töötajatele koolituse. Alustan meditsiiniliste vigade ulatuse tutvustamisega ja toon kaks reaalset nĂ€idet ĂŒhe Aafrikat ja teise Eestist. See osutus vĂ€ga sobivaks, sest töötajatel on hea kuulde, et vigu tehakse ka mujal. KĂ”ik on sellega pĂ€ri, et vigu teha ei tohi. Kahjuks nĂ€en kliinikus igapĂ€evastel rohkelt vigu, mida saaks kergelt vĂ€ltida.  Peatun pikemalt eelmiste vabatahtlike tööl sest kaks aastat tagasi tehtud Ă”ppematerjalid on igati sobilikud ka nĂŒĂŒd. Info aga ei taha edasi liikuda ja töötajate voolavus on pĂ€ris suur.  Lisaks analĂŒĂŒsime kĂ”ige problemaatilisemaid kohti nende kliinikus. Peale koolitust jÀÀn tööle pealelĂ”unasse vahetusse, et mĂ”ista seda osa kliiniku tööst. Tööd on tunduvalt vĂ€hem ja seetĂ”ttu on aega Ă”dedega rohkem suhelda. Õnneks on tööl vĂ€ga Ă”pihimulised noored Ă”ed. VĂ”tan vĂ€lja oma paksu Nursing Interventions Clinical Skills Ă”piku ja Ă”ed hakkavad suure huviga lugema. Üks Ă”de viib raamatu nĂ€idata ka valvearstile. Ka tema on asjast huvitatud ja hakkab omakorda Ă”dedele kontrollkĂŒsimusi esitama. Kui Ă”ues pimeneb teema kliinikus ootesaalis ĂŒhise Ă”ppefilmi vaatamise, mis töötajatel vĂ€ga hĂ€sti sobib. Saan aru, et töötajaid, kes janunevad Ă”igete töövĂ”tete jĂ€igi on kĂŒll. JĂ€rgmisel pĂ€eval tuleb ĂŒks Ă”dedest ise ja palub et nĂ€itaksin veelkord, kuidas kanĂŒĂŒlile plaastrit Ă”igesti panna. Tunnen ennast igati hĂ€sti, sest mind on n.ö selgelt aktsepteeritud.
Kliiniku töötajad peale koolitust
Teisel nĂ€dala poolel olin Bolga Ă€mmaemandate koolis. Kooliga on siiani olnud segased lood. Nii ka sel korral. Kuna mind ei ole endiselt tunniplaani pandud, siis ma ei teadnud kuna saan tunniga alustada. Teemaks on antud mulle kirurgiline Ă”endus. Mida tĂ€psemalt vĂ”isin ise valida.  Hetkel tegelikult tunniplaan hĂ€sti ei töötagi, sest kĂ€ivad ettevalmistused tudengite immatrikuleerimiseks. Vanemad tudengid on sellesse kaasatud, lisaks valmistutakse jĂ€rgmiseks eksami perioodiks.  Algatuseks pidin kuulama ĂŒhe doktori loengut, aga tema ei suvatsenud sel korral ilmuda. 1,5 tunni pĂ€rast otsustati mind tudengite ette lasta. Selleks ajaks aga oli elektripinge niivĂ”rd madal, et projektorit tööle panna ei Ă”nnestunud. Piirdusime arvuti ekraaniga, mis tudengitele probleeme ei valmistanud.  Tudengid on avatud ja saavad aru, et iga uus info on nende jaoks maailma avardav. Tunni Ă”ppemeetodiks vĂ”iks pidada avatud diskussiooni, sest kĂ”ik slaidid, mis mul ette olid valmistatud rÀÀkisime koos lahti. Kui keegi minu inglise keelest vĂ”i mina nende keelest aru ei saanud, tĂ€iendasid ja seletasid teised tudengid asja oma sĂ”nadega ĂŒle.
Viimane pÀev koolis

Armastus = jalgpall. Ootamatult sattusin reede Ă”htul piirkonna jalgpallimatsi finaalmĂ€ngule. Kokku on meeskondi 15. Finaali pÀÀsesid Kongo ja Duusi. Kuna mina peatun Kongos, siis kohalike traditsioonide kohaselt pean toetama ka seda meeskond.   Ja loomulikult vĂ”itis Kongo meeskond. Üritus oli vĂ€ga vĂ€gev. Kohale oli tulnud vĂ€ga, vĂ€ga palju jalgpallifĂ€nne. Seega olin valge naisterahvana selle meestekeskse melu keskel ikka pĂ€ris valge vares.  Autasude kĂ€ttejagamisel osales ka Ghana parlamendiliige, kes elab Kongos. Auhinnad muidugi suured pole. VĂ”itjad said 300 cedi (60 euri), parim mĂ€ngija 100cedi. Lisaks uued sĂ€rgid, paar putsa paari ja jalgpall.  Et palli ĂŒldse mĂ€ngida saaks peavad treener ja veel paar jalgpalliarmastajat kogu nalja kinni maksma. Meeste toidud-joogid, transpordi ja elukoha vĂ”istluste ajal. Ei saanudki aru, kuidas nad seda endale lubada saavad, sest toetajad ei ole ka kuigi kĂ”rgetel kohtadel. Lihtsalt stabiilsema sissetulekuga noored mehed (nt. Ă”petajad).  Minu rikutud meel uuris kohe, kas vigastuste tarbeks esmaabi kott ka olemas on. Vastuseks sain, et kunagi ĂŒhe vĂ”idu puhul kingiti, aga see on ammu tĂŒhi. Tegin siis omalt poolt vĂ€ikese annetuse – esmaabipaki, mis vĂ”eti suure tĂ€nutundega vastu.  Pinnas, millel mehed mĂ€ngivad on pĂ€ris karm – jĂ€me liiva ja kiviklibu segu. Kukkumisi on omajagu. 
Liivatolmused sinimustvalged mehed vÔitu tÀhistamas.
VÔitja ametlik vÀlja kuulutamine. Tseremoonia lÔpus oli kenasti aukohal palve jalgpallile.

Suhete loomine on minul siin seni ajani olnud ĂŒtlemata kerge. Veidi raskem on alguses aru saada, mida vastassugupool minult ootab. Peamiselt tahetakse oma tegemisi ja asju nĂ€idata. Kiiresti liigub jutt abielu ja laste olemasolu peale. Ühe jĂ€rjekordse noormehega vesteldes selgus, et siinsed kohalikud ise on omavaheliste tunnete nĂ€itamises omamoodi kinnised. JĂ€rele mĂ”eldes on tĂ”esti nii. Linnapildis ei nĂ€e armunuid paari. On ilusad mehed ja ilusad naised. Teada on, et suurel enamusel on suhted ja lapsed, aga kuidas ja kuna nad kurameerivad, kus koos aega veedetakse seda vĂ€ga ei nĂ€e. Enamasti on vĂ€ikelapsed emadel selja peal vĂ”i tiirlevad ĂŒmber nende. VĂ€ga harva nĂ€eb mehi, kes lapsi kooli vĂ”i lasteaeda viivad. Üks Ă€mmaemanda tudeng kaebas, et tema nĂ€eb oma abielumeest umbes korra kuus sest mees on tööl pealinnas, mis on u 800km kaugel. Lapsed ja ema on ĂŒksi. Tuleb kuidagi tuttav ette??!!