Friday, July 3, 2009

D Day (-5) - Sourcing some raw materials

As the rest of us languished in Kumasi, readying ourselves for the participants' arrival on Monday, the trio of Amy, Laura and Ela headed north to the villages of Offuma, Manguasi and Asampu. The purpose of this three day trip was mainly to finalize preparations for our first round of village visits, but also to source some crucial raw materials for some of the wacky IDDS antics that will take place at KNUST over the next couple of days. The group set off in the late afternoon and they were not too long on the road before Laura spotted a goldmine – people using a diesel powered corn sheller, the perfect source for cobs for our carbonized coal press! Not too much further along the road Amy spied a woman carrying palm fronds on the back of her bike and after much discussion arranged to purchase some as natural, local materials to use in the Design Activity on the first day of the summit. It’s exactly this opportunism and spur of the moment improvisation that has helped IDDS to become such a success!

The team sourcing corn cobs

The group had dinner in Techima and here picked up past participant and longtime friend, Pastor George. The softly spoken Ghanaian is a pastor in a village in the Bromg-Ohafo region and is a vital contact and liaison for the Northern Villages that IDDS will be visiting in just over a week. At IDDS 2008 in MIT the Pastor worked on a super low cost 10$ computer,, that could be used as an educational tool in the rural context. Unsurprisingly, given the nature of the man, he already has some working prototypes in use teaching the local children in the surrounding villages!

The team spent the night in the home of Mr. Ahima, a successful farmer and local contact, and woke to an early planning meeting for their impending village visits. Each village had been notified of their coming and in each case, were very enthusiastic about collaborating, hosting our participants for three visits, and coming to Kumasi to learn about all the projects at the final presentations. Before the group left the boys at Mr. Ahima’s farm showed Ela how to make one of the regional staples, fufu (yam pounded into gelatinous balls and eaten with stew). We hope to have added a whole new array of exciting Ghanaian dishes to our cooking repertoire so we can impress our families on on our return home!

Ela pounds fufu at Mr. Ahima's farm

Laura pumping water at Manguasi

Meanwhile, in KNUST, preparations are heating up for the arrival of participants in a couple of days time. We managed to take some time out of our busy schedule for a quick game of football and just about managed to squeeze a vital(for everyone else's sake) shower before our meeting at 5pm. Due to my performance on the pitch I was subjected to Steven mouthing and gesturing "zero" throughout the entire meeting, not entirely conducive to taking good notes! It seems that everyone is nicely ticking over on their individual sub committee's but we sure have a busy weekend ahead of us.

Our complete obliteration is hard to take...

Twi phrase for the day:

Wei ye sen - How much is this?

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