VSO Meetings etc

6 04 2008

ICT ForumI’ve attended quite a few VSO meetings over the last four or five weeks. In fact I’ve attended more than I’ve actually been invited to. To be totally honest I’ve even resorted to organising my own. I’ve attended regional volunteers meetings for two different regions, a review of the VSO Ghana’s new HIV/AIDS workplace policy, an education sector review and a meeting of the ICT volunteers in Ghana. The last is the one I’m proudest of because it was my idea and I organised it. On Thursday I managed to get six out of VSO’s eight pet geeks together to in one place to exchange experiences and ideas. Most VSO meetings are a bit like dental checkups, necessary occasionally but dull at best and sometimes painful. The best thing about them is usually the chance to meet up with fellow volunteers who you may not have seen for a while and catch up with gossip. Saying that I still feel my ICT forum was a great success, we were able to exchange ideas and experiences and agree on some actions.When I’m not attending VSO meetings I try to get on with my life and job. Life here continues at its own particular pace. I seem to be getting busier, although northern Ghana will take a long time to catch up with London’s financial institutions for frenetic activity. My social life seems to switch between catatonic and manic, with stretches of up to a week at a time without a sensible face to face conversation, just the occasional phone call from Mum and Ellen and text messages from other vols, to strings of evenings and weekends spent with other volunteers. I’m just coming out of one of the manic phases, Easter in Accra, the previous weekend partying in Navrongo (near the Burkina Faso border) plus house guests here in Tamale and various VSO meetings. I now face a stretch alone, possibly a chance to concentrate and focus on writing and thinking about what I do next. In practise it’ll probably be spent reading, drinking and fielding unexpected visits from other volunteers.

The weather at the moment is mostly hot and sunny interspersed with weekly rainstorms. When it rains here it does with real commitment. Not half-hearted drizzle but thick columns of water gushing from some great taps in the sky. Most people here, locals and volunteers alike, are really pleased to see the rain. The cool offers relief from the heat and current humidity, and there is more green visible. Personally I’m about a bit of a grouch about this, the overcast grey skies that precede and follow the rain depress me, reminding me of damp November afternoons in London, and green is highly overrated as a colour, desiccated browns and yellows are much easier to cope with. I want clear blue skies and dry heat, I wasn’t made to suffer English winters.





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