Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Best Laid Plans (Part 14)

After the long journey from Accra to Ho, our van pulled into a long dirt driveway. A small, unassuming bar stood at the corner of the road. We’d all come to know this bar as the place to relax on a break or as a way to end the evening. Further on down the drive, there was a large concrete building that was well built and looked rather new. This was to be our home. All of us expressed surprise at the accommodations and I’ll admit that I was glad it wasn’t just me who had anticipated a much more ad hoc dwelling. Each room had two single beds and their own bathroom with... wait for it... flushing European-style toilets! We were told that there wasn’t anything but cold water to be had, but frankly, we’d all assumed that was going to be the case so that was no surprise. But finding out that I had a nice place to put my tushy when nature called felt like a gift from heaven. The place felt almost decadent!

After getting set up in the rooms, Richard picked us up and took us to his place in Ho. There we met his friend and partner, Robert. Robert and Richard – along with working with Globe Aware - had started their own nonprofit called DIVOG (Disaster Volunteers of Ghana). Their group does similar work to Globe Aware and Richard and Robert often host the DIVOG volunteers in their own home. At the time I was there, Robert had given one bedroom of his two bedroom home to two volunteers from Spain while, him, his wife, their children and another family member all stayed in the other room. Their dedication was extraordinary and their energy unbelievable.

After we all settled into his living room, Richard (finally) explained how we’d be spending our week! Every day, we’d be driving about 40 minutes outside of Ho to a small village called Tsyome-Afedo.

Our assignment was to help build a computer center in the village. The project had been started by past groups, but needed a lot more additional work before it was ready. So there it was – a fear realized - I was told I’d be doing construction work. I’d be building something that people were expected to be able to USE. Not only were people going to need to use the building, but they’d also be storing expensive computer equipment between the four walls that I, a lady who often has others change her light bulbs, would be helping to build. In a faraway place, I could hear laughter... I believe it was the ‘get-off-your-ass-and-do-something-gods’ challenging me to, well, get off of my ass.

As would often happen throughout the project, my trepidation brought a big smile to Joe’s face.

Did I remember to bring band-aids?