Update from Ghana

Hello from Ghana all!

Until this morning I haven’t had the chance to get updated on the exciting things happening at United Way, and since we are half way through campaign, I knew there would be a lot to catch up on. This morning after semi enjoying a Nescafe and rice for breakfast, I sat down and spent an hour reading blogs, watching videos, and tallying numbers so I can hold my own private mid campaign analysis meeting by the pool later (or not!).

My roommates must think I’m nuts because I’ve laughed out loud so many times, and once after I let out an especially boisterous chuckle, one of them checked up on me to find me watching a winking red twitter bird on Youtube.  Akwaaba Pilot!

I need to start by saying hats off to PCL for another outstanding campaign. As usual, you have set the bar and prove year after year how committed to building stronger communities you are, outstanding! I am also delighted to hear that Enbridge has reached the million-dollar mark, unreal! This is a company that talks the talk and walks the walk. They also put the raise, in fundraising, have you checked out their stats?

Along with hundreds of inspiring workplace campaigns, highly anticipated events and an incredibly innovative and interactive new website, you have managed to keep the focus on what matters the most, how our efforts are helping to make the community a better place for everyone.

I have to admit that when I first arrived in Ghana, I noticed all of the differences between my new city, Cape Coast, and Edmonton. The climate, currency and language for an example are all very different. But in the big scheme of things, those things don’t define a city. They might be the simplest things to talk about, or great conversation starters, but they aren’t the things that inspire people, or the things that have a lasting impact. Now that I’ve been here for over a month this trip, and three months total, I’m amazed at the similarities. How can two cities so far apart have so much in common? Cape Coast, like Edmonton, is a small community with a huge heart. Everyone that you make eye contact with greets you -I swear that I say ‘good morning’ and ‘good afternoon’ at least a hundred times a day. Also, like home, everything is shared here and almost nothing goes to waste. The things we share in Cape Coast are quite different than at home, but the whole ‘sharing’ philosophy is an important part of their culture. Conservation here is also very important like it is at home and Ghanaians are always coming up with ‘creative’ ways to sustain the environment.

The commonality that I’ve observed the most in Cape Coast is that fundamentally, family and community support is the highest priority for everyone. Everyone receives help and everyone gives help. Whether it’s helping your neighbour reel in his fishing line, looking after your ten siblings while your mother goes to the market, preparing fufu for a community dinner or helping a perfect stranger fix their broken down taxi by the side of the road, everyone has a vested interest in the success of each other. Ghana might be labeled as a ‘developing Country’, but in my mind, at least they have their priorities straight! And Edmonton may be cold (and our hockey team might be suffering from another ‘rebuilding year’) but you certainly don’t have to look far to feel the warmth!

Until we meet again, meda ase for another awesome campaign, you are half way there and I have the feeling that it’s going to be a stellar campaign!