It is exactly one year ago since I stepped out of the plane on Kotoka airport in Accra, Ghana. At that time it was very dark outside. I could barely see where I had arrived exactly. I was on a quest to track down Ghanaian scientists, hoping that they could share their thoughts on science and creativity. The Ghanaian way of dealing with challenges and problem-solving is one to watch.
It was at the end of an intensive shooting day and he wanted to mention a very special trip he had made. However he didn’t want to continue the full story, as he rightfully noted: “You need more time”. Which to me symbolizes what I felt when I visited everyone I visited in Ghana. It would be great to be able to follow people and collect their stories over a period of time a little longer than this.
This Chief speaks English, so no translation needed!
While going about my usual editing business I came across footage I shot when I did not feel so good, to say the least. It was the day when I met Mr. Aaron T. Asare and his MPhil student Samuel Acheampong, who, together with colleagues, built capacity in Biotechnology and Molecular Biology within the University of Cape Coast. Currently, to study and improve pineapple and cowpea (black eyed pea) crops.
They were most kind, again to say the least. Aaron made sure, after we finished shooting that day, that I was well fed and had a comfortable multiple hour journey from Cape Coast back to Accra.
This was the day I was introduced to ‘the Ford’ as mode of transportation: Ford vans that contain airconditioning and generally couples or small groups of white backpackers on their way back to the airport after most probably having resided in one of the resorts owned by their nationals in or around Cape Coast.
The Ford did the job perfectly; it was cool and fast. However there were some close calls along the way as the driver managed to put the car back to our lane just in time for us not to have a head on confrontation with cars going where we came from, or some other sort of confrontation with the car we were just passing. I could hear fellow foreigners’ heartbeats skipping. I, myself, was actually too busy meditating my nausea away. Although, I too could have cared less.
Anyway enough about Ghanaian traffic, I would like to introduce to you Mr. Aaron T. Asare, he will do the rest…
Kwami and the machine (one of the prototype machines used in the processing of moringa seeds)
Check this out.
As I am impressed by people launching their own businesses, research or projects in general, but specifically in Africa, I wanted to share that link with you.
As everyone should know, it is especially hard to set something up when you have just finished college or university. Or to be taken seriously for funding at that stage, when you have ambition and interesting ideas but no impressive CV yet.
Not too long ago I introduced you to Kwami who is setting up a business in Ghana which will be waste-free and will connect local farmers to international markets, together with his co-founder Emily. It initiated as a university project.
Very recently they started an indiegogo campaign which should help them launch the business.
I would kindly like to suggest, for people who have money and who feel like investing it in something ‘good’ for Christmas, not to recklessly spend on some kind of vague big NGO (you don’t know where the money actually will end up in the vast majority of cases anyway). But you might want to consider stimulating projects like Kwami’s…
I think it is important that most people start listening to people again. In real life, but also on television, in film, and let’s not forget on the internet. It feels like the future is in going faster, harder, stronger, sexier. But I like to think that is nonsense. Let’s go back to the retro concept of taking time and watch or see something unfolding. A real hip and vintage idea don’t you think?
I’d like to take you back to something I posted earlier, titled Mad about Maths. That day was all about listening, as I interviewed seventeen Master’s students from 16 different countries in Africa on their aspirations and their passion. I really enjoyed my shoot there, it was great to speak with people who are so driven!
In this ‘Have a taste’ episode I’d like to show a quote of one of the Ghanaian students at AIMS (the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Ghana of which Professor Allotey actually is founder).
Since this is all about giving a taste, I am not going to show you every student I interviewed (yet!). But I liked the spirit of this quote and the way Mary explains what it is that she likes about mathematics, so I did not want to keep that from you.