Sunday, December 28, 2008

Election Fever!

Yeaaaaa! Bandwidth today! Enjoy the photos.

Election Fever
Tomorrow is the Presidential runoff election in Ghana. It has been a hotly contested Presidential race, with neither of the top two candidates gaining the needed 50% + 1 to become President. So now we have the runoff, and tension is high. It did not feel like Christmas at all because everyone is only thinking of the election.

Professor Atta Mills is the candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). He was vice-president 8 years ago, during the last change of political power here, when
the NDC peacefully turned over power to the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Nana Akufor-Addo is the NPP candidate, a former UN ambassador who talks like The Godfather.

Yesterday the Undersecretary of African Affairs arrived from Washington DC. It was the first time I have seen a USA government official on TV here. Whereas the Chinese ambassador to Ghana in on the TV at least once a week. I see a New World Order shaping here. Unfortunately all across Africa there a HUGE expectations that President Obama is going to change America's relationship with Africa. I try hard to lower these expectations, but he is a Super Star here.

I am confident that this will be a peaceful runoff in Ghana. Both parties are working very hard and are renting every bus in Ghana to get people to their proper polling places. During the election before the runoff, I visited 4 polling places. One was spectacularly chaotic, while the other 3 were calm and relaxed.

Sadly, with the runoff being so late, the newly elected President will have only 1 week for transition to the turn over of office on 07 Jan. This has been an amazing election to witness. It *almost* makes up for me missing Obama's election in the USA.

So, on another note, let me tell you that the Harmatten arrived today. I write a lot in this blog about the weather because it is the harshest thing about living here (for me). The Harmatten winds are a horrific weather phenomenon that arrives here around Christmas. It is a dry, hot, dusty wind that blows across the Sahara for hundreds of miles, unobstructed. Then when it leaves the Sahara, the wind stops, but the air carries the dry dirt and dust for hundreds more miles, finally reaching Accra at the coast. At first you only notice your eyes and sinuses and throat are irritated. Then the next day, the sun is noticeably dim and the entire sky hazy. Finally, on a bad Harmatten day (which thankfully does not happen every year) it is like a thick London or San Francisco fog - except it is dust! It has not been bad yet, but it can last all the way through the end of January. In the northern regions, it is much worse.

My return ticket to the USA is 21 January, so I know I will be ready to get away from the Harmatten, but I will be a total wreck on the day I depart Ghana. This is a wonderful place with wonderful people and it has taught me much about life and, in the process, unalterably changed my life. It is not nearly as comfortable as life in California, but it is infinitely rewarding to the soul.

I plan to return to Ghana before June 2009.

The unfortunate thing is that after 5 months working towards a Residency Permit, I am *still* waiting on some stupid bureaucratic nonsense. Two months ago I was certified for an "automatic Residency Permit" because I have founded a business here. However, this "automatic" permit requires that I wait for a letter of approval which every week I am told is coming.

TIA....TIA....TIA.....This Is Africa

It is a good bandwidth day at the cafe, so here are a couple more photos. Remember the student Helen Tekpor that I mentioned in a previous post? She was one of the
winning students in the TransCAP essay contest but was unable to receive her prize because of the death of her mother. She is now living with her aunt, but We were finally able to find her. Here is a photo of her reaction when we showed at the school where she now lives. She was the Big Woman On Campus that day, and probably for a long time thereafter.

Here are shots from a couple other schools:

Here is a photo of the construction of the Easy Track office. Unfortunately, the concept of a 'home office' is not acceptable to the bureaucrats, so we had to build a
separate room next to the house. Jessie did a great job making a cool space. All who enter ask me if there is air conditioning. HAHAHA! I can only dream of such luxury!

Here I am with Jessie's mum Anti, wearing my new dress on Christmas. I love it. My family is so good to me here. We had a GIANT feast for Christmas - a wonderful salad
with fresh fruits and vegetables and pasta, jollof rice with beef, and fufu with groundnut soup. Normally this much food will last 3 days in the house. The children played and there was singing and dancing. Later we all watched "Kung Fu Hustle" which I had brought with me. They all loved it.

OK, I will post again soon. Have a GREAT NEW YEAR! It is an enormous party here, so I am off to enjoy now.



Post a Comment

<< Home