Sunday, June 04, 2006

Your Voice, My Hair

When I told people what I would be doing for the summer, I sometimes got the response “Good for you! What a noble thing you’re doing!" But my placement is not as selfless as those people think. Four months is not a long time in which to have significant impact on people's lives. I will be learning much more than I am teaching. In Canada, I think that there is greater opportunity to make a difference. The choices we make in Canada directly affect the people here. Quite a few of the development projects in Ghana are funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The way in which foreign aid is administered directly affects how these projects are run and the resulting impact on the intended benefactors.

While I’m in Ghana, I will use my voice to try and make small changes that may help communities improve their access to clean drinking water. At home, our voices are much louder and can be used to tell our leaders how we think Canada should act on the global stage. I like to think of Canadians as caring and honest people. I appreciate that wherever I travel, people generally accept me willingly simply because I’m Canadian. But we can’t live on reputation forever. I believe that poverty can be eliminated, but we must work together to eradicate it.

On a lighter note...

After complaining that my long hair was too hot, I finally decided to do something about it. Last Wednesday I asked one of the women in my compound if she could show me where she gets her hair cut. We went to one salon. They would not do it. We went to another. They wouldn’t cut my hair either. I don’t know what the reason was and when I inquired the response was “We are going somewhere else.” Oh, ok. So we ended up in this barbershop hut that only seemed to offer male hairstyles. I was a little concerned, but willing to give it a try. The barber got out his scissors, which looked like ones you would use to cut paper or fabric. He bent over and without actually ever touching my hair he went around my head and cut my hair. The only problem was that since the hut was so small and there were five of us in there he had the fan on. The fan was blowing my hair as he was trying so diligently to get it even all the way around. He took his time and ended up doing a very good job…well, maybe you can decide if it was a good job or not! Photo to come soon!!


Blogger Sister of Mercy said...

One more time, good for you! While you might be able to help Ghanians, what you learn there may be most helpful for Canadians in the end. Like you, I'm Canadian. Though I have lived in the US a long time, I hope to return to Hawkesbury, Ontario, soon. Whenever I meet other Canadians, I say to anybody who will listen: Beware of the United States! The United States is potentially a very dangerous country, because Americans seem to think that ignorance is cool. Anyway, Bonne chance à Ghana!

11:17 a.m.  
Blogger Tomato said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:03 a.m.  
Blogger Tomato said...

Hey Sarah!

Personally I think what you are doing is selfless. You did bring up points that directly you will not be helping as much as you would like. But indirectly you are doing much more.

You are putting a face and humanizing these "Africans" for us which we hear in the news. You are also informing us of the common issues which most Ghanaians face such as trivial things (to us) as water. And most importantly of all you, yourself are becoming even more motivated, and educated about the people who you have been helping for the last two years and years to come.

Take care,

PS. See if you can get another farm animal. I’m rooting for a pig!

9:06 a.m.  
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