On Thursday afternoon, we returned to the hotel to see a crowd of people hanging around just outside the the boundary of the hotel outdoor restaurant. They were all watching the Black Stars soccer game against Mali. The crowd erupted when the Black Stars scored their only goal and it was enough to win. They play on Monday afternoon and our meeting with the Medina Teachers Credit Union has been scheduled at a time where no conflict with the game arises.
Friday was a new credit union, as mentioned they are a teachers credit union in Medina that has opened their bond of association. In 2012, the whole board was newly elected – the terms of the board members are not staggered. This board has had to make some strategic decisions and some difficult ones. The manager was let go and the new board set forth with developing a plan, getting bylaws in place, as well as a credit policy and operational procedures defined. The board has been in place for about 18 mnths now.
Both Bruce and I commented to each other how refreshing it was to see a board that was truly energized with their responsibilities and their commitment to improving the credit union. They have hired a female manageress, Victoria, who seems very well suited to her role. She has a undergrad degree in accouting and has certianly helped drive the credit union to become more accountable and to take action. She would be a great candidate for the Women’s Mentoring program.
As part of its direction to become open bond, the credit union has embarked on a new office that with high delinquency, has created some cash flow challenges. The credit union will be developing a plan to overcome this.
Late Friday evening, Bruce and I travelled with Bright, our driver to Elmina/Cape Coast where we met up with Anthony and Derek. We have checked into a comfortable hotel called the Elmina Beach Resort. It took Bruce and I, 3+ hours to travel approximatley 130 kms from Accra.
This morning, Saturday, we all went to the Kakum National Park where we experienced the canopy walk 100 feet above the forest/jungle floor. We also went on a nature hike with a guide who showed us many of the plants/trees used in traditional medicine. The medicinal examples were particulalry interesting. He showed us a vine that you suck on a piece of it to stop a cough, a tree from which the sap is used to make mosquito repellent, and another tree that he nicked with a knife, and it immediately began to seep and ooze a white a liquid – it was wood glue and yes it was sticky.
I am glad we took the extra hike as I did not do tihs on my previous trip here in 2006.
In the afternoon, Bruce and I went a toured Elmina castle ( a prison for slaves actually)
It has had some remedial work completed on is – the castle is 530 years old and it has weathered many storms. The story the guides tell about the expereinces of the slaves is quite telling and is something everyone should see or read about.
Tomorrow (Sunday), I am going to visit with Madame Aba Hagan in her home village I believe. (it has no electricity). I will have our driver take me to Abura Dunkwa and Kwame will drive me to the village. at the end of the day, Kwame will also drive me back to Accra as he is returnign there also on Sunday..