On Thursday, we had a debrief with the staff from CUA at CUA House. Each coaching team provided an overview and the highlights of their visits they had with the credit unions. It was insightful for the CUA staff and it was apparent that the new tools (that we leave behind) will be of significant value. Mr. Darkuu commented that in the future, it will be very beneficial to have the credit unions that are part of the coaching program also participate in the 1 day orientation session we had when we first arrived in Ghana to review the tools with CUA. We all agreed – this initial meeting was a working session and there were case exercises that we reviewed and the credit unions would benefit greatly from being a part of this. Our debriefs were complete by early afternoon and we then had some spare time before our flights left late that evening.
So what is different this time since I last visited Ghana in 2007? The country seems to be growing quickly:
– credit unions have implemented plans that the coaches have recommended and are showing great results with growth and improved management practices,
– more vehicles on the streets,
– more variety on the store shelves,
– more brands of beer (there were only 3 beer brands then, and there are 10 or so now)
What is the same? – the people are fantastic . Always welcoming, wanting to learn so they can be their best, and very passionate about the future of their country. Fiercely devoted to their national soccer team the Black Stars, the people of Ghana see the team as a lightning rod for them to come together as one to signify everyone’s success.
We arrived in Heathrow at 5:30 a.m. Friday and our hotel was close to the airport. Several of us slept on the airplane and all of us wanted to catch a nap before doing anything in London. A group of us met at 930 and took the tube into London – a leisurely day. We had lunch at a great English pub, walked all over – Trafalgar Square, the Parliament, Canada Park, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Eye…we pooped ourselves out and by 430 the 4 of us were headed back to the hotel for a bite to eat and bed. The others from the Ghana coaches had met up with the Uganda coaches and were also in London. They had a bigger appetite for staying in town as they slept longer in the morning….
Saturday was a planned debrief day for all coaches from both country assignments and the CCA staff. It was a chance to decompress, gather insights from the use of the tools, and learn about successes coaches might have had. This was a new element compared to my previous coaching experience and it was very valuable. Helping create some understanding of coming back to our regular busy lives with work and family pressures was very practical. We all had our supper together and then some went out to a pub for a local brew. I went to my room and bed early as I was planning an early morning.
On Sunday, I got up early as I was taking the bus to Heathrow, hopping on the tube to Kings Cross and then getting on the train to Royston which is near the Imperial War Museum in Duxford (near Cambridge). This is an active airport and was a RAF Base in WW2 with Hurricanes, Spitfires, and Mustangs (among others) stationed there.
This was my vacation day and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There are 8 areas to explore – mostly centered on aviation, but there was some land based equipment in a couple of buildings. You get to walk through a supersonic Concorde. There are many samples of historic planes on display.
In a separate hangar, you can go in and see many aircraft that are still flying – there many carrier (navy) aircraft that I had not heard of before.
The photo shows a twin seat Spitfire….one of only 3 or so in the world and valued at a couple of million dollars. Watch this video for to see a similar 2 seater in flight – the Spitfire in the video is actually based at this same airfield.
It was a blustery and cold day at the Duxford aerodrome – there were some tourists going up in a Harvard – the radial engine ringing out a chorus that everyone turned to listen to. A great day and a fantastic museum to end the trip with.