Travel to our new hotel

Coaching partners went to their communities/hotels for the ucpming visits to credit unions. Bruce and I had the shortest trip in terms of distance, but it took a couple of hours. As we got near our hotel, we drove past the “Pink” hostel – I think that is the place Bri stayed at for one night in August. We are based in Accra for our credit union visits. We may get a chance to swap out with the team in Cape Coast for our last credit union which would give us an opportunity to be a little more rural.

Accra is very large city with a population densely packed. Traffic is very difficult with so many cars, taxis, buses, people, and the odd goat to manuever around. But our driver, Bright is his name, was able to take some shortcuts and get us to our hotel by 11 or so. We then went to an area called Osu, where a lot of ex-pats live/work. This is also near where I stayed in a previous visit and I was familiar with the area.

Since we had the afternoon free, we had a relaxed lunch and then walked the main street where there are many vendors and their “sales staff” eager to entice into a purchase. I was looking for Black Star jerseys and some specific fabric for Brianna. Bruce and I had several tag alongs for quiete a few blocks until I emphatically told them we were not interested and thanked them for showing us their “stuff”. Whew, and since Bright knew of a place to get the fabric – off we went. it was in a different market, not far from the CUA offices. More of a people’s market than a tourist market and there we found the fabric I was looking for – yeah!

We headed back to our hotel and did some walking around locally where we encoutered children at a couple of places shouting – “obruni! obruni!” (white man, white man) I smiled and waved at them and they waved back. It was a bit of an orientation to the neighbourhood around our hotel and we walked for quite some time – many different types of entrepenurs – selling small appliances, a tailor, a hair stylist, a tire replair place, a computer place, – each with its own unique signage. I will try to post some photos tomorrow.

It was hot and humid today and just walking works up quite a sweat – so we had to stop and have a refreshment at a place called the “Bus stop”. It was a bar nearby where all the local tro tros stop to pick up passengers. We then returned to the hotel and had our supper – local dishes – Bruce had chicken and jollof and I had chicken and red red. I can feel the red red in my tummy now!

We visit our first credit union tomorrow and both of us are keen to hear their story, what challenges they might have, and what insight we may be able to share with them to overcome those challenges. It will be an interesting day I am sure.

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Energizers (we needed them)

Our day of coaching on Monday was very successful, and to keep the coaches agile (after 4 hours of sleep), there were several energizers throughout the day on Monday. Watch the viedo for some highlights. (including singing the credit union song!)

Here are some photos from the day as well…
In the first is Derek from the CCA, late in the afternoon, leading a session on HR (yes he is wide awake!)

In the second, Tracey from Vancity is reporting out on her group discussion on delinquency management and adequate people resources.

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Look on the positive side….

Wow, do we ever have it good living in a 4 season environment. We know what to expect and have all the tools and equipment to make life easier – not so at Heathrow! After spending an unplanned night and all of Saturday at YYZ, we checked in at 330 for our 630, become 930, then 1130 pm flight to London. The schedule changes would still fit with our connection from London to Accra.
We arrived at Heathrow Sunday morning and had a couple of hours to kill. The snow from the previous day had melted somewhat but there was still a couple of inches on the ground. Boarding began at about 1 and 1:30 p.m. everyone was on board and we pushed back from the gate. The plane had to be de-iced and there was a wait for that – first is was 45 minutes but it actually turned out to be a 5 hour wait in the airplane on the taxiway before the de-icing was finished!!!! Wow….
We arrived at about 5 after midnight on Monday morning – cleared customs etc and got to bed at the CUA Training Centre at about 4 a.m. (we were supposed to be here at noon on Saturday) . Up and at ‘em at 830 for breakfast and 1.5 days of orientation/planning crammed into 1 day.
It was a good day. We were meeting with the CUA of Ghana field staff engaging in very practical discussions about governance, strategic planning, conflict of interests and savings mobilization. We were getting their insight into where the credit union system was at and to what depth was appropriate for discussions at the credit unions later this week. It was a long day though.
There are a couple of people still with CUA from when I was here in 2007 – Mr. Darku, the CEO and Sammy, a driver, were just as I remembered. Throughout our discussions, it was very evident that there were many developments since I was last in Ghana – small banks have been set up as well as micro finance companies have become a force. Credit unions are adapting and learning to compete even more for the business. Tuesday has us relocating to a different hotel closer to the credit unions we will be working with…..
That’s all for now…

Saturday, in the park (ing lot)…..

Well, its now been over 24 hours here in YYZ. Luckily, British Airways put us up in the Sheraton right here at the terminal – 500 steps away inside. We now have a departure time of 1130 tonight – 28 hours or so after we were supposed to leave. We will get into Ghana, 1 day late – no time to recover from the jet lag then! We will be busy first thing Sunday morning covering of the material we missed from Sunday afternoon.

Its really boring being in an airport all day…..even with all the NHL games on tv.

Uphill both ways…..

-22 celcius this morning – it was crisp, but refreshing for a prairie hayseed – remember the walk to school I told myself, uphill both ways. 😉
A great day at CCA in Ottawa becoming familar with and practicing the use of the management tools that CCA has developed for coaches to use with the their credit unions. I met all the coaches for both the Uganda and Ghana teams last night and we were hard at it it this morning at 8:00.

The tools developed for the coaches are based on case studies taken from past coaches’ reports. They were very useful in creating insights from all the coaches and will prove invaluable in helping provide the assistance and knowledge sharing that is needed by developing credit unions. Before we knew it, 2:30 arrived and the Uganda coaches headed off to the airporo for the flight to Montreal and then Uganda.

The Ghanaian team had 30 minutes or so before our taxis arrived so we looked at what people’s Ghanaian names were and reviewed some of the more common words we should learn in Twi. My memory was quite good as I think I recited most of the 20 or so words I was forced to learn from Aba Hagan, the credit union manageress that stayed with Wendy and me in 2006 at our home in Abbotsford. Aba was aghast that I had been to Ghana and only had a vocbaulalry of a handful of words, so she made sure I knoew more for my 2007 visit. Then it was 3:00 pm, and we were off to the Ottawa airport for our flight to Toronto to connect with British Airways to London.

as we were waiting for flight in Ottawa, my coaching partner Bruce brought up the BA site on his phone and showed me that our flight later that night at 9:30 had been CANCELLED. it was just after 5 and one of the team put in a call to the CCA travel agent to see what help we could get making other arrangements. By the time we arrived in Toronto, it was confirmed, we were not leaving Canada today. 2 BA flights to London had been cancelled and the mad scramble was on to make alternate connections. There were no other airlines with flights out of YYZ to the London later tonight. Using Expedia, we found a lfight leaving at 11:00 am to Addis Abbaba, Ethipoia,
http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&sugexp=les%3B&gs_rn=1&gs_ri=hp&cp=7&gs_id=r&xhr=t&q=addis+ababa&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.41248874,d.aWc&biw=1366&bih=596&wrapid=tljp1358573668053012&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=X&ei=ZjD6UPnHKvGK2QW48IHIDQ&sqi=2&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAA

with a connection to Accra, Ghana. We zeroed in on that option as BA was booking people on other flights. It would get us to Accra some 18 hours later than planned and only 1/2 day behind on the program. However, the BA rep pointed out to us that the connection in Addis Abbaba was only 45 minutes and if the connection was missed, we owuld have to wait another day to get to Ghana. So we have ended up on the same BA flight, except one day late. We will arrive in Ghana on Sunday night and will be a 1/2 day behind with the CUA field and training staff.

Oh yeah – why was the flight cancelled – 5 cms of snow at Heathrow and it paralyzed the operations.

So an extra night at YYZ at the Sheraton – wahoo! and then a whole day to kill – Saturday. I wonder if there are any TSN re-runs of previous Rider games…..

Enroute via Toronto…

Off from Kelowna this morning an the safe and relaible Dash 8 to Calgary and then onto an Airbus. Had a huge tailwind – must have been 100 knots or more, as the pilot was able to take 50 minutes off of the air time.  Was catching up on some work reading – notes from the Direct marketing conference that Peggy was at as well as the OBR – Online Banking Report – thanks to Gene Blishen for recommending that report – it is good. On Thursday,  I am participating in a planning session for CBOS (small business) at Canadian Central’s new office in downtown TO, and then to Ottawa on Thursday afternoon for a day of Orientation on Friday. Then late Friday, off to Ghana via London.

Travel weather has been good – a relief since I did not bring any winter jacket for Toronto or Ottawa.