"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead

Saturday, June 18, 2011

So things work a little differently here...

Sorry it's been a few days since we updated about the happenings of our project. A lot has been happening here in Patriensa--some good and some not so much. The good news is that our 2nd set of technical advisors, Dr. Wood and Dr. White, arrived...eventually. They had a flight delay which put them into Accra at 3:30 AM. There was a mix up between their hotel driver and our driving service, giving us a few hours of concerned panic, wondering where the heck they were. But, don't fret, they are here and have jumped in fully, adding a fresh pair of eyes and hands to the team. Marty departed this morning after doing an incredible amount for us and the community of Patriensa. We could not have done so much without him.

The other good news is that masons have been working still, and another room and a half have been plastered in the building, everything is complete with last year's well and the children at the Presby Primary School have running water again. The electrical and plumbing is finished in the building besides the final fittings and installations of the lights and fans.

Now for the bad news. Our team has found it extremely difficult to work in the business fashion expected of us by UT and not step on the toes of the Ghanaian workers we have been dealing with. Don't get me wrong, they have all been kind and diligent workers, but in America everything has an upfront price and what you see is what you get; in Ghana everything is negotiation. It is not their custom to let you know the cost prior to finishing the work, but rather bargain it afterwards. Unfortunately, because we have a budget we have to fit in and account for, this makes things complicated. The electricians, plumbers, masons, and carpenters we've been working with are not so pleased with our American ways. We've found that our "forcing things on them" has up-ed the price to give us an "Obruenie cost" rather than what it should be. It's been really frustrating and resulted in some really heated conversations, and at this moment, we are behind schedule and over budget. It's been nothing short of a learning lesson and curve for us. With only 5 work days left in Patriensa, we are doing all we can to bring everything into fruition in order to hand off a fully dried in and finished building so that next year the business may be set up and become a thriving enterprise. We are having to squeeze our funds to the bitter drops, and  have some heavy conversations, but the Kontihene has been an invaluable resource, neutralizing some situations and stepping up as the face of Patriensa Pure as of now. We are incredibly thankful for all he has done for us and the beautiful hospitality we have been shown.

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