Understanding Ghana

Kevin arrived home safe & sound yesterday.  The five Canadian team members were flying through Calgary, so we all had a quick lunch together and then dispersed to various homes and connecting flights . . . pray for the team as they readjust to life in North America, especially in light of the poverty they’ve brushed up against in Ghana.

Kevin’s begun reflecting on the project trip and his time in Ghana, and over the next few days I’ll share a few of his reflections.  Today, a bit on how the project team attempts to prepare culturally appropriate designs:

As part of our project trip we spend a fair bit of time purposely immersing ourselves in the culture to try to grasp the culture and what the countries challenges are. The better we can immerse ourselves in our short time the better and more relevant our design will be. I’ve listed a few examples of some of the things we did in Ghana besides working on the design

  • Met with the local community bank manager to learn how the microloan and microsavings schemes were lifting people out of poverty
  • Met with the former education minister and the former sports minister several times to get their take on how issues in the community should be addressed
  • Met with the local ministry board to get their initial input and then reaction to the conceptual designs at the end of the week
  • Met with the traditional regional King to get him on board with the project.
  • Interviewed a local architect and 3 engineers about construction practices and costs.
  • To get a better understanding of the country we visited someone’s beach house, toured 2 hospitals, and a private clinic, visited a couple historic sites, visited several schools, and attended 2 different churches on the Sundays

Even with all these side trips, we still spent 9 hrs per day on the actual design. We rarely sat still. Hopefully our efforts to engage locally will yield a more well planned hospital site and will meet the needs for years to come.

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