So, where did we leave off the last time? Oh yeaaa, the Naija experience! To cut a long story short, we left at about 5am the next day and I had a series of airport drama again. This time, I wasn’t irked… I was actually amused by it all and have had wild thoughts of coming to Lagos again, stopping just at the airport, having my fix of the Immigration drama and jetting off on the next plane. I even got to see Emeka Ike and Nonso Diobi, two popular Nollywood actors. The former rushed past, smiled and muttered ‘Good Afternoon’ to us before quickly rectifying himself with a swift ‘Good Morning’. Nonso, however, was on our flight and I had not recognized him initially. It was only upon boarding that I actually took a good look at him. We got to Accra and he said hi too, making me conclude that the two were nice and gave them extra cool points. I’ll stop boring you with my star-struck narration that might make you envious, especially if you’re a Nollywood fan. 🙂
After a 45-minute flight, we got to Accra, Ghana and I was pretty excited. From a young age, I’d always wanted to come here to study, given the image the country has on the education sector. As such, it was like a dream come true for me and I couldn’t wait to get into the city and ‘get with the program’. Little did I know that the Gold Coast would also throw me a share of its airport ‘wahala’. Arik Air had given me yet another reason to strike them off. The very effective and customer satisfaction-conscient (I have no idea what I just wrote but it is meant to be sarcastic) airline officials decide to leave 32 bags in Lagos, choosing to fill the plane’s luggage compartment with a single team’s luggage. There was general outrage when the official at the Accra Airport made the announcement and yours truly just stood and watched as she’d lost all the energy to protest and express disgust. I also thought of the extremely cool steward who waved goodbye with a nice ‘Hope you had a good flight, pretty’, so I actually excused them for a millisecond. Fellow passengers voiced their dissatisfaction at the supposed discrimination done by the airline, as the team was made up of white men. ‘It’s like we’re in the colonial days. Africa shall never prosper’, one man said. He was enraged because he flew on business class and could not even be considered. Anyway, we got over to the ‘Lost and Found’ section and after two trips to the airport, finally got our bags. I was relieved and excited as we go to meet two new fellows from Botswana and Zimbabwe respectively, and clicked from the first.
That night, Moremi Initiative received 6 fellows and we had dinner which was not very good for me, as the food was pretty spicy. I’m trying to adapt to the taste, but don’t want to risk another gastritis attack. We were later assigned rooms and my roommate is called Patience. She’s from Cameroon and has a degree in Zoology. She’s really nice and cool, so I’m pretty lucky. The next day saw the arrival of most of the other Fellows and it was a buzz of activity in the evening. The afternoon was quite lazy and after a walk around the University town, I settled down to work on my presentation (if anyone in the Moremi team is seeing this, I’m sorry I didn’t finish them before coming to Ghana).
Classes started on Tuesday and we had two very interesting and inspiring lectures from amazing women. The first was an introduction to Human Rights Concepts and Theories, and was presented by Nana Asantewaa Afadzinu. The second, presented by Madame Chris Dadzie, was on Feminist Theories and Ideologies. Both lectures challenged the fellows to examine their purpose and understand their reason for being at the Institute. The outspoken young leaders voiced their opinion and asked many questions on the treated topics and the hall was a buzz of inspiration and knowledge. They say ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ and the MILEAD Fellows for 2012 have vowed to work hard and play hard. Every day, a certain time is allocated for team-building exercises to enable fellows to get to know each other and interact outside the lecture halls. We played interesting and fun games for about an hour before heading back in for the noon lectures. The most beautiful thing was the introduction of the ‘what have we learned’ section on the Team Building exercises. Each Fellow is expected to share her thoughts on how the games played could help one as a leader and what lessons could be used for effective leadership. I thought this was very effective as we could have fun and relate it to our reason for being in Ghana.
Today, we had the official opening ceremony and it was quite a colourful event. Fellows came dressed in their traditional outfits and one could see the beauty that Africa has to offer. Linguere made sure to create an outfit that would represent both The Gambia and Morocco, the two countries she’s representing at MILEAD. Isn’t that splendid? 🙂
The ceremony was graced by powerful women representing various offices, organizations and diplomatic missions in Ghana, as well as the Press and members of the public. A series of remarks were given and they mainly centered on welcoming all the fellows to Ghana, commending us for taking active roles in their communities and encouraging us to make the best use of the training institute. Later, the fellows introduced each other as was planned by the organizers, to make sure we endeavour to know more about our sisters in the fellowship. We took a lot of photos and had a very enlightening seminar with Dr. Rose Mensah Kuti and Dr. Patience Agbaza, the representative of the Nigerian High Commission. The latter is the author of two books and at the end of the session, each fellow was given a copy of one of the books. I have an autographed copy of ‘Sex and Religion’ and can’t wait to bury my nose into it.
I’ve cramped up three days of information in this update and have had to leave out the details as I could not have easy access to the Internet. Luckily, I’ve laid hands on a modem and would now be able to give regular updates and share more details with you all. I miss home, my family and friends and can’t wait to see them all again, but for now, I LOVE Ghana! Catch you soonest!