Stories tagged with Ghana

Nov 11, 2008 GH Ghana

Language is said to be the thing that separates man from animal. Oliver Wendell Holmes said it is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow. It is also the way in which we can most easily communicate our deepest thoughts and desires with another. It is a tool that we use to bridge us together.

Yet since I have arrived in Ghana, I have begun to define language in an entirely new way. It is a constant ebb and flow of words and understanding. It is a roller-coaster ride of gerunds and participial phrases that mean all...

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Oct 10, 2008 GH Ghana

Veronica was more than just the small provisions shop owner across the street from where I used to live in Ghana’s capital city of Accra. She was more than just a woman full of life and smiles who I would often visit with on my way home from work. She was a friend, one I even visited at home to say goodbye to when I left. So when I spend my first five days in Ghana back in the neighborhood where I lived for two months last year while working at a popular Ghanaian newspaper, one of the things on my to-do list was to see Veronica.

I walked down the street where I used to live, down...

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Jul 7, 2008 GH Ghana

Microcredit undoubtedly represents a creative and original response to poverty. But I think that somewhere along the way, the innovativeness of the idea seems to have translated into an expectation of novelty and ingenuity for all “small-scale entrepreneurs.” I was reminded of this recently while reading a report published by IBM that described microcredit recipients as “creative” and “entrepreneurial.” While I’m certainly no expert on the subject, my time in the field has reinforced my belief that microloans do not generally enable budding...

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Jun 6, 2008 GH Ghana

I have been in the country for two weeks now and I love it. Ghana is known for its warmth—both physical and relational—and thus far, it has lived up to its reputation. The Ghanaian handshake, with its snap upon release, seems to epitomize the general tone of life here. Friendly and laid-back. In the town of Cape Coast where I’m living, taxi drivers remember your name and children invite you to games of make-shift pool (using long sticks and marbles)....

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Apr 4, 2008 GH Ghana

As my fellowship nears its end, I’ve purposely taken time to step back and revisit my original reasons for deciding to quit my job, stuff my apartment into a dusty storage unit, leave family and friends and fly to Ghana.  One of my goals was to see the impact of commercialization on an MFI’s social mission. 

Recently, Sinapi has...

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Apr 4, 2008 GH Ghana

I’ve been back in Chicago for about 2 weeks now and have had time to sit and digest my Kiva Fellow experience. Going into this I tried to keep a completely unbiased and open-mind about microfinance. I’m a huge supporter of microfinance, but I have heard critics argue that it does little to actually lift people out of poverty. So I tried to take my opportunity to see first hand how it affects borrowers.

During my 2-month stay in Cape Coast, Ghana I had the privilege to meet over a hundred borrowers successfully running their own businesses. I heard stories of individuals...

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Apr 4, 2008 GH Ghana

I’ve visited over 100 clients in the past two months and one of the most common responses to “how are you going to use this loan” is “I’m going to buy in bulk.”   At first, it appeared to me that perhaps this is a common impulse to overstock inventory so a customer never walks away empty-handed.  But, I was quick to learn that this bulk purchasing phenomenon is not driven by concern about product supply but rather inventory cost.  ...

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Mar 3, 2008 GH Ghana

During the last month, I’ve visited quite a few courtyards, backyards, sideyards, and frontyards. In each one, I can usually count on two things. One is that someone in the group rises to find chairs for the loan officers and myself and places these chairs in a cool, shady spot. The other is the Sinapi cheer. A loan officer walks into the meeting area and shouts, “Sinapi” and claps twice. In response, the group members yell, “Abapa” (Good Seed). This cheer goes through several more iterations...

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Mar 3, 2008 GH Ghana

Sometimes the end is the best beginning. And, by the end of my first repayment day, a group of four women marched past me, through the hallway and onto the red dirt path outside the house where they had just completed their repayments. As they passed, some were shaking their heads, others were raising their voices in frustration, but they were all unified by their goal – to make a visit on a member of their group who was absent from the repayment meeting and failed to make another repayment again. The rest of the group covered...

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Mar 3, 2008 GH Ghana

Along with its microfinance unit, CRAN also sponsors social development projects.  CRAN has built 5 schools in Ghana and has provided a community with clean running water.  I recently got an opportunity to visit a CRAN sponsored school in the Abaenu community. To get to the village a 4×4 vehicle is a must. Once you turn off the nicely paved road headed to Accra, you embark on what is only comparable to a roller-coaster ride.  For about 3 miles the truck bounced up-and-down, sided-to-side and every other way imaginable.  After we arrived at the existing school it was apparent...

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