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...Continue Reading >>
Stories tagged with 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...Continue Reading >>
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...Continue Reading >>
Struggles. That’s what came to mind during my first days in Ghana. The struggle to find my way around to light a candle when the electricity had failed again. The struggle to keep my body hydrated in the heat and humidity. But, much more, it was the heart wrenching struggles of those around me. The crippled man trying to navigate the cratered streets and bloodthirsty taxidrivers. The mother balancing what amounts to a small woodshed of goods on her head while carrying a baby on her...Continue Reading >>
I’ve been in Ghana now for one month and I realized I’ve been slacking in keeping up my journal, so I’m posting several random experiences I’ve had so far.
On most days I go out with a loan officer to take pictures of clients who are requesting loans for their businesses or have already taken a loan and we go to follow-up on their progress. The first problem you encounter when trying to find someone is there are no street names or...Continue Reading >>
Things at CRAN have been pretty hectic the past couple weeks. At the end of February, CRAN is having an international rating done. This basically announces to the entire microfinance world how well CRAN is run as a MFI. A good rating could mean new sources of capital as well as world-wide acknowledgement of CRAN as well as one of the top MFIs in Ghana. However, a bad rating would be a set back for the organization and would dampen spirits within the...Continue Reading >>
My name is Dan Strack and for the next 2 months I will be living in Cape Coast, Ghana and working with the Christian Rural Aid Network (CRAN).
CRAN has 7 branches located throughout the central region of Ghana with its main office in Cape Coast. Cape Coast is a very poor area with some of the kindest people I’ve ever encountered. The first thing you notice in Ghana and especially Cape Coast, is how...Continue Reading >>
I’ve been in Ghana for 3 months now. I thought my culture shock stages were over after the tro-tro (mini-van bus) dodging, fou-fou (sticky plantains mixed with cassava) eating, sun burning, marriage proposing, etc etc…, but I was wrong.Last week I started my Kiva internship, which involved me moving from Cape Coast to Sinapi’s head office in Kumasi. When I stepped off of the jammed packed tro-tro and into Kumasi, I thought I was stepping off of a plane...Continue Reading >>
My first Kiva client–her name is Sophie, my namesake!
In Ghana your nickname is the day you were born – ny nickname in Twi is Nana Adjnoa – Princess Monday! Today we were at the Golden Tulip – a Dutch owned hotel chain. Walking into the hotel I feel like I am in the middle of a James Bond movie circa 1978 – grainy, smoky, muted colors with out-of-date lithographs on the wall, and the crème de la crème of sleazy North African businessmen lounging about in the bar. There are definitely some questionable business deals happening at this...Continue Reading >>
We call ahead to at least five hotels that we have starred in the Bradt Guide to Ghana – all of their prices have doubled from what the travel book says – I guess my Obroni accent isn’t exactly helping the situation! After settling on the price of the room, we get to the Raybow (this is probably meant to be “rainbow” but this is Ghana!) and attempt to check in . We run through the “must-have” check list: AC?, Fan? Hot water? Generator when the power fails so at least the fan can run when the AC is out? Check, check – we are all set to go.
“Now can we see the...Continue Reading >>