I haven’t blogged for almost a week now, which is a bit of a break from the 3+ posts/week rate I’ve managed to keep in the past few weeks. This is not because there hasn’t been anything about which to blog; quite the opposite, in fact. I’ve been too busy to write! Alhassan was out of the office for a big convention in Cape Coast for two weeks and as a result work at the RESO was going very slowly. He returned on Monday and brought with him a flurry of activity.
I spent Monday catching Alhassan up on plans for the following week and a half. In the time that Alhassan had been gone, Mina and I had decided that a village stay was in order for the final weekend before debrief. This meant that Thursday would be my last day at the office and I’d be in a village outside Tamale from Thursday afternoon-Tuesday afternoon. I told Alhassan that I would come to the office on Tuesday afternoon to say my goodbyes and we discussed what reports I should submit to the RESO team and Director.
In the evening, I informed Yaku of my (maybe) finalized plans for the village stay followed by travel to Kumasi, Accra, and–finally–Canada. He looked at me over our TZ, his eyes glistening, and said “so it means you’ll be gone as of Thursday?” Cue this:
I told him that I’d be back for Tuesday night and that I’d cook a “Canadian” meal for the family then. We stayed up late chatting about families, Canada, and education.
On Tuesday, I jumped into my final report for GaRI. It turned out to be quite the challenge; how does one condense 3 months of learning, including strategy recommendations, into <10 pages? I’m not sure (which is probably why the report isn’t done yet). On the bright side, what I have written has really made me realize just how much I’ve learned this summer. The theme for this blog for next week will be Learning, so expect to hear more about it.
Wednesday came with some very exciting news. I opened my email inbox to find an invitation to a forum in Accra held by USAID on a review of EMIS they performed in May. Dan Boland had connected me with the researcher (coincidentally named Chris) from RTI who performed the review early on in my placement. Chris interviewed me to get my perspective and was surprised to hear what I had to say about access to EMIS data. He told me that I’d be kept in the loop should anything worthwhile come out of his research. When I opened up the invitation attachment, I saw that one of the major points to be discussed at the forum was data access. That was pretty exciting. This guy wasn’t even considering access issues in his review until I spoke to him about it and now it was appearing as a topic of discussion at the review forum.
I figured that the forum would be an excellent opportunity to network for EWB and push the thoughts I have about EMIS a little further by introducing the briefing paper I wrote about it to the stakeholders who’ll be present. So I sent an excited email to Mina and Dan that read “Do either of you know about this? CAN I GO??” By the end of the day, I had purchased my ticket to Accra.
Because the forum is on the 17th, I’ll have to travel south a day earlier and meet up with the other JFs in Kumasi after the event is done. Cutting one day off the few days remaining created a lot of sudden stress for me; I have so many reports to finish, a village stay to attend, packing to do, and goodbyes to say and one fewer day for it all. In the end, I decided not to do the village stay so that I can spend the weekend preparing to leave.
And now it’s Thursday. What’s on my mind for today and tomorrow? REPORTS. I’ve got a bunch of thoughts to work out and translate into coherent English before Tuesday. Wish me luck.