I’ve just got back from an extraordinary trip to Tamale, a town in northern Ghana, taking the Awakening the Dreamer message to the less developed world for the first time.
The trip was made possible by the vision of Mohammed Awal Yakubu, a young Ghanian determined to end the deforestation of the country he was witnessing in his Agricultural Studies. Of his own initiative he had reached out to the Awakening the Dreamer Iniative and we had supplied him with the means to produce an Awakening the Dreamer Symposium, which he took, by 6 hour taxi ride, right out to the rural communities where the deforestation was a way of life. You can see more of this story here.
So it was with excitement and some trepidation that I set off to Ghana from South Africa. Arriving late at Accra I was met by Awal’s brother Hassan and his buddy – they took me to the nearby airport hotel because I needed to be back at the airport early the next morning. My travel options to get to Tamale were the 75 minute internal flight or a 12 hour journey on the bus, and I can tell you much as the bus would have allowed me wonderful insights into the country and a chance to get to know, I mean really get to know,someone else’s chickens I was up for the flight. Trouble is I was told in advance I could only buy a ticket at the airport, so I needed to be there 4.30 am to try to get a ticket.
“The flight’s full” was the first response I heard, my heart sank, not only the chicken run but a vital days planning with Awal missed. “I’d really lke to be on that flight and I am only now arriving in Ghana to buy a ticket” curiously enough seemed to be all I needed to say for the charming check-in lady to decide the flight was no longer full and indeed before 7.30 I was arriving in Tamale to be greeeted by Awal and Torfik, his ever-smiling buddy and fellow change-maker, here are the pair of them with Selima, Awal’s beautiful girlfriend who was also on the team.
We had a day to plan the final details of the events and for me to look around some of this amazing town, trying to get a feel for the people, the culture and how people live. One of the beauties of travel is that we get taken to perspectives we’ve never had before, here some of the statistics of the symposium rang true – there were few folk I encountered who could count on running water and a sewage connection and electricity. We seemed to be exactly where the tarred road ran out and the red dirt road started, the end of western-based lifestyles and the beginning of something simpler and more authentic. But the modern dream is moving in; this town of devout worshipers (Muslims in this part of Ghana) still beams in US TV, how clear in this context to see the conditioning effect at work, and Vodaphone’s arrival as a mobile phone supplier was heralded by the countless.