First Steps

Bobby Hendry is today’s guest blogger. Bobby is on a first-name basis with food. He is an accomplished chef with a long career in the profession and has played a key role in the development of TPRF’s model Food for People program.

He recently returned from a trip to Ghana to pull together the threads of a project that will help the villagers in the Ga East Municipal District of Ghana get back on their feet, literally and figuratively.

Bobby’s activities during his one-week stay in Ghana included:
* Working with architects to draw up plans
* Helping to facilitate the process of transferring the ownership of the land for the center
* Planning menus
* Interviewing prospective staff members
* Meeting with the construction company and other key project members to create the development schedule

The following excerpt from one of Bobby’s initial reports from Ghana offers a glimpse of the work underway and the conditions in the area.

Otinibi is the main village in a cluster of four about 60 kilometers from Accra and is technically within Greater Accra.

At a special meeting (called a Durbar) at the village school of Otinibi in late July, the chief, who chaired the occasion, expressed his gratitude to the representatives of TPRF for choosing Otinibi for the Food for People (FFP) project. He pledged his support and that of the elders and the entire populace of Otinibi for the success of the project. The headmistress, teachers and some pupils of Otinibi School; Ghana Government Officials; and representatives of TPRF also attended the meeting.

I later learned that the first settlement on the land of Otinibi was around 1840. The current chief, Nii Kweidza Mansa III, has been the chief of the town and surrounding land and villages for the past 30 years.

I met the headmistress, Ms. Grace Ninsa, who profusely thanked TPRF for choosing her school. Accompanying Grace on the school board was a member of the Ghana assembly  and a representative of the chief. (I found out later that this is a common set-up across Ghana for the administration of the villages and schools.)

After the opening speeches, I asked the board members, “How poor are the local people?” They told me that the changing weather patterns are playing havoc with local farming. The farming does not sustain them. The fittest village people walk five kilometers early every morning to the mountains and break rocks for government roads.

I then asked, “What do they have for lunch?” I was answered with sustained chuckling, presumably because only a well-fed foreigner would ask such a silly question. “Nothing,” they replied. The villagers have to repeat the five-kilometer walk home in the evening.

Otinibi School Headmistress (Blue Dress) Addressing Villagers

Otinibi School Headmistress (Blue Dress) Addressing Villagers



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