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Archive for April, 2007

Si mu (to start)

And so, under the peer pressure and to jump on the ever growing bandwagon, here I am in my blog page.  At home, relaxing after my last final in university…

I wonder who will read this blog?  Will there be many?  Will there be few?  What kind of impact will it have?  So many questions… and I haven’t even started.

But, perhaps since this is my blog… perhaps I should be the one starting the conversation.  What is this blog about?  Why is it named “lost in kurow”?  What is kurow?

Well, we’ll start with who I am and where I’m going.  I’m Shawn, a 3rd year Geomatics Engineer at the University of Calgary.  I’ve been involved with Engineers Without Borders Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people overseas work their way out of poverty.

Last November, on my birthday, I was selected to be a Junior Fellow to go abroad on an overseas placement.  Where have they chosen for me?  The country of Ghana, in the humble of Atebubu.

Engineers Without Borders has thoughtful development, and their beliefs and principles will permeate throughout what I do and the reasons why I’m doing it… so sometimes you may wonder why I do some of the things I do, and why EWB takes the approaches that it does.  If you want to learn more, please visit the other websites, Anne has a great description in there.  I can’t stop too long and explain, but I’ll try my best to explain as I go along.

I just have to keep the plot moving along, you understand.

So what is kurow?  It’s the Ghanaian word for “town”.  One of the things that I like about EWB is that it always asks questions.  And this is the type of perspective that I want to take when I am on my 4 month placement (May to August)… I always want to be asking questions.

And who asks better questions than a lost traveller?  Who asks more questions than somebody looking at a lost traveller?

So I’m lost in a town… it’s a metaphor, of course… but that’s where the crux of the matter is…

Where am I?

Where am I supposed to go?

Where do I belong?

Do I belong in the cold, blistery streets of that Canadian city?  Or under the warm baking Ghanaian sun… doing what I love most?

EWB holds to the principle that we as Canadians, as Westerners can never truly know (and therefore solve) the problems that the poor face in their struggle against poverty.  But we can do our darndest by integrating – by getting to know local Ghanaians personally and making their troubles our own.  By being Ghanaians and understanding what Ghanaians go through.  That’s why the title of each article in this blog will be a new Ghanaian word.

But can I ever truly be a Ghanaian?  Will I ever understand such an established culture that I was never born to?  Will I ever belong?

Or will I always be lost in town?

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