One at a time, I am the one
Ajua Oli is my Ghanaian name in which ‘Adjua’ means that I was born on Monday. Friends like to describe me by three adjectives—economical, logic thinking and funny. Now I major in the Institute of Linguistics, which is a study of languages with many different subfields, such as syntax, phonology, morphology…etc. At the age of twenty-four, I am not content with my small and colorless life because I spend too much time on studying, studying and studying. Therefore, when seeing the information about NTHU international volunteer services, I was extremely interested and excited. ‘Just go for it,’ I said to myself. Otherwise, it is hard to have activities after becoming a green graduate. What most important is that voluntary services brings me more than the academic knowledge—people and the world.
In Africa, many countries have the colonial histories. Although many of them have declared independence, their economics are still colonized by other developed countries. For example, MTN, Tigo and Vodafone are three telecoms in Ghana; however, MTN and Tigo are from South Africa, which means most profits go to foreign pockets instead of domestic ones. To solve the unbalance between the third world and the developed countries, we believe that there are two equalizers—one is education and the other is Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Consequently, our service include the IT school with a hope of empower Ghanaian students and teachers via our ICT knowledge, such as the Internet, software, hardware, Slax open source…etc. I’ve never been so close to the global issue till this program, which really opens my eyes in the one month in Ghana.
The Internet brings Ghana the world and introduces herself in a quick way, but the other side of the coin is that the Internet also brings western cultures, the trunk stream, into Ghana, which will endanger local cultures sooner or later. In addition to IT training, the other of our mission is to digitalize local cultures – drum and Denkyira Kingdom. What impresses me the most is the cultural travel to find a tree called ‘Twenebouh,’ the best tree to make drums due to its insect-proof characteristics. Generally, people understand drums by going to factories, museum and shops but seldom package themselves and rock to the mountain where drum woods come from. This time we followed a drum maker and rocked the way to the mountain, recording and documenting. I eyed the complete process of making drums!! It helps me understand the complete stories and labors behind each drum other than just a product.
Of people, this project connects many different people from Taiwan sponsors, NTHU students, OVF-Ghana and foreigners; I learn different thinking and philosophies from different people. First, a one-month group life not only helps me understand myself much more than before but also sharps my abilities to observe, analyze and react since there are many different voices, values and frictions in human interactions. Second, information sharing is also another advantage of group activities. For example, I know something about China and Liaoning Province from a China volunteer and technology of video cutting from partners.
Of the project this year, at first it was beyond my anticipation when we founded the students who came for IT training are born in high or middle-class families. OVF-Ghana does help local citizens have access to the Internet, but the resources are far away from the low class since they have difficulties in basic living. We are frustrated when we cannot solve the problems at once. ‘Is that right?’ I questioned myself. Actually, we are impatient and haste, which makes us forget that it really takes time to solve the problems in Ghana. And that is why we need the long-term project. This year we have school teachers to join our IT training and they will become the seeds in Ghana. I believe the fruits of seeds will boost the Ghana development.
Our volunteer services empower Ghanaian to extend them to the world. It dawns me that I, the Taiwan youth, am also empowered by them. I also extend myself to the third world and different people and I’m so happy to become a story teller to share the stories and ideas with others when coming back to Taiwan. Most importantly, the ten NTHU youth will become better designers in the future, which is also crucial to Taiwan’s future. I gratefully thank our sponsors, NTHU, OVF-Ghana, friends, families and Joy. Without their encouraging supports, 2009 Ghana team would not successfully fulfill the task.