research!

…or the promise of it, at last. I set up interviews with senior management at a major internet company, which means I can get the first of my network studies done before I go north. Which is good. Unfortunately, though, it entails explaining myself, which is not so good. My study has three levels, and I tend to jump to whichever the person in question knows best – technology, entrepreneurship, migration. I am interested in migration, but the way to address what interests me most is through studying entrepreneurship among returnees. And the tech sector is one way to do that in Ghana, as it’s where you often find the migrants. So there are three explanations of my project, all of which more or less make sense until I jump between them. Then people glaze over and think about going to get a cup of coffee. So I wrote three paragraphs about what questions I’ll be asking, and how I will keep their responses private, and printed out some copies for people. This works much better because it doesn’t involve me speaking at all. I am wondering about taping my mouth shut in order to maximise clarity about my work.

Here are some of the staff at Busy, who have been helping me arrange my interviews:

boat, faustina and aida

boat, faustina and aida

I have also been re-encountering Ghanaian phone etiquette. Once you give your number to anyone, you need to be prepared for calls at any time of the day or night. And when you pick up, the person will often launch into conversation without identifying themselves, even if you have never met them before. I feel so unfriendly saying ‘who are you?’ that I often just talk to them, and try to figure out who they are.

It’s all go here. It’s Hannah’s birthday today, and last night Chris Smith and his friend Mike arrived from Burkina on their way to surf.  So we went out to Osu to freak them out with the non-Burkinabe food. It was successful. Here they are on Oxford street, significantly browner than they were before two months in Burkina:

chris and mike

We also found a fabulous food stall on our way to dinner. It has the ideal mix of inviting dishes, emotional independence and cryptic reflection. It was either started by someone on the run from the law, who needed to make a quick buck and was good with banku, or someone who wanted to offer moral advice but knew people wouldn’t pay attention without the lure of delicious foodstuffs. Here it is:

mind your own business fast food

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