and north again…

To Bolgatanga, fleeing the internet survey Latif and I have been running in Tamale. It turns out a whole hour online is too much to offer people – I got 111 responses in just a few hours. People often buy time online here in increments of 10 minutes. So next time I will offer half an hour instead, and see what happens. Survey Monkey, the service I am using to do the online research, is brillant though, I recommend it. You can see the results in real time, analyse them, cross-reference them, and see the IP addresses so you know where your results came from. And it loads easily, which is important in Ghana where connections are slow. However, in this case it was too efficient. I left it alone for a few hours and it became a monster. More thought needs to go into this…

I am in Bolgatanga now, staying at Doris’ house. Doris is great – she goes shopping on her motorbike in Bolga market’s tiny alleyways, shouting hello to people as she roars by.

doris shopping

doris shopping

Her compound, where I am staying, has lots of very polite children who make a sound exactly like muppets, and white chickens dyed pink running around.

doris' pink chickens

doris' pink chickens

Bolga is interesting – the Upper East region is quite Catholic, so suddenly I am seeing pigs running around everywhere, along with the cows and goats. We came back tonight to find a family of piglets wandering around the compound, as people were trying to sleep out in the yard. To misquote George Bush, it turns out it is possible for humans and piglets to coexist peacefully.

kids at the compound

kids at the compound

At a bar in Bolga, I was reminded again how normal it is for children to work here. They sell water and food, work on farms and plantations, in shops, everywhere in fact. The Ghanaian census counts the working population as everyone over the age of 6. Sometimes it’s disturbing, but usually it is just normality. This evening, quite small children (around 10 or so) were serving drinks in the bar where Doris and I went. One little girl served a table near us, where four large men were sitting. One of them put his hand on her back as she put his drink down, and though the gesture was momentary, it was one of the nastiest things I have seen since I came here. It explained perfectly why, although child work is not always exploitative, it’s dangerous to accept it as normal.

One comment

  1. The interesting part is that we had losts of people taking the survey and giving as more information than we expected, thanks to surveymonkey express-net and most inportantly linnet taylor the brain behind all this

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: