Matched with The Earth Institute for the wonderful assignment of “One Million Community Health Workers” (1mCHW) Campaign, I had a start to the PULSE Program different than some of my colleagues: I spent 2 weeks in the Campaign’s office in Columbia University (CU), New York. It helped me a lot in getting to know the Campaign team and dive into the project head on. This way, I saved a few weeks trying to understand what my assignment entails and how the contacts will be handled. Considering that the Campaign did not have a permanent office in Ghana, the time I spent in New York turned out to be even more useful than I expected.
(Note: Readers have noticed by now that this is a belated first post. This is mainly due to technical issues, or may I say my technical issues about not being accustomed to using WordPress. But New York also had a finger in it; keeping me from sitting down to write it, which I will mention later in the post…)
I was warmly welcomed by the 1mCHW Campaign team in CU, all of them were very eager to support me with information about the what, why and when’s of the Campaign. I got to work with them side by side, attend the meetings like a regular team member and ask a lot of (sometimes silly) questions. I also got to meet the director of the Campaign in person, Sonia Ehrlich Sachs and admire her passion about the work that they do. Actually, I admired all of them, their ambition to make a change, and make it sustainable.
My assignment also included making Turkish coffee for the team (which I had taken with me from Istanbul). It was quite tricky to find a stove and kitchen equipment to make it; and of course there were no proper ceramic cups to serve it, but I did it anyway. Important note for the reader: This might be the first time in the history of Turkish coffee, where it’s cooked in a saucepan and served in a plastic jug. Due to the hurdle of serving the coffee, there was possibly no fortune telling afterwards (not that I know anything about how to do it…) I guess the team will have to come to Istanbul for good Turkish coffee and to learn about what their futures hold 🙂
The Campaign office was actually quite fun, and I got to roam around the rooms to get quite interesting photos – like this elementary school mock-up of an MVP* village, or the African woman absorbed in her monitor.
Other than the assignment itself, I can write about New York a bit and tell you that it is a very big, crowded city with lots of nice (and some not very nice) people. It has you rushing everywhere all the time and as long as you don’t leave Manhattan, it can be really difficult to find a peaceful time and location, away from the constant ambulance sirens and A/C humming (maybe in Central Park, if your peaceful time includes children yelling). It’s quite a difficult city to get used to living in.
Then again, my 2 weeks in New York actually agreed with Frank Sinatra and gave me the motivation for the rest of my assignment in Ghana: “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere…”
See you while I make it in Ghana!
In the meantime, please feel free to follow my journey on Twitter: @suleinghana
* MVP stands for Millennium Villages Project (of The Earth Institute, Columbia University). For more information on MVP, please visit: http://millenniumvillages.org/
For more information on 1mCHW Campaign, please visit: http://1millionhealthworkers.org/