Chapter 5: “The chameleon changes colour to match the earth….”

I am here again after my Christmas break…it is been quit. A long time without writing and, perhaps, my “inspiration” has gone while I was in Spain and I need more time to adapt myself again after my break…or may be too much work, because I am in the discount time and I need to finish a lot of staff ( Believe or not, but I am working here…) … I guess most of you have been missing my posts, just kidding… at least I hope that. This is for you Tamara, because you have been all the time in Madrid telling me that it is very difficult to identify me behind all these long and pushy texts, but I am still here, it’s still me. There is a saying in Africa that could help to make it clear, “A chameleon can only change its colour but never change its skin”. I’d also like to say something to Maribel: “Don´t be jealous, on my next post I will try to include some comments for you… Ok?” But let’s start now, or the post will be too long otherwise.

Where is the leitmotif this time? The title is not really an idiom this time…I tried to find one to continue on the line of my previous posts, if you remember, I’ve being using an idiom each time, but on this occasion it hasn’t been as easy as I thought it would be, so, from now on I am going to use quotes as well. I hope that it will increase my chances of success… But why a chameleon? The short answer is because in my last trip to Mole National Park here in Ghana I saw one, an amazing one (you can see the first picture)… When I saw the chameleon I thought about how it can change its colour in different situations, its flexibility and adaptability. And looking for quotes I found one that could be very representative of my life and work here, and which also means something very important for me: “the chameleon changes colour to match the earth, the earth doesn’t change colour to match the chameleon” (I’ve got it… I have the quote now…, and a very good one, so now I can speak more about my work here and my life…).

First of all, it’s not only chameleons that I’ve seen in Mole National Park, one of the most important parks here in Ghana (Northern Region) and also, you can see amazing animals and places. (It’s a very good place to do a photographic safari, even walking and you are able to see the elephants and others animals very closly):

  • Northern Region: Very different from the Ashanti Region. Most of the population is muslin and samll twons with a particular houses ( Every group of houses is from the man with his different wives, more than one…).
  • Mole Natural Park: My Favorite part

The animals:

And of course, the elephants very close:

  • Oldest Mosque in Ghana
  • And during the trip you also can stop in Kintampo

As I’ve mentioned earlier (and as everybody knows) the chameleon can change its colour in different situations, and this is a very good characteristic that all of us should apply at some point in our lives, especially in a situation like mine here in Ghana… A different environment, a different job and, of course, a different way of life to which I had to get adapted ( and still working on it ) “The chameleon changes colour to match the earth, the earth doesn’t change colour to match the chameleon”:

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I will be risky, and I will start speaking about my feelings… This is a very appropriate quote, here I learnt a very valuable lesson, maybe I knew it, but here I have more time to apply it…“the chameleon changes colour to match the earth, the earth doesn’t change colour to match the chameleon”: Here I am able to understand other ways of life and other cultures, but not only knowing about it, I can also adapt myself to this life. Here you are some examples:

  • The infrastructures here… remember these road (now it is wost with teh dust)…

    these buildings… these cities:

  • The food… no always easy… here you have some examples too

But also behaving like a chameleon and not waiting for the environment to change allows you to discover terrific things, both around and inside you

  • This natural environment, the natural park, but also the colours of the country,

    and the music:

  • Very nice people around always smiling and helping you, and of course new friends here that are always helping you

    and of course new friends here that are always helping you:

And of course, getting to know yourself a little bit more, which is important in life, and how you can manage your time and solitude… something very useful in the future, I hope. (I must say that sometimes during my break in Spain I missed having time for myself and the need of being on my own sometimes). If you remember, in my last pots I felt over the moon and, also, I got the hand on it, but when I came back from Spain I also realized that I miss my space back at home, my family and my friends a lot (yes, Maribel, sometime I miss you too… Maribel, you won’t need to wait for the next post then, you are already in this one!). But after a couple of weeks, I’d like to say that I’m more than happy for my return to Ghana, even though, as I mention before, I miss Spain and my friends. Why is that? Because, as another African expression says, “People are like chameleons; circumstances make them change their colour”, and this is good but we usually need some time to adapt ourselves to these changes. Now I feel here like being home… for me this means a very big step.

 Regarding my job, I couldn´t find a better expression to explain what I do here…“The chameleon changes colour to match the earth, the earth doesn’t change colour to match the chameleon”: If you remember, I changed my working plan here as well as my mindset after three months here (Communication, organization and commitment), but always trying to mimic the way of working, that has became in a very good exercise to know how others work and adapt yourself to the changes. But after my Christmas break, new challenges have appeared and once again I need to readapt my working plan. As you know, we were waiting for the answer about the insurance, because Tropical laboratory initiative (my lab in the rural area of the Ashanti region, here is the link to the older post,https://gskpulsevolunteers.com/2016/10/05/dont-cross-the-bridge-before-you-come-to-it-2/….marketing work) wants to be part of the network of government laboratories (National Health Insurance Scheme). This is something very important for the sustainability of the lab in the next years, with that we will get the reimbursement of the money from the Ghanaian Government, a very good plan at least to recover some of the lab cost.

We finally GOY IT!!! This is not just good news, this is better than that … But, on the other hand, now we need to readapt again my working plan to this new scenario, like a chameleon:

  • Implementation process:  holding a meeting to decide the best options in the process, also identify possible alternatives and action plans. This sounds very corporative, but it can help us in this processinsurrance
  • Communication with the clinics. I love this part, who would have thought of this three months ago when I started to speak with them. I have really enjoyed my time in the clinics and I learned a lot…
  • And last but not least, I am trying to implement the paperwork as soon as possible to facilitate the work to everyone in TLI and, by doing so, I’ll also become some sort of tech. When I started with dynamic tables and “Commcare” (a program used here in the laboratory) could you imagine that? But in the end, I like information technology and it is something that I could help with…picture1

I’d like to think that we have done a very good job, and that we are still doing it. But the best thing is that I am very happy, even over the moon, because everything is going very well. And maybe this is because I am able to adapt myself (at least I’m trying), like the chameleon to the earth, and not wait for the earth to change for me…Something very important too is that the whole team in TLI are helping me to do that, they are also like chameleons, but in this case they are adapting themselves to my way of work and communication…thank you so much

I know that the structure of this new post is a bit different, but I hope you’ll like it. Because, as another Africa proverb sais, “Move like a chameleon, look in front, and watch behind“, and that’s also very good for you in your life.

Thank you again for reading my posts and we’ll speak soon… I’m still here (Remember: “A chameleon can only change its colour…”), with my sarcasm and complains about a lot of things. For this reason, just before I finish, I’d to complain about some things here (dirty places, lack of organization, timelines, …), but that will be for the next blog…

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I hope it will be sooner and shorter… I need to engage you….I propose you a plan, I will do some shorter post to speak about specific theme that you decide ( Weddings, funerals, food…), this posts will be shorter, maybe juts with pictures…

ME DA SE (Thank You)

PD: Spanis version in https://pablocastanedaghana.wordpress.com/