GCIUS – Finding our Place and Cultural Adaptation
Ghana — Uniterra
After more than a month in Ghana, it is clear that some challenges only come with only one possible solution: the total and humble acceptance of the situation in which we are. The denial of this unique solution could lead to a state in which we would be trapped by fearful emotions and behaviors such as stress, anxiety, shame, isolation and a perpetual questioning of our decisions. It is important not to be mistaken, this solution is not synonymous with giving up, but rather understanding and openness to the environment in which we find ourselves: openness that requires challenging our will to leave room for the real needs of the local communities, especially for women and young people amongst them. We can only be grateful to have the chance to learn and share each day with all those who share their life, culture and history so generously.
One thing is striking: we can only initiate reflections and their development towards a more inclusive society and that is all. The primary purpose of the GCIUS is not to challenge the way communities are functioning, but to support changes that come directly from them. The real lasting change comes and will always come, always, from an inside will. While our realistic cartesian mind visualizes a tangible object to deliver to the client, the GCIUS is fortunate to have the communicative, human and social mind of Laurie, the GCIUS gender officer. Such multidisciplinarity is indispensable. To initiate change and create more than just a building, time and ongoing involvement will be our best allies.
Regarding construction, the steps are going on at an ever faster pace and we are starting to be considered more seriously within the project. Although this aspect seems essential, it is far from being in an environment where we act much more as apprentices, because all the working techniques are different from what we already know. After a month of observation, questions, active listening and adaptation, the questions are now redirected to us. Others are much more interested in our opinion and the relationship is now similar to a teamwork where everyone can benefit from everyone’s strengths. The foundation concreting is firmly underway and should be completed during the week of October 8th. Moreover, we are looking forward to welcoming Nathalie Roy, a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the Université de Sherbrooke who will be with us from October 10th to 18th. Her presence in Ghana is welcome and her advices will undoubtedly be very useful.
– Jordan Laroche