My first field day! First visit to a village called Jenga that is situated about 2 hours away from Tamale by a car. I felt like a little school kid again, all anxious for a field trip. I tried to observe every inch of this space that was new to me, but somehow it did not look that novel. Maybe because we had seen so many footages already on TV or maybe the goats near the mud huts reminded me of the farming lands where I used to run around as a kid in late 1970’s in South Korea.
We wanted to communicate to the first community, where we were going to launch the software for the shea transactions, about the new process of delivering the shea nuts using identified sacks with barcodes. My field officer, who was in charge of the relationship with these women, gathered women one by one under a big community tree that created us a nice shade from the scorching sun. They have no clock or watch, so meeting at 9 am literally means nothing unless the field officer’s motorcycle shows up with a big noise to the village center. All age groups of kids followed their moms. All of them were lingering around me and Jochen with curiosity, especially on our camera. They still were feeling a bit nervous about us and just gave us long stares. With a barrier of language and feeling uncomfortable that I came empty handed to visit someone’s home territory, I quickly scrambled my mind to see how to connect with these new faces. Being a mom, I took out two small pictures of my daughter and son I carried in my wallet and circulated among around 30 women who gathered. Very quickly I start seeing the shines in their faces exchanging their opinions on my kids and putting the picture forward close to me to compare them with my face. Their novelty on me and my kids, who were supposed to be in one of the northern countries they referred too, seemed to fascinate them. I instantly connected with the women using the biggest nature power of motherhood as a commonality and I started entertaining the kids who flocked around us by signing some children songs and the alphabet song, which I figured a must educational song for children. Once I broke the ice with the community, we jumped into a heated discussion on the business transaction and new processes and distributed the new sacks and showed the women how to attach the barcode tags to the sacks. And then we moved onto another village nearby to repeat.
The next day, we came back to the warehouse of the same community where we received the sacks of shea nuts. The donkey was pulling a cart full of the 85 kg shea nut sacks. Standing next to a donkey cart, we pressed the synchronize button in SAP Rural Sourcing Management application on the Motorola defy smartphone to send all the real time transaction data to the server in Germany. Then, within a few seconds, we got the confirmation from my colleague in Germany that synchronization of the data was successful! The excitement and thrill we shared as a team could be compared to seeing a miracle of the odd combination of wireless data and magical dusts floating around while the slow lazy donkey rolling on the red dirt road scratching his back. The power of innovation and technology that was brought, almost like a miracle to this continent for its development, energized me so much and made me real proud to be a part of this contribution and SAP. This day was definitely the highlight of my Ghana trip!
To be continued….
See the related blog posts on SAP Sustainability Shea Project Ghana Trip by navigating arrow buttons next to the title on top.
Post 1 How is SAP Helping the World in the Bottom of Pyramid?:
Post 2 Here Comes the Stilettos City Girl to Crack Ghanaian Shea Nuts!:
Post 3 First Impressions of Africa! :