Today the Turtle 1 was officially handed over to the people of Suame Magazine at an official gathering. The nana (or chief) of the new land represented King Otumpfu II (who was traveling) and received the key from Aardschap Foundation.
After the handing over of the keys, the Turtle was taken out through Suame in a parade. The brass band brought the already festive atmosphere to a boiling point. The Turtle, after a hibernation of two years, felt at home right away.
TK is one of the manager at UPT, an important stakeholder in the project, and our big help. Without his fixing skills we would be lost in the harbor. Especially his smiles and enthusiasm proof very effective in solving problems.
Now the car is out of the harbor, we prepare ourselves for the journey to Kumasi. Osu and Lamous, two of the most loyal mechanics of the Turtle project travelled to Accra on their own expense to help us out. At 8:00 we are awaiting our departure. The Turtle is however still stuck in traffic and it will take to 10:00 until we finally are on our way.
Last check up before our journey that will take us through the mountainous central part of Ghana, Eastern region and finally to Kumasi. A good test to see how the Turtle reacts to the challenges of the rough Ghanaian conditions after a period of hibernation in Europe.
In the Eastern region of Ghana the Turtle feels at home and cruises at a comfortable speed.
At lunch time we stop for a traditional lunch: Fufu, a soup with bushmeat, goat and ‘cassava balls’ where all lunch guests join in. It is always a pleasure to dig in and some members of the team cannot wait to get started.
There are some small problems with the gas tank. Nothing that the mechanics cannot fix. Still, we have to wait for an hour. Meanwhile, some local cacao farmers, join us and want to learn more about the car they heard about on the radio but have not seen before themselves.
Today we had the first official stakeholders meeting: The Turtle team was hosted by the pension fund UTP in their Accra office. Together with SMIDO members, the board of UTP and Aardschap we shared the first idea’s of the future of the Turtle.
UTP Is the main partner of SMIDO in executing the pension fund for their members. UTP took up the task to create a pension fund for the informal sector. Therefore they set up shop in Suame Magazine to get the people on board.
We are very delighted to work with the UTP team to draft the outlines for the future plan of the Turtle. The coming two weeks we will work hard to get new stakeholders on board.