Hey, I’m Issy and I’m an intern working with Gyapa Enterprises. I came to Ghana in March, but I had been working remotely from the UK a month prior. The two main focuses of my internship is using GPS and GIS to create a map of all the producers and retailers of Gyapa cookstoves, and also to help develop our various social media channels. I studied Geography at university and developed a keen interest in sustainable development and environmental issues, so I am hoping to increase my knowledge around these subjects and learn about new ones.

Welcome to Ghana.
The first thing that hit me getting off the plan was the heat. I was coming from the UK where snow was forecast - it was a bit of a jump to 25-30C in Ghana! After a long cold winter in the UK, it was very nice to be warm without having to be bundled up in thousands of layers. I arrived on a Saturday, so had the Sunday to sort myself out and get ready for my first day in the office with the team. I spent most of Sunday having a BBQ and smiling to myself as I watched the UK become covered in a blanket of snow.

And the Field Work Begins.
As with any new job, the initial part of the first day is going around the place and meeting everyone, trying to remember everyone’s name. After a whistle-stop tour of the office, it was down to work for my first full day. After a couple of days being office based, researching how other social enterprises use social media, I went out with our driver, Isaac, and Marketing Officer, George, to visit a production site. This was my first chance to see how the Gyapa project works, and it gave me a better idea of what Gyapa Enterprises is all about. It was really cool to see the guys transform scrap mental into the bodies of the Gyapa cookstoves. George told me how each production site makes the handles slightly differently so you can tell where each stove has been made. 
PictureIssy with George and Lucky
This was also where I first experienced the ‘obruni effect.' Obruni means 'white person' in Twi, the local Ghanaian language, and as we were approaching the site children stayed shouting this at our truck as we rode past. George explained that they were shouting at me. Kids will say this at you whilst passing, almost as if you were a celebrity passing through, and most adults will address you as obruni if they want to speak to you. It is something you soon get used, and comes part in parcel of being an obruni.

The visit also allowed me to collect my first lot of photos which we can use for future social media and include in blog posts. This is another aspect of my internship; as photos make such an immediate visual impact, we try and capture as much of what we see when we are out visiting producers and retailers in order to fully depict the Gyapa story. I just hope I have enough space on my laptop for all the images!

I really enjoyed my first few weeks in Ghana working with the Gyapa team, and I am looking forward to my time here. I will hopefully learn a lot about social enterprise, social media tactics and relearn GIS. I will be keeping a blog throughout my time here, so keep posted for more updates about my internship and my experiences in Ghana.

You can follow Issy's adventures with Gyapa Enterprises in Ghana on our blog, and on her Twitter feed @Issy_01

 


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