Archive for January, 2008

Akwaaba ("Welcome" in Twi)!!

January 14, 2008


My first day of work as a Meltwater Fellow was spent on the beach. Jorn Lyseggen, the CEO of Meltwater, thought it would be a good idea for the MEST team get to know each other and acclimate to Accra by shopping and swimming. So, after breakfast we went over to the Accra Mall, had some lunch, and then our driver, Kwesi, took us to the beach at the Tils Hotel at Kasoa.

The beach was amazing and the water was the perfect temperature. The sky was a little hazy from the smoke and pollution created in the city, but overall it was beautiful. The best part was that, besides the MEST team, there were only 5 other ppl on the entire beach. We swam in the Gulf of Guinea and joked about the fact that if we swam far enough south, we would reach Antarctica. Ghana, unlike many other nations with beautiful coastline, Ghana has not developed its beach-front property so there are kilometers and kilometers of untouched beach.

But the most amazing part of my first day at work was the chance to meet the MEST team, which is composed of some truly amazing people.

The MEST team currently consists of:
Jorn – CEO of Meltwater Group – Norway
Fredrik – Head of Meltwater Foundation – Norway
Ylva – MEST Managing Director – Sweden
Ndey – MEST Program Manager – Gambia
Ashak – Head of Meltwater Business Incubator (MINC) – India

Hajo – MEST Instructor – Germany/USA
Kate – MEST Instructor – USA
David – MEST Instructor – Ghana
Eryam – Teaching Fellow – Ghana
Sebastian – Teaching Fellow – Germany
Jareau – Teaching Fellow – USA

I have never met a group of people who have accomplished so much, but are so humble. Moreover, these people want to do more. They want to change the way development work is done in Africa.

More to come. My days are long and the work is difficult so my posts will be short until I get my rhythm down.

Mia ga dogo (“We will meet again” in Ewe)

I’m outta here…

January 11, 2008


Friends, family, mentors, & kin folk,

On Saturday, January 12th, I left the USA, my home for the last 23 years, for the beautiful and proud Republic of Ghana. For the next 6 months I will be living in Accra, Ghana and will be employed by the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) as a Teaching Fellow. MEST is a part of the Meltwater Foundation, which is a subsidiary of the Meltwater Group, which is a Norwegian-based business software company with offices across the world. Meltwater has two core competencies: 1) World-class software development, and 2) the development of high-potential young people into business leaders and, through MEST, it plans to use these competencies to develop the future technology leaders of Africa. You can learn more about Meltwater and MEST at http://www.meltwater.com and I will elaborate on MEST’s approach to training technology leaders in Africa in later posts, but I first want to get to the reason for this post.

I am in Ghana now and while I look around at the new and interesting things and people surrounding me, I am struck by the incredible amount of time, energy, love, support, encouragement, anguish, and sacrifice it has taken to get me here, and although I am embarking on this journey alone, I take with me the lessons so many of my friends, family, loved ones, and mentors, (and even enemies) have taught me. I don’t have much time here to get into the specifics (I have breakfast with the team in a few minutes), but I did want my first posting to stand as a letter of appreciation to all of the people who made it possible for me to succeed in my sports and academics in Tucson, attend a world-class university, graduate from said university, and now travel across the Atlantic to educate myself and others in Africa. I am eternally grateful to all of you and love you all. Thank you.

…more posts to come once I get settled and find a converter for all of my American electronics (including this laptop).

-Jareau Kenneth Wade