I am in the middle of fighting with WEB CT to get my course content on the web. Unfortunately the planned follow-up Faculty-led Program to Ghana remains uncertain after first major grant request to support Ghanaian students and instructors was rejected. We did get a small grant to support a service learning element (Current idea: “Helping to build a reading room in a rural village affected by a protected area”). My Ghanaian colleague, Patrick Ekpe, at the University of Ghana Botany Department, is optimistic that we will find funding to realize the expedition – if not in May 2007, then perhaps in January 2008.
I had a holiday card from John Maxen at the Natural History Museum in London today. He has been a great logistic and moral support during and after the most recent survey project in Bumbuna, Sierra Leone, in January of 2006. Hard to believe almost a whole year has passed since that expediton began. A few days ago our local guide Minkailu from Kafogo (the one with the medicinal plant knowledge) called me again. He got the books but not the letter with some funds for the reading room project there. I promised to send more books after the course is over. Unfortunately, the telephone connection was bad and too brief. It must cost him a fortune to call me on a cell phone. The inequalities between our life and life in Africa are always present, be they economic, technical, or educational. Yet, that also makes connecting to Africa fascinating and rewarding.