Seeing old friends is always nice. Combining that with some interesting voluntary work is even nicer in the first year of my retirement. This is what I did in Ghana a few weeks ago. I went on holiday for two weeks visiting friends and I offered my expertise free of charge to our partner there: the WASH Resource Centre Network Ghana http://www.washghana.net, I asked them how they could use me. In the end it turned out that an interactiv workshop sharing my 40 – year experience in journalism and WASH communication with the Ghana WASH Journalists Network was very welcome. Continue reading
I had a fabulous farewell retirement party on 18 January 2012 by IRC in The Hague . A party centre turned into an Amsterdam Jazz cafe, with a DJ with jazz on vinyl, a couple of nice speeches, and an All that Jazz publication from colleagues with their music choices for me. I had my mother (turning 88) and sister (turning 70) dancing! My daughter Mirjam and brother in law where also there.
I have listened all afternoon to Cor’s “Dick de Jong Tribute Eclectic Top Twenty” that was in the publication. He also emailed me his selection from Youtube with fantastic films. He is the one and only able to link all this music clips with his highlights from my career, even with links to my sabbatical leave blog from 2004 and 2005.
The playlist has great variety from all over the world, with some classic performances and events. I you are interested you can access it from You Tube.
Enjoy, comments are welcome!
At my office we have lots of discussions about how we can share our free WASH content on water sanitation and hygiene water with Africa, with mobile phones spreading rapidly out there. I am always saying that most of the subscribers to our paper Source Bulletin newsletters do not have access to internet. Oh sure, I have come across the occasional NGO activist in Ghana and engineer in Nigeria that tell me to go to an Internet cafe each weekend to get our newsletter and download other relevant stuff from our site www.irc.nl. We all believe that mobile phones provide the chance for most Africans to get access to relevant content on the internet.
At the HIVOS/IICD Fill the Gap conference http://www.fill-the-gap.nl/ in Amsterdam last Friday we had some sobering news on this from Estelle Akofio-Sowah from Google in Ghana. The costs for internet access in Africa are coming down, but still costs 135 Euro per month. Google Ghana provides universities with free broadband internet access. They are introducing their android mobile phones at a price of around 38 euro.
Other challenges identified by Estelle included:
- lack of local content
- many local languages.
The free Friday afternoon was my first free time in my effort to reduce my workweeks in my retiring from work year.