Archive Digitisation Project: Looking for Team Members

                                                                          

BUILDING EARLY ACCRA: AN ARCHIVE DIGITISATION PROJECT

The Building Early Accra Project (bEA) is looking for self-motivated, enthusiastic, and organised people to join our project team in two roles: (1) Assistant Project Coordinator, and (2) Digitisation Officer. Our project aims to digitise an important collection of architectural documents pertaining to construction in Accra from the early 1900s in order to make them available to future generations. The project is funded by an academic research grant and the duration is 12 months in this first instance.

 

THESE ROLES ARE RIGHT FOR YOU IF:

You’re excited about taking on new challenges, even if they are in new and unfamiliar terrains. You are good at thinking and learning quickly.

You can clearly and confidently communicate your ideas and opinions, whether in writing or verbally.

You’re available starting mid-to-late January, 2020.

Having years of experience in similar roles and/or relevant educational credentials is desirable, but not essential. (Volunteer roles and internships count as experience). For clarification or inquiries, email km79@soas.ac.uk.

 

APPLICATION PROCEDURE:

Find detailed information about the different roles below. To apply, send an email to km79@soas.ac.uk with a cover letter and CV stating which role you wish to apply for. The deadline for submitting applications is 7th January, 2020. Applications submitted after this date will not be considered.

 

  1. ASSISTANT PROJECT COORDINATOR

Reports to the Principal Investigator (P.I.)

Remuneration: GhS 25,800 – GhS 30,000 for 12-month period, depending on experience

 

MAIN DUTIES:

  • Assist the P.I. in coordinating and supervising the bEA project and related activities.
  • Assist the P.I. to supervise the project team and associated personnel, and liaise with relevant stakeholders in order to ensure project success.
  • Sort, prepare and digitise Archival Material according to project guidelines and standards.

 

REQUIRED:

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Demonstrable ability to work with minimal supervision.
  • Strong organisational and creative problem-solving skills.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.

 

GREAT TO HAVE, BUT NOT ESSENTIAL:

  • Experience in a similar organisational, management or leadership role
  • Relevant educational qualifications
  • Experience with historical research, archives, architecture and related fields.

 

 

 

  1. DIGITISATION OFFICER

Reports to the Principal Investigator (P.I.) and Assistant Project Coordinator (A.P.C.)

Remuneration: GhS 24,000 – GhS 26,400 for 12-month period, depending on experience

 

MAIN DUTIES:

  • Assist the P.I. and A.P.C. in implementing the bEA project and related activities.
  • Sort, prepare and digitise Archival Material according to project guidelines and standards.
  • Develop and implement archival systems for the archival materials according to project guidelines and standards

 

REQUIRED:

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Demonstrable ability to work with minimal supervision.
  • Demonstrable experience (education or work) with archiving.

 

GREAT TO HAVE, BUT NOT ESSENTIAL:

  • Degree or Diploma in Archival Studies, Archiving, History or related fields.
  • Experience with digitising archival material
  • Experience with using digital imaging equipment (such as scanners and cameras)
  • Experience with historical research, archives, architecture and related fields.

Remembering my Primary School teachers… :-)

I just felt a burning desire to list all the class teachers I had in primary school. These women and one man played an important part in shaping me. If I have time when I’m back in Ghana, I would like to track them and visit. Especially my class 6 teacher. How about you? Do you remember yours?

Class 1 – Mz Asare, I think her first name is Christina. I remember how thrilled she was about my progress in class. You see, I had been jumped from KG 2 to class one because I already knew all the lessons for KG2. My mother, when she was on maternity leave after having my little brother was so bored that she spent her days teaching me things she had no business teaching me. One thing that really stands out in my memory was the afternoon i got into trouble because I said sorkorpimpim. It was a very naughty word and I don’t really remember who taught me or what it meant exactly (had to do with sex), but I said it out loud in class and horrified Mrs. Asare. It’s probably why she wanted to jump me to class 2 after a term, but my mother wouldn’t let her – she thought the other kids would pick on me.

Class 2 – Mz Darko. Elizabeth (I think) was a force of nature. Even now I remember her as an extremely confident woman. She also had the most beautiful shiny dark skin and curly hair – I learned later on that they were called jerry curls. Two moments stand out from my encounters with her; first, she cured me of my “cry-babyism” when she sharply reprimanded me about always crying to get my way. I was so worried about disappointing her as I was equal parts awed and terrified of her that I stopped! Second, she didn’t come to school one day because she was ill, so a substitute teacher took over the class that day and set us to writing get well soon letters. In mine, I wrote that I would bring her Lucozade. Lucozade was a sort of energy drink that my father swore by and I really did think it was the thing to drink when you were ill. I still do! Anyway, the next day I actually did bring her the Lucozade, making her so happy. She actually had tears in her eyes.

Class 3 – Mz Cecilia Boateng. I have one very sad memory from class with Miss Boateng. She didn’t do anything wrong – she was a kind, gentle soul. I think even then she had rather sad eyes. My sad memory was walking into class early after break time one afternoon and finding her sitting with tears in her eyes. She didn’t even notice me, and I didn’t understand why till I overhead some gossip from other teachers about four years later. Gossip that is not my place to share. It is sad that that moment has overshadowed any other memories I have of her.

Class 4 – Mz Millicent Obeng. She was a member of the Deeper Life Church. I remember this because she told me after I asked her why she wore no earrings and wore her hair the way she did. It was in her class that I decided to be a scientist. It was in her class too that I discovered my competitive spirit.

Class 5 – Mz Adanse. Another powerful personality – from her commanding voice to her “presence”. She had a way of walking into class and “filling” the room. It had nothing to do with her size, it was just the sort of aura she had. I liked her and used to visit her at her house which wasn’t far from mine. She also used to make meatpies and rock buns to sell in school and I used to help her carry the little bucket she put the pies in. She was also very good at caning. She used to strike fear in my little heart when she picked up her cane and thrashed some poor soul. I don’t remember getting caned by her, possibly because I was extra good so as to avoid a beating!

Class 6 – Mr Samuel Otoo. He really was my favourite. He used to chat with me at break time when I was going through my antisocial stage, and he took me seriously. In his class I decided to be an astronaut, an crime lab technician, a credit analyst and a professor in no particular order. He was always very interested and I lived for the days when my mother said it was okay to let him walk me home – he also lived near the school. After secondary school, I went by his house and found out that he moved. I don’t know where he lives now, but I would love to meet him again.

The Accra Furqan: An Ottoman masterpiece in Accra

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Though it’s still under construction, one cannot help but be impressed by the mosque on the Kanda highway. It is a beautiful example of Ottoman architecture, and the arches and perfectly formed domes, in spite of the forest of wooden formwork, give hints of the elegance that is associated with Islamic architecture.

The Accra Furqan, also the Ghana National Mosque, is a gift from the people of Turkey to the people of Ghana, and with its impressive series of domes and semi domes, it has the potential to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the city.

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See the flag of Turkey up there?, and those are some of the skillful workers. So many domes!

 

Constructed with 4000 cubic metres of concrete and 700 tonnes of steel, the Accra Furkan is far from solid or compact. True to the Ottoman architectural style, the domes seem almost weightless, and combined with a clever mix of courtyard spaces and arched walkways, the building manages to appear huge and yet “light”.

Erdiogan Getinkaya’s design is influenced by the Blue Mosque (or the Sultan Ahmet Mosque) in Istanbul as well as the Selimiye Mosque. The 8000 capacity mosque is scheduled for completion in late November, just in time for Ramadan Prayers.

 

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I made some friends 🙂 They’re the 2 of 3 Ghanaian workers there. The project has an unbelievably small workforce!

 

There are 50 domes in the Accra Furqan building, the largest and main dome sits at a height of 36 metres from the ground and is supported by 4 2.1metre diameter columns at 20 metre intervals. At each of the four corners of the mosque building is one 62 metre high minaret where the “muezzins” will perform “adhans”. The exterior of the building will be finished in polished marble, with the domes cladded in lead.

The facility as a whole will contain a school, health facility and a home for the National Chief Imam.

 

 

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Architect’s Rendering , not even half as beautiful as the mosque under construction

How I got my iPhone back and Other Stories. (Part 3)

February 1st, 2014.

Madina, Accra.

After a night spent tossing, turning, crying silent tears and making promises to my guardian angels and ancestors on duty I woke up with almost no hope of finding my phone. Then I heard that Vanessa’s iPhone was stolen at the beach on Saturday AND THE THIEF RETURNED IT. With my vim renewed, I made some other phone calls, and eventually ended up speaking to the Don of stolen phones at Kwame Nkrumah Circle. Let’s call him Pappy Show. Pappy Show said my gold iPhone hadn’t shown up at Kwame Nkrumah Circle yet, and that I should not worry, because no fence in her/his right mind would take an iPhone 5S. “You will get your phone back if it enters Circle”, he ended.

Angel Vanessa to the rescue.

I called Vanessa earlier to comfort her when I heard her phone got stolen. She didn’t answer, I guess she was too miserable to, but she called back after she got it back and I told her about my own missing iPhone and what I planned to do. That’s when she introduced me to two of her friends; the very well connected Kofi and the Buffalo/Panther Unit Policeman Daniel. I called them and we agreed to meet the next day to go and look for phone in Sowutuom. Charley, it’s never just twitter oh. Vanessa and I met through Twitter interractions! 🙂

On Monday morning, as I sat in front of Living Room, East Legon, waiting for Kofi and watching happy young couples pass by, I wondered how much I would spend on taxi fares. I certainly wasn’t going to make Kofi and Daniel take troski to Sowutuom. A phone call interrupted my money matters calculations. It was Kofi, “I’m in the blue car across the street.” Ladies and gentlemen, What a car it was! I couldn’t believe my luck as I clambered on board Kofi’s fully “nyanya’d” (air conditioned, to the uniformed) SUV. We picked Vanessa up from work (Yes, she actually left work early to join us!), then we picked Daniel the policeman up.

On our way to Sowutuom, I got a strange call from a person who was trying to reach a “Frank”. After initially dismissing it as a wrong number call, I thought again, considering the circumstances, I called back to find out who this person was and where he got the number from. He gave his name as Sellas and he said he was calling from Koforidua. I stored his number as “Suspicious Suspicious” and put that on the back burner.

At Sowutuom Agenda, we went straight to the area macho man, who I had befriended on my previous visit, to ask if he had heard anything new or seen our number one suspect Kwasi Takyi the taxi driver doing anything suspicios. During this conversation, “Suspicious Suspicious” called me.

Me: “Hello”

S.S: “Hello, I called you earlier”

Me [pretending not to remember and signalling Kofi, Vanessa, and Daniel over]: “When? I don’t know this number, sorry”

S.S: “I called earlier and said it was a wrong number”

Me: “Oh okay, I remember now”

S.S: It’s about your phone. My sister found it in a trotro and she’s scared. Can we meet tomorrow so I give it to you?”

Me: “Where are you now? I’ll come and get it today?”

S.S: “Koforidua, you won’t get a bus at this time, let’s meet tomorrow”

Me: “Don’t worry, I have a car, I’ll drive to Koforidua right now. God Bless you so much for calling!”

S.S: “Okay, I don’t want you to worry so lets’ meet halfway”

Me: “Okay, Aburi, in an hour and a half? Take a taxi, don’t worry, I’ll pay”

S.S: “Okay”

Of course we had no intention of going to Aburi, so we went to Madina Zongo junction and I called, told him my car had DV plates and the police were giving me a hard time so he should come to Madina instead.

I won’t write about those tense moments when he wouldn’t answer my calls for thirty minutes, or how when he told me he was at Madina, it took another thirty minutes to find him. I’ll fast forward to giving him fifty cedis because he said the taxi fare came up to thirty cedis and he really didn’t want my money.

The phone was a little scratched, because someone had tried to remove the back. I don’t know, perhaps the person was trying to find the SIM card slot. The person had also attempted a Hard reset, but it was stuck on the screen where it asks for you to log in with your apple ID and password. I ignored all this. My new found police buffalo squad friends were furious. They wanted to go and get the taxi driver and question him, but I had no concrete proof that he was involved, and I knew of police interrogation techniques. I don’t have the necessary hardness to sanction that sort of thing. I also felt Sellas was just a messager, he was a little scrap of a thing, a teenager, by the looks of it. So even though the squad commander thought otherwise, I elected to let it go.

I still talk to Sellas. I even sent him money. Eventually, we’ll talk about the phone. We’ve tried to reform “criminals” with beatings and torture. I don’t know of a case where that method hasn’t resulted in a more hardened criminal. So I’m trying kindness. If Sellas is a thief, or linked to thieves, perhaps I can get him out of it. He might turn out great.

And that, friends, is how I got my iPhone back. And I spent 83.5 Ghana Cedis in total. 55 for Sellas,15 on credit for various gossip girls and boys I selected in Sowutuom Agenda, and the rest on troski fares. Not a bad deal at all. I would have spent that on a phone cover and a screen protector, so I got 5 cedi ones from Madina market to make up for that cost instead. Not bad. Not bad at all.

To God Be The Glory. We are pencils in the hands of the creator. Of course there’s a part four. I’m not a learner. 

Watch out!!!

How I got my iPhone back and Other Stories. (Part 2)

February 1st, 2014.

Madina, Accra.

 

At exactly 3:17 am, I gave up on trying to fall asleep and decided to map out my iPhone retrieval strategy. I had calmed down somewhat during the night, and remembered that I would have to pay Madina Police if I took them to Sowutuom to find my phone. This wasn’t a desirable situation as I had left my job and I would be travelling to Cameroon (I’ll post about this later) in 2 weeks. Of course I had a budget for this trip, but my budget was a cedi budget and you guys know what happened/is happening with the economy. If you don’t know, read Efo Dela’s blog for an interesting non-expert analysis. In short, na money be problem waa and I could not afford to pay any policeman.

My mind started doing that thing that my architecture professors loved so much; connecting pieces of information I had come across from conversations with all sorts of people.

This is where I chip in a piece of advice – No matter how smart/wealthy you are, please don’t assume 1. nobody can teach you anything, 2. nobody can help you. Your salvation may come from the most unlikely place!

I remembered a friend I made in a troski once, a jack of all trades, let’s call him Onipa. Among Onipa’s several pick-up-line attempts was a line about being connected to people who “acquired” phones at Kwame Nkrumah Circle.

Piece of Advice number 2, for ladies, even if a guy trying to chat you up is repulsive, if he’s not being rude, there’s no need to be rude or mean to him. You can say no politely and part as friends.

Anyway, I called Onipa and told him about my phone, about the area from the email being Anyaa or Sowutuom. “Ah!”, he exclaimed, “If it’s Anyaa then you have no problem, I know a guy there who can help you. He knows a lot of “guys” in Anyaa. His name is Pince, call him. I’m not in Accra, I would have helped you myself, but with Pinch you’re in good hands”

That is how I found myself waiting for Pince at Awoshie Market bus stop at 6:30 on Saturday morning. Pince turned up, saw the map and said that area was called Sowutuom Agenda, out of his “jurisdiction”, but offered to take me there in his pick up truck! This was great because then I would save on taxi costs. On our way to Sowutuom, we picked up Pince’s friend Fire, an aspiring actor. Did I mention that Pince has directed a movie? The movie hasn’t been released yet because of financial constraints.

At around 9 o’clock Pince, Fire and I arrived at Sowutuom Agenda, and the map led us straight to an uncompleted building. There were 3 taxis parked in a 15 metre radius of the uncompleted building. I didn’t have the car number, I didn’t know the make or model of the taxi, and only vaguely remembered what the driver looked like (dark, tall, perhaps heavy). Remember, I was dizzy and in pain during the taxi ride…

We asked around for the taxi drivers, found number one and eliminated him because he was fair-complexioned. The 2nd driver had just washed his car, gone down the road with his friend and should be back soon, and driver number three was still asleep. At this point, I didn’t feel I was dealing with a hardcore thief, just someone who had found an expensive phone and was reluctant to return it to its rightful owner.

While waiting for driver number 2 to return and number 3 to wake up, I got a 2nd email at 10:30 with a 2nd location in the direction where driver number 2 was said to have gone off. I thought it was good news and expected to get my phone back, but in the meantime I walked round the area making sure to tell people about my missing phone. One of the points I stressed was that it was locked and nobody could unlock it but me (This is true, there’s no jailbreak for the 5S). I also told them that anytime it was turned on, It would send me an email with it’s exact location (This is not entirely true. Location email will only be sent if there’s a working internet connection). I got the opportunity to explain Google maps to 4 or 5 very amazed and impressed inhabitants of Sowutuom Agenda, taking delight even in my misery in showing them their houses and even the heaps of sand infront of some buildings. “Ah then this phone can buy a land”, one hairdresser said. Well, actually, yes, it can.

At about 12:45, driver number 2 showed up. I saw him coming from afar and asked the hairdresser if that was the driver because he looked kind of familiar. He walked straight up to us and said he heard some people were looking for him.

I asked “Do you remember me?” He responded in the negative.

“Did you pick someone up around Madina yesterday?”

” No, I worked in Kaneshie”

[NB. Kaneshie was flooded the previous day]

“Well, I took a taxi and dropped my phone in it. This phone has a tracking device in it and it has led me to your house. Do you live with another taxi driver or did someone else use your car yesterday?”

All this while, I was being very pleasant. I was smiling and using my friendly you-can-trust-me voice. Unfortunately, this didn’t work. Taxi driver number two, Kwasi Takyi exploded in anger! He yelled at me and said I was calling him a thief and said i could take his keys and go and search his room, among other things.

Sigh.

After trying to talk to him calmly and eventually realising he was drunk, Pince, Fire and Kofi’s dad (who showed up to help find the phone) suggested that I should go home and wait for the phone to show up online again. When it did, the plan was to go with the Sowutuom Police to retrieve it. I didn’t think it was a good idea, but after driving to location two with Kofi’s dad and finding no leads, I accepted defeat for the day. Day 2 without my iPhone- I was disappointed and very sad, but what could I do? I got in a troski and went home to Madina. One the way back, the phone was turned on twice in location number 2.

A guy tried to chat me up in the troski on the way back. I didn’t take my own advice. I eviscerated the poor guy. Sigh

The phone showed up at 6:45pm for the last time. I slept for about two hours, woke up around midnight and cried on my mother, who just wanted her laughing concert girl back.

On Sunday morning, she asked, Now will you go to church? I didn’t go.

 

 

All hope seems lost, but remember that the stone that the builders rejected became the chief cornerstone. 

What happens next? Find out in Part 3