A great time is coming to an end

And I would do it again and again! – Real craftsmen are much more needed in Africa than money. From personal experience I can say that there is nothing better than craft. In Germany we have apprenticeship that are admired worldwide. In February, for example, I have also got to know a plumber from Switzerland, who gave his full annual leave and his overtime to lay pipes for a future eye clinic here. At the same time he took a plumber from Ghana and showed him how he learned it in Switzerland. He told me he would do it again and again. So am I!

I lived it! And yet, once again, it’s goodbye. And once again, my motto is, “Never leave quite like that.”

My time in Ghana is running out and with it the entries for my blog. I’m sorry that I haven’t been in touch much lately. Text I would have had a lot of, but time relatively little. It is unbelievable how quickly a daily routine can take over all of your time. I am “op jück” every day from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. And the projects are really challenging, so that I usually fall into bed after dinner, dead tired, and fall asleep. But one thing I am always, I am happy! Happy to be part of it.

With both projects it went since January, over February, into March quite into the basement.

In the workshop I was quite disappointed that my ideas and objections for improvement were not accepted and mostly did not want to be implemented out of convenience. Unfortunately, it is always easier to follow an old pattern than to accept new ideas and implement them for yourself. But if there is one thing I do not do, it is to accept it. And so I accepted the role, and looked at the works of my colleagues over and over again, and always added my mustard. In the beginning I was really uncomfortable with it (neo-colonialism), but with time I found my fun in it, because it worked. In the meantime I only look secretly, and I am really pleased that it has apparently worked! The shoes are on!!!

In football it was so bad that my team was on the verge of collapse. The problem, a non-functioning communication. Coaches and kickers played each other. The lack of reliability on the part of the boys, and in my opinion the wrong reaction by my coach colleagues caused an anger that was unbelievable. And rage on rage does not produce clarification! I had made it clear from the beginning (August) that I, as an interim coach, do not want to be part of the team, nor do I want to be seen as a real coach, and therefore I am always neutral. After endless discussions with both sides, we finally found a solution that it works better again. And that was not easy at all. Because the boys are quite frustrated. Which is understandable when you see how much confirmation and success they have had since childhood. Namely none!

Africa unfortunately has a torrent of untapped potential.

The biggest and most important problem is the lack of parental/school/state support and the resulting lack of orientation. In a life without reference points and supports, one cannot orientate oneself either. What follows is a life on the street, a one-way street and dead end. And then again and again with each generation anew.

Waste of potential

As “only” a shoemaker, my impact here in Ghana is quite small. But I can try, through my blog, and through you, to change the way I see things. Because it’s up to us to do something about the waste of potential. And if we are honest, this is also a pretty big problem in Germany. When I think about how many thousands of school leavers every year don’t know what they are interested in and where they are good at, I am shocked. But orientation, or rather this disorientation, is also a matter of education. If not even a pure educational matter! And I think that I am the perfect example.

And in a way, this is the topic on which it is very important to me to write at the end.

My mother had never given up on me

The path I have taken so far looks pretty good on paper. Kindergarten (which I actually never wanted to leave), through primary school, to secondary school. I finished my “middle maturity” with 2,0. After that I went to school for 3 1/2 years before I ended up in Ghana for 9 months after half a year of afternoon care in primary school.

Sounds everything super and easy, but it was not at first. On the contrary! During my secondary school time, I, or rather my mother, had to fight for me. Because if there is one thing I am not at all, a “learner”! I cannot learn at all. I lose interest in topics that I can/need to learn. Thousands of screams, quite a lot of teacher conversations, constantly bad grades, forgotten homework, but my mother never gave up on me. She has always trusted me. And this trust has, in my opinion, paid off. I’m a success! (Right?)

At some point, I think in the 9th grade, it somehow “clicked” and it got a lot better. From a 3.6 average, it went up to 2.45 and even further up. And now I am even in Ghana, working here in an orthopaedic workshop, helping young adults older than me to make something of themselves. And all this in English, even though I was always 4 there. I don’t think anyone ever expected or thought that from me. Except maybe my grandmother, who would have trusted me to go to university when I was a child. But I’d rather not do this experiment.

Why am I telling you this? Unfortunately, not every child is as lucky as I was. A stable home, and a mother who gives you her full trust and support. However, I’m not the only one for whom school is an absolute barf topic.

and yet every child today thinks/ knows already in primary school that he/she will and must pass the Abitur. But it’s about time that education also focuses much more on the “non learners”! It shows them that not everyone has to take the Abitur. That is the reason why I write.

I always have the feeling that all parents think that nothing will come of their child if it doesn’t take the Abitur. But this is not true! Not every child is a good student. And you don’t do kids any favours by forcing them to take the exam! It’s time again that the craft is considered for more children! But the problem is that neither the schools nor the chambers of handicrafts provide any support in the form of practical lessons. That is why it is also up to the parents to look at their children honestly and perhaps consider practical training instead of school leaving examination. And I can only say that I have matured daily in my training. The mixture of being able to do something meaningful, being responsible for something, and earning money was absolutely right for me. And the training has also given me orientation. Orientation that I am responsible for myself.

And I think that most of my old class, despite having graduated from high school, still don’t really know what they want to do. And the classics, either going to the police or studying business administration, don’t make people happy and don’t help anyone. What you also don’t need are disoriented school leavers who come to Africa “as nobody”. In the end, the Abitur is nothing more than a (secondary) school leaving certificate!

If this comes across as if I have something against high school graduates, it is because I cannot express myself the way I would like to. It’s just important to me that you see that there’s actually not much difference between Germany and Africa. Except that in Germany we have the range of possibilities we could use and in Africa there are no possibilities to use. And yet there is the problem of disorientation in Germany, among other things because we make our success in the future much too dependent on a school-leaving certificate. But we are not doing anyone a favor by doing this. And I would like to show this with myself as an example. I have never been a “learner” and never will be. And yet I know that I too can be successful with this deficit. And can even make a difference in Africa!

What is needed in Africa much more than money are craftsmen.

Craftsmanship is a mainstay everywhere. And from personal experience I can only say that there is nothing better than to use one’s craft, which nobody can take away from me, for people who need it bitterly. And in Germany we have training courses that are admired all over the world.

In February, for example, I also met a plumber from Switzerland who gave his entire annual vacation and overtime to lay pipes for a future eye clinic here. At the same time he took a plumber from Ghana with him and showed him how he learned it in Switzerland. He told me he would do it again and again.
And I would do it again and again!

Now we are going back to Germany for the time being.

And if I’m honest, I’m incredibly scared to go “home”. What I feel at the moment very clearly in my physical condition. An ever increasing feeling of dullness in my stomach, and I really get sick when I think about that and what I’m leaving here and behind me. Because with me there will also come a great expectation. Expectations in the form of unspoken promises that I will and want to remain a part of it here forever. But at the same time I know that I can only “make a difference” here if I myself will go a successful way for myself. Only a few more days and I will be back in Germany, to be precise:

2018/05/12 12:00:00

At the risk of sounding silly, I’m terrified of forgetting all this.

But I’m not pressuring myself. Because “What will be, will be”. And something will happen anyway.

I am looking forward to Germany, too.

Nine months were simply the perfect time for me here. I am leaving Ghana with exactly the right “feeling”. I don’t have too much of Ghana, but I also don’t have the feeling that I’m missing anything here. It is the perfect middle. And I’m just looking forward to seeing you all again. Because I really miss you guys!

But then what? It’s still in the stars. But what I do know, or think I know, is that I won’t stay in Cologne for the time being, but will spend the next few years in Germany/(world) without a fixed destination. At the moment I have one option, but if that doesn’t work, then something else will come. I am a craftsman, and as a craftsman I am welcome and needed all over the world. As it comes, it will be good.
I look forward to seeing you!

I’ll see you real soon,
Your Leo

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