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Friday, February 23, 2007

It Pours

Like so many other things, life's tendency to ebb and spurt is magnified here. I spend some days on the phone listening to busy signals, cut signals, no answer signals, and not interested signals from interview prospects. Yesterday I wrote three articles and today I interviewed two people, both in a half-assed manner. Some days my name doesn't appear in the paper, other times a backlog of Benjamin originals cover the pages. Today I wrote the editorial/front-page story, which really shouldn't be the same thing but it never hurt the National Post. Ok maybe it did.

The first interview I did today was with Miia's boss on the 'orphan' project, which is really an orphan prevention thing, addressing the situations that create orphans before it happens. She's a character, perhaps the yang to Bossman's ying. 'They're' looking for someone to write a book about her/the orphan prevention project. It's a story rife with death threats, international high fashion, and victimized children, so if well -written it should be a best seller. "It's too bad you're leaving," she said.

"I could write that from home."

"Not really. We need someone not too sentimental."

"Oh he's not that," Miia added helpfully.

"Too bad you're leaving. We need someone who can incporate all the challenges, the hardships, without making another 'poor Africa' story."

Damn that's my specialty! But do I really want to write an authorized biography for a former Vogue writer? Will I not essentially become an anonymous stenographer? Still, given her connections with the publishing industry (she published those 20 books on interior design), it's guaranteed to get published. And it would pay, and it IS an interesting story.

"Too bad you're leaving." Yeah. You gotta hand it to Ghana, it contains the most interesting people.

The second meeting was also courtesy of Miia, with some Liberian refugees who run an NGO in the refugee settlement near Accra, which is apparently a model of excellence, free, open and better than the typical morbid 'camp' you read about in National Geographic. Many of the people there feel as Ghanaian as Liberian, having been there so long and still being afraid to return home in case the tenuous peace unmasks turbulent violence once again.

Anyway, they offered Miia a six-month volunteer placement including free accomodation, food, and a transporation stipend. This is somewhat akin to the common practice here of paying a very low salary but compensating with housing, food, transportation and such necessities, meaning the salary is all banked. Only in this case there's nothing to bank. Still, it wouldn't put us in the poorhouse.

"Too bad you're leaving."

1 comment:

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