Our team of eight, originally from Brazil, Colombia, India, Japan, USA, and UK, came to Ghana to support school feeding program. Not only the highly diverse nationalities, but also our various backgrounds make our team colorful, including consultants, engineer, banker, farmer, commodity trader, … Furthermore, we are working with four brilliant Ghanaian graduate students from GIMPA (Ghana Institution of Management and Public Administration), the biggest business school in Ghana. All twelve teammates have been attacking the project to analyze the value chain of Ghana School Feeding Program and find a way to make it sustainable.
In the first phase of our project, the team was split to four small teams and conducted fruitful field survey trips. Israel from GIMPA, Daniel, and I traveled around Greater Accra and Volta regions. Wherever we went, nobody recognized me as Japanese. People always believe that I was a Chinese and friendly said, sometimes screamed, “Chin chon chin, Chin chon chin!!” According to Israel, this phrase doesn’t mean anything but people just pretended to speak Chinese language. This experience reminds me so much that China GDP surpassed Japan last year.
After returning from the field trips, twelve team members got together again. We have been doing quite well, but there have occurred some small cultural battles. The first battle was for the comfortable temperature in the conference room. Right after frail Japanese set the air conditioning at 24 Celsius, tough Brazilian and Indian lowered the temperature to 17. Pitiful Japanese protected himself by wearing long sleeve jacket. Now they compromised at 20.
Another battle occurred while the complicated task of developing costing tool got the team highly frustrated. Suddenly, the Colombian and Indian began bear knuckle boxing. Everybody felt relieved when it turned out not to have been done seriously.
Although having witnessed those battles, we have been working very hard and doing well overall. I believe that our final presentation and report will be very valuable to our client.
Tonight I am sure that I will again dream the dream, in which school children make fun of me, saying “Chin chon chin, Chin chon chin!!”