Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Mid-week adventures

Chameleon at the Library
I know in yesterday's post, I mention not yet being able to take a picture of a chameleon, but we were able to at lunch!  There was a really cool, large, blue and pink chameleon running around, but he was too fast to capture on film.  We will get him sometime before we leave.  However, I was able to get a picture of a smaller, less colorful, slower moving guy.  We see them all over in the library courtyards and it is really cool.   The bigger, more colorful ones are more fun to try and chase.  We have seen a few outside of the library--and actually, last night, one snuck into our room!!

We had just arrived at home after walking our half-hour walk from the library.  Amanda was getting ready to head out to the International Students Hostel (ISH) to grab some dinner, and I was preparing for my nightly shower.  Just as she shut and locked the door, I saw a chameleon (this one was blackish with some colored spots) scurry into the room just as she shut the door.  I wanted to make sure I saw what I thought I saw, and I did.  Amanda had the key and locked the room (apparently by locking the door from the outside, you are locking the other person inside the I could get out).  I quickly yelled, "wait, open the door!" and Amanda came back.  I told her what I saw and she peeked under the ledge on our Armoire and saw the lizard who wanted to be friends with us.  We both agreed that we didn't want to touch it with our bare hands, Amanda even admitted that if it touched her skin, she would scream.  It was close the floor, so we both switched into closed-toe shoes as we thought the best idea would be to try and coaxe it out of our room by using our feet.  He was far to big to squish (and would probably leave quite a mess).  We grabbed plastic bags and wrapped them around our hands in case it came down to that.

Amanda after we cleared the room of our lizard friend
Amanda tried nudging the little guy out of the door, but he wouldn't move.  I gave it a go, and he still wouldn't move.  We didn't have any large sticks or hangers to try and persuade him to leave at a distance, so we used one of our 1.5 Liter water bottles.  I used the top of the water bottle and he moved.  He dropped to the floor, and then I think Amanda nudged him once more with her foot and he finally ran outside.  We were safe from the lizard in our room. 

Later that night other nature things came to stay with us.  We had a hopping spider which set up came right next to my bed (he was later eliminated), Amanda was haunted by a lone mosquito during the night.  Several times she kept trying to squish him with her book or her hand, and every time she kept missing.  This morning, I killed a mosquito in our room; Amanda thinks it was a different mosquito than the one she tried to kill. 

One of the birds found in Ghana
There are also some really beautiful birds that live here in Ghana.  On our walk home yesterday, we saw one of them sitting on the head of a statue just outside the library.  This particular bird has a really pretty blue color.  There are other birds around here that have a deep blue and green color to them, and it's shiny, almost metallic-like.  They are so pretty and I hope to get a picture of one before I leave.  There are black birds which have a white feather collar around their necks, and a little bit into their chests: I was thinking of describing it as a tuxedo bird (similar to a penguin), but I think a black bird wearing a white neck tie is more descriptive.  These birds are quite large and we've seen them near our dorm..actually by the termite mounds!

This morning Amanda and I had to present a seminar to some graduate students and senior library staff on digitization.  We gave introductions to ourselves, our program at the University of Michigan, as well as our library system.  I then gave a brief introduction to digitization, based on what I have learned from a few of my classes while at SI.  I think I did a fairly decent job of trying to give an overview of the digitzation process, as well as a few different types of digitization scanning projects.  Amanda then covered information on Metadata and the Access sides of digitization.  We then provided some examples of digitial repositories online and gave them a few insights into the potential of digitization at any given library.  We were reminded in the beginning to slow down our speech, because the Ghanaians aren't used to our accents (it's weird to think that we have accents!).  I think we both struggled with this initially, but were better at it by the end.  Henry, one of the guys we work with here at the library, said we did a very good job with our presentation and he was impressed.  He then joked (hopefully) that we would give another presentation to consulars and heads of the university because we were so good at it.
The Director of the Library, Henry, Me, and Amanda before our presentation
One last thing I wanted to mention for now was the library is still undergoing a little bit of construction.  A lot of the stairs were built for skinny people, so they are constructing another set of stairs and making them wider.  We have at times seen some men working on the new staircase, and how they are constructing it is quite cool, I thought.  To the left is a photo now of what they are doing.  I am not sure if this is common in the U.S. to do concrete construction this way (as I haven't seen much!), but I thought it was cool to see how they build their buildings.  It is really impressive how they have the wooden frames up as they do near the top of the photo. 

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