The Final Chapter
Trip Start May 04, 2011
110Trip End Feb 20, 2014
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This rotation started at a time when most people were winding down ahead of "the Christmas" as the Ghanaians phrase it. Every day was a slow exodus of workers heading out on break or leave. I was always rostered to work this Christmas and had last off so no hard feelings on my behalf, but good on those who could adjust their roster to take it off. The office was very quiet and therefore productive for me – apart from the irritating rattle of my office air con and light due to the mills argh. I was able to knock off on time or early and go jogging in the afternoons until my shoes gave out. The company had made some deep cuts to the normal Christmas program – the Christmas party was replaced with a pathetic lunch, their annual hamper was halved, and at the end of Nov 240 redundancies had hit the Region. So the mood was not celebratory or festive. Instead there were threats of strikes, people wearing red arm-bands, and boycotts of the Christmas lunch party. There is a general lack of appreciation of how severe the low gold price is affecting the company and it is quite self-centred that people would threat a strike over a hamper when people had lost their jobs a week prior. But I do think it was too much at one moment and could have been handled better by the company management.
I was fortunate to be able to take both Christmas and Boxing Day off work. It was quiet though and although we had a nice turkey lunch not many people were in the mood to socialise. NYE was a similar thing but a few came to the bar but left around 930pm. Only 3 of us made it to midnight. But it was fun. There has been a trend of people buying Jagermiester on their return to site and I’ve never drunk it other than jager bombs, but it has slowly came around to me
Oz Day kicked off my final week in Ghana. It was my 7th week on site as I was doing extra time at the request of my boss who wanted me to finish end of month. Ok by me so long as I got extra break days in lieu and also because it aligned with my Japan trip. It has been a relatively easy rotation but still the continuity of being here for 7 weeks is tiring in itself, but I was upbeat knowing that THIS WAS IT. I had started my farewell parties a week early as some people were heading out on break and it was the last time they would see me. Then there was a combo party Saturday before Australia Day for me and the Project Director who was also finishing up this week. I wasn’t in the mood to party as wanted to save myself for Aust Day but it was good nonetheless. Speeches, good food and I got out before things turned messy
Friday 31 January was my final day on site. I was well prepped for this moment. I had been handing over work or finalising it for the last 2 weeks
One of my staff met me at the guest house in Accra. He wanted me to meet his family before I left. He was married two years ago and had a baby 3 months ago. Very proud and wanted to show them off to me. A nice moment and it is always the way that these personable moments happen towards the end. My boss also came to visit. But he arrived at the time I said was the time I would be picked up for the airport
And there you have it. The conclusion of my first international assignment. The pinnacle of my career exactly 10 years after I graduated university. A decade of professional work. Ironically, a clock watch that was given to me during my first year with my company smashed and broke this rotation. An ominous sign? Who knows. But I still do not have confirmation that I will be staying with my company beyond this Project. There are no budgeted vacancies out there. I’m on the payroll to 21 Feb and unless something is offered before then, it is a new beginning for my career. I’m ok with that. It has been a rollercoaster couple of weeks talking through options and job opportunities. All I care about right now though is getting home to drop my belongings and then getting on a flight to Japan Tuesday afternoon for my ski break with good friends for rest and relaxation. My mind still thinks I will head back to Ghana after that break and it won’t sink in til then that I have a new goal to set myself.