Vermont, Hertogenbosch, Salzburg, Accra...

The last time when I went to Ghana for 3 weeks, I actually had quite a bit of downtime to write and read.  So I'm guessing I may do the same.  Right now, I'm at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam.  My pal (first introduced as "Ghana Techie" via the blog 6 years ago) Wahab has met the first visitor at the airport now.  We have 3 more visitors arriving tomorrow - documentary film crew from Europe - and need to coordinate visits with professor Isham of Middlebury, DK, etc.

When I talked in Salzburg, to the Europeans, there was not a single African there, though Africa has been called the dirty little secret.  I was in this kind of weird space that I've often critiqued Jim Puckett for being in - the white savior speaking on behalf of the oppressed.  Nameless and faceless as Viet Cong soldiers, Jim speaks for the orphans pawing through toxic junk, and I speak for the noble Geeks of Color, the Joe Bensons, arrested and goods seized, etc.

So it is strange.  The flight I'm boarding (the line is now much shorter, gotta wrap this up) is fairly inexpensive.  For Europeans, the trip to Ghana is almost like a UCLA fraternity crossing to the Tiajuana border.   Poverty porn, or donkey porn, it's seen the same way by the people who live there.

They don't especially like that the grundgy slum is a tourist destination.  Much as my grandparents openly spoke - resentfully - of the neighbors who put a "hillbilly" sign on the front lawn in the Ozarks and charged $4 to pose in overalls and straw hat with tourists, the Africans generally wish Agbogbloshie, as a topic, would just go away.

At the same time, my grandparents neighbor saw an opportunity.   And three decades later, Branson Missouri was the #1 tourist destination in the USA.  

Maybe, I'm thinking, the Dagomba tribe (the main minority, economic immigrants, to Agbogbloshie) should embrace this?  Maybe there's a way to create a Jed Clampett, a stoic and wise and funny father figure to represent them.  Ah, but Buddie Ebson wasn't from the Ozarks, and neither were most of the actors playing hillbillies at Silver Dollar City shows.  Branson brought development money to the Ozarks, but it was bittersweet.

Anyway, no time to edit this here post.

One thing - maybe I'll write about this later - I was told in Salzburg that Americans (and the speaker meant me personally) were very negative and attacking compared to European E-Waste policy makers.

So yeah, back to that thing.  No one else is speaking up for Joe Benson, the "collateral damage" of Europeans trying to keep metals in Europe.

The topic of our session was "The Circular Economy" and how transboundary shipments could (or did not) fit in.

I said I certainly support a Circular Economy.

But like Copernicus and Galileo explained years before, it doesn't orbit around Europe.

It's not about us. 

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