Since the trip to Accra comes nearer I asked my colleagues from corporate communication how they prepare for Africa and how they feel four weeks ahead of their trip. Here comes, what Marcel Bülow, our social media editor, told me.
When I asked Marcel, whether he has been to Africa before, I was astonished to hear that he has family ties in Africa:
“I am ashamed to say I have never been to Africa. Not just because I always wanted to travel to the continent where my childhood hero Kara Ben Nemsi experienced some of his biggest adventures, but also because for many years I had the opportunity to go. My wife’s uncle lived in Africa. He had a house and a piece of land in Swaziland, and undoubtedly he had the knowledge and the experience to plan a tour for us and help us to explore at least South Africa. Somehow, we always postponed the trip until it was too late: a few years ago he moved back to Germany. Now, finally, I will travel to Africa, not to walk in Karl May’s footsteps who, rumours say, has never been to Africa, but to help communicate a project on soil science, nutrition and hydrology in Ghana. I will not have a lot of spare time during our stay in Ghana’s capital Accra. Anyway, I will get an impression of everyday life in a big African city.”
Facing this journey into unknown territory Marcel doesn’t seem nervous at all. On the contrary, asked about his feelings, he counters with facts:
“The journey will start at the end of November. My colleague Erhard and I will join a team of Jülich scientists, technicians and colleagues from the human resources and international department. While our colleagues will be responsible for the official PASCAL program (summer school, hackathon, career fair etc.), we will not participate directly in the event. Much more, we will try to give a good insight into what is going on during this special week in Accra. Starting in January, the whole team of PASCAL put a lot of effort into planning the event. “
No surprise for me that Marcel has a clear view about his tasks in Accra:
“While Erhard focuses on African and German press coverage and will look to get some hold on (local) journalists, I will collect, produce and publish new content. I will write blogs and social media posts for our web channels, send pictures and I hope to produce some video statements with the PASCAL team as well as the participants to keep you posted.
One focus of our effort in Ghana is to share the knowledge and expertise of Forschungszentrum Jülich`s research in soil science with the African science community. Besides publishing our own content, we will try to help and motivate the participants themselves to produce their own content and share it with the communities at their universities or research institutions. However, having no experience in how African scientists communicate in the new media we are curious how well this will work out.”
But even for someone as well prepared as Marcel, there is a lot of work ahead and time’s running …
“In the next few weeks, we will continue to prepare our stay in Ghana. Besides the actual travel preparations (visa, flights, transfer etc.), we will put together all our technical stuff (camera, microphone, tripod etc.) and will wrap it up for transfer. Later on, we will create a media kit with information on the project, on Forschungszentrum Jülich, and some useful hashtags and social media channels that we can hand over to journalists, we will meet in Accra and to the PASCAL participants.”
Marcel’s conclusion: “I‘m really looking forward to the PASCAL week in Accra and I cannot wait to tell you about it!” But what about his dog? I will let you know asap whether he is allowed to accompany Marcel ….