You can imagine a trip to Africa would contain these cinematic experiences that you never forget, where crazy things happen and you just end up saying ‘T.I.A’…This is Africa. I would like to share one of those experiences.
In Ghana, we stayed in a house, 4 guys to a room. We didn’t have fans, and barely had a window, so at night it got pretty stuffy. So bad that most nights i couldn’t sleep. Being sick didn’t help either. One night it was so uncomfortable that i went out into the shower and just had the water running over me, while using a bottle of shampoo as a pillow. I remember being crunched up in that small 1.5 x 1 meter space, a cold grey concrete floor, and faded white walls. Amazingly it was in those sleepless nights, while the water ran down my face, and as my stomach churned and growled that i determined to come back to Ghana. I smiled and said ‘T.I.A.’ Hah! I must be crazy!
Anyway to celebrate my experience i have made a video dedicated to the YSI team in Ghana. Enjoy!!
My past experience in Ghana was a 17 day trip last March, involving a lot of work with and for young people; organising forums and activities, and also helping in the construction of a ‘Discovery Centre’ which would provide a space for youth group meetings, and better facilities for children. I went with an organisation called Youth Service Initiative (YSI), a one year full time volunteer program based in Holland.
I will be working with an organisation called Community Partnership for Youth and Women Development (CPYWD). A quote from their website best summarises what they do:
CPYWD is dedicated to build partnership with the communities and to form youth and women groups (clubs). Led by interns and (community) volunteers, these groups have the chance to explore their interests and to acquire social and lifestyle skills. We focus on stimulating the social structures within and between the communities, and on building the capacity of the people. The community members are responsible for the development of their community by themselves! Through these social structures CPYWD builds the capacity of the local people. Eventually the communities should take over the lead and adapt CPYWD’s ideas and inspiration in their lifestyle.
In my four month stay, I’ll help in the projects of CPYWD, including organising and facilitating after school activities, and engaging the children in activities that will stimulate them. When in Ghana last, I organised a simple game of charades which the children had never heard of before. With the children acting out animals that they see walking around them all day, such as goats and chickens, I could see how a little creativity goes a long way with children who don’t have any toys to claim as their own.