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Archive for January, 2011

World Traveller!

The smell is what tells you, you’re in Africa. The first step off the plane takes you already, the air just smells…different. It smells African. It’s not an unpleasant smell…just different. I guess it’s the heat as well. There was no smooth transition from my cold European air to the thick, warm air of Accra, but I embraced it! I’m back, and I write this with a big smile stretching from ear to ear.

So far I’ve spent a day in Accra, visiting some locations with my guide, Evans, a 24 year old teacher of African arts. And then yesterday I travelled from Accra to Tamale. A near 14 hour journey, across the country. You can see the changing landscape from jungle in the south to savannah in the north, and the homes get simpler and simpler from city to countryside. I had my music with me and played some ‘Blood Diamond Soundtrack’ to get me in the spirit.

 

You can see the heat is getting to me...I'm a mess!

Some amazing Sand Art at the beach.

The home of my host family is very nice. I’m very lucky to have a room with a fan. In Accra, my nights were 90% tossing and turning in the heat and 10% sleep. Now it’s reversed, so I’m grateful. I’m sure it will take a few days to figure out where I am, what I’m doing, and how I can find my place in this Ghanaian society, but in time I’ll find my way.

I was very happy to see the boarding ticket for my flight. They added something to my name which I believe fits perfectly.

 

Patrick German, World Traveller

Patrick German, World Traveller.

I certainly feel like it. These days, I find myself one morning in London, then in Holland, then in Accra, and now in Tamale. My life is an adventure, and I’m inspired to see myself becoming a Global Citizen.  My mind naturally reminisces of my past experiences, those ‘moments’ where I touched something much deeper than myself. Whether it was driving through the Rocky mountains of Canada, watching stars in Austria, climbing mountains in Switzerland, camping out in Albania, walking through forests in Germany, sleeping in a van in Belgium, feeling the heat in Dubai, jungle rides in Cote d’Ivoire, or miles above the earth In a plane. I certainly am grateful that now I’m in Ghana, able to create those experiences for myself again. I hope what I’m writing can inspire at least one of you readers to go out and experience.

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..and he’s off!

The day of my departure is arrived, and I am so grateful to all who supported me in my efforts to raise the money to get to this stage.

It has been a great few weeks for me; working in a wholesale fish company, dealing with salmon and sea bass. Then travelling to Holland to meet the new YSI team, who are a really great group of people. Now I am back in London, only an hour before I leave for the airport. My bags are packed, and my mind is ready, but some butterflies found their way into my stomach.

Before every great venture, butterflies is a normal experience, but in my mind there are questions of what to expect, and what could go wrong. How will I sleep in the heat coming in the next few days? I checked the weather in Tamale…38 degrees. I have to remind myself of the people who live in these places permanently. Of course, they may be used to it. But it’s hot none-the-less. I cannot complain, or find my attitude lacking, but embrace the weather and the people, the situations…and the butterflies.

My father is a missionary in Chad, working on humanitarian relief and family values education to prevent HIV/AIDS, and spends a few months every few years there. Working in temperatures which sometimes exceed 50 degrees! That is intense! Please look at the website of IRFF Wales to see more info.

I’ll try my best to get a post in the next few days. My schedule is to stay in Accra on monday and travel to Tamale on Tuesday.

Thank you, and see you soon!


Ghana Study Day!

It’s amazing how quickly time flies by. When I created this blog Ghana still felt so distant, but now I realise it’s only 6 days away. Once again I will find myself in a land that amazes me, a land that captures me. I’m very fortunate to be in the position I am in.

My last few weeks have been spent raising money, and buying all the things needed. I’m already two weeks into my anti-malaria medication, and experienced my first side effect, a night mare that woke me up early last night. My bags are packed and visa is ready; flight is booked and I’m just about ready to go. Externally I’m ready…I still need to get my internal sorted out.

I am actually now writing from Holland. I came to visit the new YSI volunteers and also to attend a Ghana Study day to help in my more internal preparations for Ghana. The content was extremely interesting, with a number of talks from professors, and other such qualified people who have had extensive experience in Africa and elsewhere around the world. One of the big topics was culture, what it is and how to deal with it. I found it very interesting.

The speaker said there are 5 issues that every society has to face. Biological needs, Kinship/relatives, Religion, Invisible Social Differences, and finally ‘Social Charity, aid and globalisation’. The way a society deals with these 5 issues is the culture, and differences in culture come from different approaches to these 5 issues. Very interesting, and very useful.

I also had a good chance to think about what I can offer to the people in Ghana. What are my skills? What are my qualifications? A lot of people who volunteer with CPYWD are doing it with their school, where they have a specific task or investigation set to them. I am going because I want to experience Africa, I want to understand ‘the situation’ whatever that situation is, and I want to offer something of myself. It’s going to be interesting how I will find my feet there.