“Desseba!” – “Naaaa”
Having the wind flow through my hair is an experience I’m fond of. Somehow, it’s always new. I seem to only take notice of it when I’m exploring, and it brings with it new air and new smells. This week I noticed it while riding on the back of a motorbike; travelling through the Ghanaian countryside to rural villages of mud huts and straw roofs. I looked up to the sky to see an eagle circling above, and herds of cows in the distance with farmers guiding their way. The wind, causing my hair to stand up straight, made the speed feel real.
This week has been one of discovery and orientation. Figuring out where I stand in all of this, and where I’m going. I was officially introduced to all the staff of CPYWD, and was able to be involved in some of their after-school activities which is at the core of their programme. One of these After School Programmes (ASPs) was in a rural community where 79 kids attended. I could hear them shouting ‘Siliminga! Siliminga!’ as I arrived into the village, meaning White man! White man!, and they came running up to me smiling and laughing. Simple games, both modern and traditional were played, and all the kids joined in enthusiastically.
The work of CPYWD in the past three years has helped in several communities through organising fun activities that bring children together to learn through play, and I can see firsthand the results of their labour. More children are attending school because of the efforts of CPYWD and so creating more opportunities for them and their communities to grow in the future and move out of poverty. On personal reflection I’ve been able to learn a lot this week through small observation. Past experiences in Africa have left me thinking that this is a place that is dangerous, hostile and intimidating…but since I’m now living in Ghana I’m seeing a side that is a bit different. I’m watching Ghanaian TV, where they show African dramas, and political debates. They keep up with Premier league football, and make African versions of shows like ‘Deal or No Deal’. Everything has its own African touch but you get a different impression on a fast paced, three week service projects where you are being rushed here and there to forums and physical work, and you’re still taking in the environment that is so new and strange. In this week I’ve been able to slow down and observe life in Ghana a little more intimately. I’ve been enjoying the sound of ‘Desseba!’ and the reply of ‘Naaaa’, which is the way people greet each other in the local Dagbani language. I really look forward to discovering more.
I’ve also been a reading a book entitled ‘How to Change the World – Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas’. It’s a fascinating book about people who have changed something in society to help people. They are the kind of people that work without thought for wages, or fame but sincerely work for the greater good! They dedicate years to their cause, coming across obstacles and pushing past them, again and again, until the goal is achieved. It’s a very appropriate read for someone going into development work. It makes me evaluate what I’m trying to achieve in my life. Anyway, I’m only 21…still a long way to go.
I want to keep practising my graphic work, so this is a little video I created. It took about 4 hours spread over two nights, and almost as long trying to upload it. Enjoy!