So 7 days have passed. First of all, thank you for all those who voted. Overall we received 54 votes, and the winning picture is my personal favourite as well. In third place with five votes is picture number 9, second with six votes is picture number 16, and finally, with sixteen votes, I declare the winner as picture number 2!!! Wahay!! Big applause, big applause!
This past week has seen some kind of transformation take place in me, I’m feeling…well, I’m feeling African. My English is taking on an African twist with sayings like ‘small small’ and other African variations. These little changes in the language are becoming the first things coming to mind, and I’m increasingly accepting of the aspects that were most alien to me. The weather is something that doesn’t affect me as much as it used to, and as we’re preparing to welcome the next YSI team I am constantly reminded of the difference I feel now to the time I came with YSI almost exactly one year ago. When I came before I was afraid to go to a roadside store for fear of being ripped off. I judged everything from a perspective completely different from the perspective I have now. I look forward to exploring these concepts with the YSI guys. Nine days until they arrive.
Well this week I received an email from Service For Peace, an NGO I did a project with in Cote d’Ivoire. It’s National Volunteer Week in the US, and to celebrate it SFP are hosting a photography and short story competition. So I figured I’d send in a photo that I’ve shown here on the blog before, but I’m struggling to decide which one. So I’ve set up a little poll so you can vote for the picture you think I should send in, now considering it’s for an NGO about volunteering and service, when choosing which picture you’ll vote for, think about what the picture says, but whichever gets the most votes will be the one I send. You can have more than one vote if you can’t decide yourself. Happy voting, and enjoy my collection of photographs. I’ll announce the winner in 7 days.
It’s always great to do some hard physical labour and feel satisfied when the task is complete. With sweat on my brow I can look upon the completed task with satisfaction. Today that task was cleaning the home YSI will use during their stay. It was a chance to bond with my fellow African brothers. My patience was tested as I was constantly told how I’m holding the broom wrong, or I’m sweeping the wrong way. I can already sense that when I leave this place the thing I will miss the most is the friendship I have made to some people here, the CPYWD staff and my host family. Friendship is an understatement, as for some I’m beginning to look up to them as uncles, aunts and brothers and sisters.
The relationships I have made have been strengthened by one thing which ties us all together very strongly, and that is faith. Ghanaians, particularly those who I am interacting with the most, are very religious, and I often hear songs of praise being sung around the house, and television shows with preaching and passages of scripture. It’s amazing that faith is so alive here, and when people are free to share their faith, they are free to interact on a deeper level. It’s a beautiful thing. I’ve learnt that there is a lot of respect to be gained when one shares that deeper aspect of oneself. I remember when I was on a bus with my good friend Patrick Hanna in London. We were having a conversation about God in this bus, without thought of who could hear us, and as we talked a lady in front was turning occasionally to see our faces. Finally, when we arrived at her stop, she turned and said, ‘It’s great to hear young people talking about God like that!’.
My time with the children will also be something I will miss. Sometimes they can be little monsters crowding around you, making the air hot and stuffy and difficult to breath, but other times they make me laugh and make me smile. Anyway, still plenty of time left to enjoy everything, and I hope that all of you can feel connected; through these photos and through these words.