Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Our Arrival.

July 2017 cohort of Youth Alive is in full swing! Almost...
Our countryside walk to the office. 

2 weeks in and we're all still adapting to the weather and various other things. Adaptation has come easier to the in country volunteers (ICV's) but they're dealing with changes nonetheless. UK volunteers (UKV's) have traveled internationally but in country volunteers have also traveled from their various communities to take part in this placement so no one is exempt from change!

So we started our 3 day training in Tamale. This was also the first time that UKV's and the ICV's met and we all got the chance to get to know each other during our training. Thankfully, training didn't just consist of formal training but also icebreakers and team building activities. On our final training day we were fortunate enough to watch a cultural dance performed by some amazing local dancers. We were even given the chance to join in! It was the perfect end to our training and a great introduction to Ghana for the UKV's. During our time in Tamale, we were also able to try some of the local cuisine, although the majority of the food provided was continental. When we reached our host communities, we tried a lot of the local cuisine which will be mentioned in more detail in a moment.

Packing up ready for the drive to Navrongo.
After our training in Tamale, it was time to pack up and get ready for our journey to our host community (which was also home to some ICV's); Navrongo! 
The drive down was something else. At some point, a flock of birds made the executive decision to dive into our windscreen. Some of us were blissfully unaware with our earphones in, Owen and Jasmine in the front were considerably shocked. The question "What was that?" was followed by Nana's casual response of "Birds", with a shrug of the shoulders. The driver didn't even bat an eyelid with the additional cracks and bird feathers decorating his windscreen. The ICV's were unfazed.

The main high street of Navrongo.
So after that minor event and nearly 3 hours later, we arrived in Navrongo.

Our host parents picked us up from the police station (I'm sure it was a first for all of us...) and we were on our way to our individual host homes. Over the weekend, we were on a mission to get to know our new home. We were also adapting to the local cuisine (mostly the UKV's). Some of the food included: Waakye and stew; Banku and okra soup; yams and plantain!

In general, Navrongo is a rural market town in the Upper East region of Ghana, with a predominantly Catholic population. We familiarized ourselves with the amenities, the markets and popular hangouts which includes a place called the Prison Canteen. We also learned the location of our Youth Alive office and managed to receive our bikes, which would be our form of transport whilst we are in Navrongo. Nancy struggled with her bike initially and was given lifts by some of the team members. However, within a few days, she became an absolute professional with the help and support of the team! Before we knew it, she was cycling to the office with no help and doing it so well!

After our morning Seminar with Youth Alive Directress, Madame Agnes.
So on our first official day at the office, we had an orientation with the Directress of Youth Alive Madam Agnes Chiravira. We watched a video on the works of Youth Alive and how they've been able to impact the communities they've worked with. That was followed by some group activities and presentations based on the project that we are going to embark on. As Youth Alive has only recently started working with International Service, action projects have not yet begun. The first cohort carried out research in the communities so as the second cohort, our presentations were focused on the issues that were outlined in those reports.

Currently, we are about to hit the ground because we are done with planning. However, there is the need to seek for approval from International Service to get started with our project.
For now, we are looking forward to celebrating Louise's birthday this weekend!

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