Friday, 11 August 2017

Cakes, Lakes and Pizza Heartaches

The third week had swung by in no time at all. The first two weeks had gone in a flash and the whole team was starting to feel as if we were running out of time here in Navrongo. On the Sunday, it was Louise’s 20th birthday. We surprised her with a big birthday cake and all gathered at her and Emmanuel’s host home to share food and enjoy the day.

Monday and Tuesday of the third week went fairly slowly, but by Wednesday we were finally ready to complete our community entries.

The six communities we had decided to work with were: Navrongo Central, Janania, Vunania, Gaani, Tampola, and Biu. All six of the communities lie in the municipal region of Navrongo, but spread out of town towards the South, with Biu being around 10km from Central.

After getting to the office bright and early, we all squeezed in the back of the bus and set off towards Biu. On arrival, we were informed that the Chief was unable to attend the meeting, but a spokesperson expressed his gratitude on the Chief’s behalf. A bottle of good old hard liquor and a bag of kola nuts were presented to the spokesperson as a show of good will. This process repeated as we traveled back towards Central, stopping at each of the communities we were to be working in. Unfortunately, representatives from Navrongo Central were unable to make the entry due to pre-existing plans.

On the Thursday of Week 3, we were given a cultural presentation in the afternoon by our Team Leader - Nana. It was about the Ashanti region of Ghana; the area where Nana comes from. He taught us about the ‘Golden Stool’ and about the dances they do at traditional funerals.

As Friday morning dawned, we set off on a trip to Tono Irrigation Dam. This was organised by Emmanuel and Leticia as part of our guided learning program. Unfortunately, Louise and Patience were unable to make the trip due to sickness. The cycle took us approximately one hour and 11km out of town. On arrival, we were impressed by the scale of the dam; it’s one of the biggest of its kind in West Africa. We took a walk out onto the platform and admired the view from across the water. Small fishing boats drifted along in the distance, and above the lake was a hill-scape that stretched for miles. Begrudgingly we set off back to the office. On the way back we came across a small yellow shop on the side of the road; we wanted to stop to pick up some lunch. The UK Volunteers were especially in awe when we walked inside to find… chocolates, milk, cakes, and biscuits – actual Pringles too! Needless to say lunch was a good one that day.

On Saturday, a few of us had decided that another bike ride was on the cards. This time, however, it was to the old Slave Camp situated a short cycle ride away. We were shown around the Slave Camp by a group of local residents who were benefiting from the ecotourism project that had been established there. They were great tour guides, and explained to us every site’s significance at the old camp. We were even treated to a demonstration as to how the rocks on one particular hilltop can be used as percussion instruments. It was a brilliant experience. On the way back into town, we passed a hotel/restaurant that was advertising pizza on a big banner on the wall outside. We’d all been craving a slice of pizza for weeks. We thought it was actually going to finally happen. On inquiry, however, they revealed that they didn’t have any pizza in on that particular day. And just like that, our hopes and dreams came tumbling down around us. Would we ever find pizza?

Most of us visited church and relaxed on Sunday.

Week 4 saw a more toned down approach to the project. We knew now what it was that we were doing, and we knew we really had to get on with things. On the Monday morning, we went in groups of two to conduct meetings with the Community Development Committees of the areas we were working in. The meetings were very positive, and we found out a lot more about what the communities want us to do, and what they think should be done about certain issues that are prevalent with the youth.

Wednesday was Emmanuel’s 20th birthday. We all surprised him by singing happy birthday when he got to the office in the morning. After work had finished, we all stayed at the office to watch a film in celebration of his special day – Eddie Murphy’s classic comedy: Coming to America.

The remainder of the week panned out very similarly: lots of planning, writing reports, attending meetings, and developing content. By the end of the fourth week, everything was in full swing with regards to project work, and everyone was looking forward to delivering their sensitisations and radio sessions over the weeks to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment