Wednesday, 6 September 2017



As the popular saying goes « Seeing is believing » I have always had the zeal to travel to the northern part of Ghana since I heard a lot of good things about it. I was born and raised in the South and I felt that applying for the International Citizen Service program will offer me the opportunity to learn and experience the diverse culture of the people of the northern part of Ghana as well as the western culture of the UK. On my arrival in Tamale I was very happy at how the people of Tamale were welcoming. The in-country orientation was a good opportunity to have a cross cultural learning, it was also my first time of meeting my counterpart and team members and that is how the whole journey began
Moving to the Upper East Region to start the placement got me very excited as we were partnered with Youth Alive which seeks to empower women and youth. But this was not without a challenge of not knowing how to ride a bike this is because unlike the south where public transport like “trotro” and taxis are rampant,  in the north  they are a bit difficult to come by so people use motorbikes, bicycles and “yellow yellow” to facilitate their movement. So the first three days, I was given lift by my team members .I realized I had a long way to go and I can’t depend on lifts so I took up the challenge to change my world. So one sunny afternoon with the help of my lovely counterpart Sally, I learnt how to ride a bike after that we treated ourselves to” fan yogurt” and the rest is history,now I got mad skills hahaha😂😂😂.
Nancy and Sally having yogurt.

More so, I was keen on learning the UK culture. This opened me up to a wide range of diversities of both Cultures. I came to terms that things considered 'normal’ here in Ghana is not the same with the UK. A typical instance is how the UK volunteers feel attached to some domestic animals such as dogs and cat and even  named the dog in our office “Lola” which is the very opposite with the In-country volunteers. And the use of “ring” instead of “call”,”okidoki” instead “okay” not  forgetting how conscious they are with time. 
Then came my host home which gave me more reason to feel a part of a family. My host family comprise of my host mom and dad, two sisters and two brothers. They are really warm people and there has never been a dull moment at home. I have learnt a lot from them. From learning basic Kasim such as “Dimwaru” means Good morning, “Akelei” means Thank you, “Kuyite” means how are you? To learning how to stir TZ and preparing local soups like; “Kanzaga” and “Saa”, to understanding the  history and culture of Navrongo .In Ghana there’s a history behind  names certain  towns so I got curious to know the meaning of Navrongo from my host parents and I was told that people of Navrongo migrated from Burkina Faso in search of a fertile land to settle when there got to the present day Navrongo ,the land was very mushy  so they called the place ” Naga voro” which  is because of the sound their feet made anytime they walk due to the flooded nature of the land  so they settled on the land with the reason that, it is very fertile and good for cultivating crops like rice and millet. It later became Navrongo due to One thing that cannot be left out is the beautiful lake near our host home which makes the environment serene and gives a pretty view of the sunset.
Nancy and Sally with their Host Parents.

 This cannot be said without the mention sensitizations on sexual reproductive health and early child marriage ,planning of events ,teamwork which has helped me develop both personally and professionally for my future career  and also meeting with certain stakeholders more especially the community development committee which has helped me to understand and acquire practical knowledge and information on issues about people from some rural communities. I had the opportunity to visit places like Tono irrigation dam which is the main source of fish for the people of Navrongo as well as Tongo Hills

Volunteers at  Tongo hills.
which is one the historical site in the Upper East Region. And guess what? Just when I least expected my team members voted me as the ‘most improved volunteer’ how cool is that 😉😉.
In all, this has given me a reason to say I have broken the barrier to change my world.
Nancy having a nice jump after our  last sensitization.
Written by : Nancy Owusu Agyemang.

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