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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Reflections

I cannot believe we are a quarter of the way through our time here in Tamale, Ghana. We were met off the plane with a whirlwind of activities and things to do, so I am going to use this blog to reflect on the events of the past three weeks.

Tamale is bustling with life – the district I am staying in, Sagnarigu, is never deserted. When the streets are not flooded with cars and motorbikes carrying children to school and adults to work, little families of goats, sheep, cows, chickens and ducks trot along the paths and between the houses searching for food and shade, disturbing sunbathing lizards as they do so. One of my favourite parts of the day is sitting waiting for our counterparts who are running on GMT (Ghana Man Time), and watching the animals going about their business so peacefully. The next step in our day is to get taxis through the town – a nice source of breeze in this hot world.

At the RAINS office we find a quiet space with fans (most of the time), in which we can apply ourselves to our work. As we are still at the beginning of our placement we have only just started with the proper work – planning activities and writing questionnaires and reports. We have had the opportunity to work in groups to educate each other in the sexual health topics that we will be working on for the next 8 weeks. We have, as a group, had a few iffy moments highlighting different cultural perspectives on some sensitive issues and a difference in work ethic between some of the volunteers, however, most of the time these issues have been resolved swiftly and we have learned from them as a group. I must admit that I am truly enjoying working with everyone on the team, and that I am feeling more confident in my own abilities then ever before, a happy surprise that I put down to being in such a supportive group.

We have had 2 Friday outings thus far, one to the Tamale Chief’s Palace and one to a school. The Chief’s Palace was an exciting chance for us to meet the Chief, learn more about the area and culture and to get the Chief’s blessing for the work we are doing here. The palace was interesting and we enjoyed learning about the history. We all clustered around the edge of the small circular room and the Chief sat in a chair on a platform that all the elders sat on around him. The elders were colourful 
and cheerful, while the Chief was quiet and we could not speak directly to him.

Our outing to a local school was our first guided learning session, run by Tony and Bailey. This was a chance for us to practice talking about sexual health issues with a group and to experience what the schools are like in the area. The children were very well informed and there was not much that we could teach them. There was, to my excitement and surprise, the worlds most friendly and patient bull just roaming the playground and being pestered by the children. I had the best time petting the bull and giving it cuddles.





All in all it has been a thoroughly enjoyable month here in Ghana.