Developing a just society based on equity and equal opportunities for all with respect for diversity.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Welcome to Ghana!


If you ever get the chance to visit Tamale, be sure to bring a camera to take pictures of the cute goats as you wait in the hospital, have a huge amount of energy to traverse the market without wandering into the path of a motorbike, and remember to pack a spare change of clothes in your hand luggage. Or at least that would be our advice after our first week in Tamale, spent largely on frequent meetings with the brilliant and kind doctors of Tamale Teaching Hospital, getting lost, and surviving a week with nothing but hand luggage.

Finally now, it feels as though we can breathe a sigh of relief as we start to enjoy the rhythm and bustle of the city and get stuck in on our project work. Moving into our host homes has been a huge part of this, and it’s thanks to the amazing hospitality of our host parents that we have all started to settle in so quickly. Navigating the line taxis (the main form of transport in Tamale) has been a steep learning curve for UK and Ghanaian volunteers alike, and while initially it was a scary experience, we all feel like we are now seasoned line taxi-commuters.

Our team here at RAINS is split evenly with five volunteers from the UK and five from across Ghana, along with our UK and Ghanaian team leaders of course. From the start, our team has really bonded. The countless ice breakers and team building exercises were fun, but perhaps the best part of bonding as a new team has been the diversity we all bring. Despite some differences in opinion on food – I think all UK volunteers can– agree the food has taken some time to get used to- the cultural exchange that inevitably takes place is definitely one of the most rewarding parts of our time here so far.
Tamale Market

 Of course there are many differences between British and Ghanaian culture (UK volunteers constantly melting in the heat, craving a slice of pizza now and then, feeling jealous of the incredible colours and patterns found in Ghanaian fashion), but every day we seem to discover more similarities between us: we all love fried yams, we are all deeply invested in the Bollywood drama Strange Love, and we all want to contribute to sustainable development in places where it really makes a difference.

                Now with all of our luggage safely arrived in Tamale, a better knowledge of getting around, a stomach full of fried yams and a full understanding of our projects we are ready to go. Next week we will begin work in the communities and it’s safe to say all the volunteers could not be more excited! It has been hard adjusting but this is the new normal and we cannot wait to see what happens next!