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Monday, October 30, 2017

The Complexities of a Different Life

Sometimes you can make a change for better, but the majority of the time things will always be for the better, you just might not have realised it yet.

That is the mantra I have lived by during my first 3 weeks in Ghana. So much has happened and so much is going to happen, it's making me feel really excited about the work we are going to do.

Adjusting to life here is difficult because of all the different cultures that people have, for example I have to sleep on a mattress rather than a 'proper' bed which I am accustomed to. Something else that's very different is the food. It feels like I haven't had British food for at least a month. There are many cultural delights when it comes to food including Fufu, Banks, Waakye, Jollof Rice and Tuo Zaafi. All of the food I have had so far has been amazing, I have especially loved Fufu and Banku. This is very different to the 'home comfort' foods that I have come to know and love, like steak and roast beef. 

In Ghana, food is mostly eaten with hands, this includes both Banku and Fufu. Banku is served with meat and is a ball of fermented maize, whereas Fufu is a ball of yam or rice that also is served in a bowl of stew. There aren't many differences between these dishes, the stew it's served in is relatively the same but if you've had both you can tell the difference because of the texture and taste.

Fufu
Life in Ghana is comfortable, but filled with changes and adjustments from my usual life that serve as a reminder that I'm far away from home.

So, on to the matter of why I'm here in Ghana. I'm working on the RAINS Safe Choices project to help people be educated on issues of sexual health. As Andrew talked about in the previous blog, this cohort of volunteers has decided to introduce a new dimension to the program, and talk about the subject of kayayei within our communities. 

This week we have been doing so much to help improve knowledge on the subjects we work with. Firstly, we have all been working really hard on a Sexual Health Manual. The purpose of the manual is to provide factual support to the community peer educators to open the minds of the children community clubs and women community clubs on subjects like puberty, teenage pregnancy and the reproductive system. A large aspect of this has to do with challenging misconceptions and providing factual information on traditionally 'taboo' subjects.

The First Draft!

We are doing many things to try and help all of our community peer educators. This week, we have hosted a training session with our peer educators and a local sexual health NGO called NORSAAC. NORSAAC is an NGO that helps communities by training peer educators in many different topics and refreshing the training for the volunteers who we have worked with in the past.

NORSAAC Representative Tamara Delivering Sexual Health Session to Peer Educators and NTCDs

It feels like we have achieved a lot in just two weeks. Overall, it has been an exciting and different experience to what I have known in the past and I can't wait to see what challenges we will overcome.


By Jack Wilkinson