It’s Sunday and the end of Week Two in Adaklu Waya! Project Livelihoods has kicked off with various group meetings amongst the following teams: Media, Monitoring and Evaluation, Planning and Logistics and Safety and Security. The Monitoring and Evaluation have had a particularly busy week, writing up the questionnaire for a survey which we carried out on Saturday with the aim of gathering data on the residents of Waya and the challenges they face in their livelihoods. We managed to exceed our target of 300 participants in a single day, which was a huge success! This can largely be put down to successful organisation, the team being split between the 4 quarters of Waya and then 2 groups each with one Ewe, one English and one Twi speaker.
We also had our first meeting with the District Assembly, where we outlined some of the key issues and took the first step in making them aware of the challenges faced in the community. We also got more information on the benefits of registration, which included reduced price of tractors for farmers and free training. Throughout the week, other groups have met with members of the Anfoe Youth Network, having split into Maize, Cassava, Pastries, Kente and Groundnut farmers. The Maize group held their first elections for representatives, and there is a promising sense of enthusiasm for all the groups– it was inspirational to see how eager to be involved with our program they seemed. It’s great to feel we are all moving in the right direction to make a difference!
The meetings have seen some great progress – time-keeping has been addressed (it turns out ‘African Time’ is actually a thing) and the next step for many of us is establishing a constitution and setting up savings accounts for the groups. Any misconceptions about the objectives of ICS have been allayed, with the concept of sustainability, self-sufficiency and ‘teach a man to fish’ being emphasised. A second meeting was also held with the WWGG (Waya Women’s Groundnut Group), with an outstanding turnout of 74 attendees, a number which will necessitate dividing up the group according to farming occupation at our next meeting. Within the team itself, we had our first one-on-ones with our Team Leaders to discuss progress and suggest improvements for the coming weeks. It’s good to feel that everything is being done to make the project successful.
Though working hard is rewarding, it’s always great to let your hair down within our down time. We have been getting up to all sorts of fun!!! It always makes it interesting when you have to find a game that will entertain a large group of volunteers, especially when the power is out. “I know what sounds like fun, let’s play an extremely active game in the pitch dark.” Lit only by torchlight and the odd mobile phone we somehow managed to play within the Safety and Security team’s rules. We played a game called ‘Down by the River’ and another which involved identifying each other based on a written list of likes and dislikes.
Friday night was awesome!! Our team leaders hosted a “Know What We Know” meeting. It started off with the usual group circle in the life-draining room we have all are meetings in. Though it soon got interesting when the drums came out, all eyes were drawn to the whiteboard with the lyrics of a Ghanian song printed in red marker. As confused eyes scrawled over the words, our team leaders explained the meaning behind the song and gave us a small tutorial. Soon after we all broke out into song as lungs cried out with joy over the song that simply mimics the sound of Kente weavers:
Kro Kro Kroi Kro
Kroi Kroi Kro Kro Kro
Kroi Kro naye medo naye medo naye medo
The mozzies are still biting, but it adds to the experience I suppose! A great memory we will cherish is the time a couple of us lay on the grass looking up at the night sky. We had a great laugh as we searched for shooting stars. One of our fondest times though was when a somewhat hard-faced mate of ours jumped out of his skin after picking up a brick infested with creepy crawlies (what a baby!) He carried on building though, as long as the rest passed him the bricks. We eventually found some eager local kids to help us construct the pen for our pet pig Herbert who is arriving next week (so excited!). It was so fun, it reminded one of our fellow volunteers of home where he works in construction – though sunburn was the price we all had to pay. A lot has happened this week, most of which is exciting, new and has created memories that will last a lifetime.