Lattitude Blog

Cycle One: First week in Adaklu District – 14th-19th July

It’s the end of our first week here in Adaklu District. But, as with all good stories, we should start at the beginning. And I’m going to classify the beginning as our journey from the guest house in Accra to our new host community. So here goes…

We had our first experience of GMT – ‘Ghana Man Time’ – in waiting for our bus to arrive to take us from the Suma Court hotel to Adaklu district. We expected the bus at 9am, but it eventually turned up at around 11am! This might be something the team has to get used to! Not only was the bus late, but we had a few problems with the vehicle on the way. We were happily trundling along down a dusty and rocky road, just as we were coming into Ho, when we heard a loud BANG as the bus’ rear left tire popped. We all hopped off while the bus driver changed the tire, and then we were on our way again.

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We finally got to Anfoe at 6pm, and went straight to the Chief’s Palace. In ‘typical African style’, we experienced a long traditional welcome; some of the youth of the village did some singing and dancing, and there were welcome addresses. Chief (Torgui Agbobade IV) also assured the management of Lattitude the safety of the volunteers within the Anfoe community. This warm welcome made the whole team feel a lot better after a long day of travelling!

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After the ceremony, the team met at the house of the President and First Lady (also known as the two Team Leaders, Sammy and Taz). We all ate our first meal, before the host parents came to meet their new children and took them home. Everyone spent their first night in their new host homes.

The next day, the team travelled to Waya to pay a visit to the Chief of Waya (Torgui Lablublu V) and the elders. We had another fantastic welcome from the community: some students from the Waya Junior High School performed a cultural display, which the volunteers really enjoyed. Some even got so carried away that they got up and joined in some of the dancing! The Chief of Waya gave a welcome address, before the Queen Mother presented each of the volunteers with an acceptance bead to wear which shows we are part of the community. Anyone that sees the bead knows that we have been noticed by the Chief and elders. It’s an important bead! (Author’s note: unfortunately I managed to trail the end of my bracelet through my Groundnut soup so I had to trim it….) The Lattitude volunteers then performed a song that they had written (‘Shout out to Lattitude ICS’*) to show thanks to the Chief and elders. We all agreed that we wouldn’t experience such a welcome as we had received in the two communities anywhere else in the world.

Our plan at the end of the week was to meet the Anfoe youth network to discuss our questions and create a timetable with them, but as there were some preparations being carried out for a funeral they felt that they were unable to get a good attendance at the meeting and it was postponed until Sunday. The team was initially frustrated by this as everyone really wanted to start working. However, luckily for us there was an alternative event that we could attend. The Chief of Waya, during his welcome address, had invited us to watch a Schools cultural competition. We stayed there for the whole morning, watching the students doing poetry recitals, traditional dances and singing in choirs. We returned to Anfoe in time for lunch, and had a break in the afternoon before meeting when it was cooler to play some football with the local youth. Lattitude managed to score one goal (well done Delali), but the other team definitely managed to score a lot more. And that is the point of football.  So that means technically we lost. But we have 9 more weeks to settle the score… Challenge yourself to score a goal!

During the weekend, the team enjoyed some time off from work – most people used the time to catch up with washing their clothes and other domestic duties, as well as celebrating some volunteer birthdays (Essinam and Taz) and playing sports! On Sunday we had our initial meeting with our Team Level partner, the Anfoe Youth Network. We met them in their various groups and heard from them the problems they face as farmers and some of the challenges that affect their economic activities. This meeting will help the team as they prepare their Community Survey on Livelihood Conditions in the coming days!

The week has gone so fast. Now that we have begun to meet the community the team is starting to feel really positive about the work we can do and the impact we can have within the 10 week programme. Being the first cycle, it’s up to us to lay the foundations for future ones!

*Shout out to Lattitude ICS

Shout out to Lattitude ICS

Shout out to Lattitude ICS

Shout out to Lattitude ICS

Woezor lo – Ayo

 

Shaping the youth to make a difference

Changing our lives, changing the world

We are together to give the best

Woezor lo – Ayo

 

Cycle 6 – Week 9 by Anita Afriyie-Adjei, Freda Mensah & Josie Williams

SATURDAY

On this day, we had our core programme training in the morning, as some of the team got ready for a medical health event. The team was divided into two groups, whereby one group was to handle core programme training and the others the medical health event afterwards. The group for the core programme training joined the medical health group later in the day.

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The medical health event took place at the Football for Hope Centre whereby Lattitude ICS volunteers joined First Intervention Ghana and Play Soccer Ghana for the health screening event. The medical event included eye testing, Malaria testing and Body Mass Index. The eye testing required an amount of GH¢3.00, however free medicated glasses were given to those in need. The event started at 8:00am and ran to 6:00pm, though the event was to start at 7:00 to 1:00pm, but due to the huge number of people that showed up that day the time had to be shifted to 6:00pm. The event was a huge success because everyone at the event was treated, and those who were ill diagnosed and given free medicine to keep them healthy.

MONDAY

Worked resumed as the team finalised their personal case study for submission. During the day, some of the team had to follow-up on the companies which had interviews with people as a follow on from the job fair, whilst others typed the letters to invite parents to attend their children’s fun and awards day. Others too went out to St. Monica’s School to arrange with them on when to donate volleyball nets made out of water sachets.

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TUESDAY

We started the day of with a learning day by Sarah and Joe who chose the topic Human Rights. The presentation was very informative and the two were outstanding presenters.

The rest of the day was used to finish on reporting, following up with businesses, filming, video editing, and finally, homework club.

WEDNESDAY

In Ghana, every 1st July of the year is a public holiday because that is when it gained republic status. The team took this day to go on an excursion within Cape Coast at Kakum national park and the Monkey Sanctuary. The team had fun as we had to walk on seven canopies which were higher than all the trees in the rainforest. The forest had natural inhabitants like snakes, elephants, monkeys etc.

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THURSDAY

The team had four culture day presentations by Sarah Korsah, Chonte Ingram, Freda Mensah and Sabiha Padhani. Afterwards, some of the team went out to interview people who have been employed by Tigo and African Finance in the aftermath of our job fair, concerning how they are finding their new jobs. All of them were thankful to Lattitude ICS for helping them get employed at these companies without us taking a fee for it.

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FRIDAY

On this day, the team had our penultimate learning day presentation, presented by Josephine Williams and James Doe on MDG goals in Ghana and Sierra Leone. Afterwards we finished up on our preparations for our weekend programs at the centre, buying the remaining goods, printing certificates, and making sure everything was planned as well as possible. Friday, finished as usual with Free Play at the Centre.

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Cycle 6 – Week 8 by Evans Esusu & James Kelly

On Saturday the team began the week by arriving at the Centre bright and early for our weekly core programme. As always, the numbers were good and we had a successful core programme with topics such as Honesty, safety with drinking water, and football tactics being taught to the kids. Once core programme finished, we had a short break to shower and refresh before arriving back at the Centre to welcome our visitors from Abrobiano.

We welcomed our fellow volunteers with a meal together, followed by a tour of the Kotokraba market. Once the volunteers were fed it was time to begin the football matches. Abrobiano girls v Cape Coast girls and the same for the boys. The Cape girls secured a 1-0 win and the Cape boys managed to get 9 goals past the Abrobiano keeper to secure a 9-0 win. Celebrations and a social were held that night at Valentino’s spot and the Abrobiano volunteers headed back to their community the next morning.

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On Monday work began once again and we started the working week off by working with some of the people who had attended our job fair the previous Saturday. We arranged interviews for some of the job seekers with local cape coast companies. Later on some of the volunteers went to a local girl’s school St. Monica’s to speak to them and record measurements of their volleyball pitch, so that we could look at the possibility of recycling some of our water sachets to make them a net. We wanted to do this to try and encourage the girls who attend the school to engage in regular exercise and to keep active.

Tuesday started off with a learning day presentation from our volunteers Belinda and Lauren, which focused on poverty and led to a lengthy heated debate about how poverty affects people around the world, and ways to eradicate poverty. This presentation was followed by a presentation from George Sarpong and Catalina which focused on discrimination against women both in the UK and in Ghana. This also led to a heated discussion also touching on the fact that men are also discriminated against.

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Following the presentations, the team began work on the Volleyball net for St. Monica’s, collecting rope from the local market, cutting sachets and then beginning to attach them to the rope. The volleyball progress was great and quickly began to take form and look the part thanks to a good effort from the whole team, working together efficiently.

Wednesday and Thursday the team continued to work on their assigned tasks, some of the team continued with the volleyball net to ensure it would be completed in time as to be presented to the school, while other members of the team pushed ahead with work for the upcoming health event to be held at the Football for Hope Centre. Discussions were held with our partner organisation to ensure things would run smoothly, leaflets and invitations were designed and printed to be given to the children who attend the homework club, as well as to be distributed throughout the community.

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Thursday also included a culture day presentation from our volunteers James Dimado and George Gunn. James focused on the Volta region whereas George focused on the Graffiti sub culture and its norms throughout London and Bristol.

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Friday, things worked on throughout the week began to finish up. The volleyball net was completed successfully with no problems and the final provisions for Saturday’s event were put in place, Friday ended with the weekly free play at the Centre with the local children who attend classes there. Football, drawing, reading, and computer games were just some of the activities the kids enjoyed.

As always throughout the week the homework club was run each day by the volunteers and they all began revision and tests to prepare the children for their upcoming school tests, to ensure they pass with good marks!

Week 7 by Ricahard and Kendall

Monday

Monday started the same as any other, groggy eyed and damp, we all met for community engagement. We sloshed through the puddles and mud and hoped the rain would hold off. Being the rainy season we really should have been used to it by now. This week , our engagement was about Contraceptives and S.T.I’s. Whilst the students new certain information, there were misconceptions about contraception! The rain held out and the day went as normal, we planned our school sessions and continued with the sachet net.

Tuesday

Tuesday was again a dry day, we all met for our class sessions and the mod was pretty subdued. Luckily though our classes seemed to be in a good mood, so were the volunteers. Shane and Fauzi did their Team Leader Platform and took lead of the sessions

Wednesday

Wednesday started the same as any other, we got up and made our way to our various schools for our Wednesday Worship Workshops (WWW’s). This week’s www’s were about contraceptives and STI’s. We told them why condoms are useful and about other methods of contraception.

Thursday

On the 18th June, which was a Thursday, we started at 9am with rehearsals for a group Malaria prevention video, to be filmed on Friday. After the rehearsal we were given time to complete any reports for the Sanitation Event, Give Me 5, Health Screening and Survey’s. After lunch at 2pm, the MCD was completed my Rowan and Evelina. Rowan talked about Wimbledon, a popular place in London where Tennis is played. “The longest game in was nearly 12 hours”, from Rowan’s speech. Evelina also talked about her country Lithuania, which has a population of about 3 million and uses the currency of Litas. The video presentation also told of how Amber is “the gold of the Lithuanians”.

After MCD, we continued our water sachet net for the community and finished at 5pm. Afterwards, Richard, Evans and Rowan took the megaphone out for the talk on S.T.I’s and Contraception.

Friday

On the next day, which was a Friday, we began the filming of the Malaria Video a 9am. We came back to the office after filming 6 of the films scenes. Richard and Kendall had their KWIK days, how to make a wrist-band with your name on it and the history of Coca-Cola were their respective topics. After lunch, we were given the platform to continue with our own work for our various responsibilities. Later we had a team meeting discussing the visit to Cape Coast on Saturday, the Star Volunteer of the week, personal issues and our Roles and Responsibilities. At 4pm we closed to make way for others to prepare for Cape Coast and any other activities.

Week 6 by Willis & Evelina

Week six started unusually early, around 4:30am. Well, GMT showed us that it really exists, because instead of leaving Abro around 4:30, we get on the bus and moved from Abro around six. On the way, we picked up the Cape Coast team and headed off to the Volta region. At the afternoon all together we had a lunch in a hotel with a wonderful panoramic view. As soon we arrived to the hotel, everyone, and especially Abro team, was extremely happy to get a real shower, use flashing toilet facilities and even to see ourselves in a mirror.

In the evening everyone spent time relaxing in the swimming pool and the gym. On Tuesday, our MID PLACEMENT REVIEW (MPR) started. Firstly, we reviewed our personal achievement and later both teams presented their reports and gave an account of what they have done so far. After presentations, both teams received feedback from each other as well as from latitude office representatives.

The next day, participants were taught how to write their personal case study and discussed what problems both teams are facing on their placement. After lunch we headed back to home sweet home – Abro. On Thursday, the team continued their usual work with community engagement and preparation for Give me five carnival.

On Friday, all the volunteers found out their new roles and responsibilities and presented their action plan for the upcoming weeks. At the evening, volunteers had a great social and as soon as it finished went to have rest and prepare for the Give me five event on the next day.

On Saturday, the Give me five event started on good with a stable weather and electricity all day. Our carnival attracted lots of children and youngsters from the village, who got involved in various races and workshops on exercise, well-being and healthy eating. The culmination of the event was the volleyball tournament between Abro Islamic, MA primary and JHS, followed by a game between the volunteers (ICV’s and UKV’s). At the end of the event, the winners of the races received prizes like oranges, pineapples and other fruits to encourage healthy eating.

The Abro team at MPR

The Abro team at MPR

A workshop on mental health and well being at the Give me 5 event

A workshop on mental health and well being at the Give me 5 event

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Week 5- Rowan and Rahman

Monday – 1st June

Today all volunteers carried out Community Engagement, talking to and discussing with the community this week’s chosen topic of exercise and well-being. The importance of daily exercise as part of a balanced life was discussed in specific relation to the people’s lives in Abro. Although most did not allocate specific time of the day to exercise, many had it as part of their lives such as working the farm or walking to market. Although perhaps a difficult topic to discuss, mental health and well-being wee discussed as well as the importance part exercise can play in maintaining health and lowering stress. All of these points were received well by the community and allowed the volunteers to gain more ideas or the upcoming “Give me 5” health event.

Tuesday

Tuesday was a rainy day, with the Sun barely showing its hot face. The temperature was lower than usual but the unterminated drizzling didn’t help matters. People came to the office in rain coats of different colours. Evans and Leila had their TLP (Team Leader Platform). We gathered and discussed our school sessions of the previous day. We finished early, before splitting into groups to analyse our surveys concerning Sanitation, a Community Fund, or Teachers Fund. We left at 12 for lunch. Our panned interviews for the MPR video were cancelled due to the rainy conditions. We then discussed the questions and answers we may have to provide.

Wednesday

Today was the Media Team’s opportunity the film all the volunteers for the Mid Program Review video. Although a wet Wednesday Worship Workshop, in the evening all volunteers ventured out for Evelina and Fauzia’s social, and enjoyed a successful game of Charades.

Thursday

Thursday was blessed with intermitted showers. Abro was very muddy so we all got our sturdy footwear on for our way to the office. In the morning we discussed the upcoming Give Me 5 carnival event. They briefed us on the progress so far. After that we made the finish lines for the event’s races out of Water Sachets. After lunch, Richard and Lydia took us through funerals in Ghana, as their My Culture Day, which was interesting. We then dispersed for community engagement and returned for discussion at 4:30. In preparation for MPR, we took a group photo, with the last word of the day being the unanimous cry of ABROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Friday

Today was originally planned as the day that the volunteers were leaving Abro for the Mid Programme Review, however planned changed and the long weekend was moved to Monday to Wednesday. The day included more preparation from the Give me 5team with volunteers that are carrying out workshops at the event planning them. Rowan and Rahman also taught the team what they knew about Dyslexia and Devaince (the strain theory) respectively.

On the whole, it was a great week as the team accomplished a lot.

Sangilo Love and MPR

Monile Wanyane Na Wabele Mose! Greetings friends and family! We’ve been busy bees here in Sangilo, as always! This week’s blog is all about Mid-Placement Review (MPR), exciting places that we’ve been visiting, our goals and more on our primary & secondary projects. We returned from our MPR in Nkhata Bay (around three and a half hours away) on Sunday. It was a weekend filled with workshops, teamwork, swimming and drooling over all the new and exciting food available. When we arrived, we couldn’t get over how breathtakingly beautiful the setting was. Lake Malawi looks and feels so different in Nkhata Bay! The camps where we were staying had a Camp America/Hippie vibe, since we were sleeping in cabins with environmentally friendly toilets nearby. During the day, we’d have presentations on a range of topics from team dynamics and host homes to a counterpart quiz and project reviews. After, we’d spend our free time swimming to the blue pontoon in the lake or visiting the wood carving markets in town. We got the chance to let our hair down in the evening and spent our time catching up with the Mzuzu lot and dancing. Saturday night was chitenje themed, so most of us wore chitenjes tailored into items of clothing like shirts and dresses or just went for the classic chitenje wrap around look – everyone looked great. Another session during our MPR weekend was dedicated to our projects and the fun things we’d all been up to since the start of our placement. The Mzuzu lot included Saved by the Ball (SBB) in their presentation – one of the organisations that they’re working with in schools around Mzuzu. We also learned that they’ve been going on a few adventures, such as visiting the Coffee Plantation and the Carlsberg Factory in the area. They were also lucky to see a boxing match! In the Sangilo team presentation, Marcus, Vinnie and Bridget talked about primary and secondary projects and how they’re going, some of the things we get up to in our free time and ‘Sangilo Love’. We’ve integrated so well as UKVs and ICVs here in Sangilo, that we’ve come up with the term ‘Sangilo Love’. This is special to us. It means that we’ve become a family and that we always look out for one another. Whether we’re playing Scrabble, teaching some of the ICVs to swim or creating Harry Potter themed crosswords for one another, we’re having fun and making sure we’re involved with one another. We’ve been planning a Teachers Workshop for next week and another Sports Day is on the cards. It’s crazy to think that we’ve only got 3 weeks left in Sangilo. We’re all excited at the prospect of coming home, but it will be very strange not to be able to get together at he end of the day as a group. It’s safe to say that a part of each and every one of us will stay in Sangilo and Mzuzu. This has become our home too.

Cycle 6 – Week 7 by Joe Marshall & Mark Brefo

On the 13th June, the second Saturday of the month, we began by going to core programme and teaching the children in the early hours. The number of children that turned up for this core programme was greatly appreciated as the numbers have been quite steady over the last number of weeks. Afterwards we prepared for the first event of the 6th cycle: The Job Fair, beginning by getting the relevant materials including canopy’s, tables and chairs, we were quickly able to set up the stage for the event.

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At around 11am the first businesses and potential employees began to arrive. The citizens of Cape Coast seemed to be greatly appreciative of our efforts and this gave the team a sense of satisfaction that maybe we were finally making a difference to the livelihoods of the community. We employed our artist George to create a “Selfie” frame, which we intended to use in order to raise our social media profile (Facebook, Twitter etc.). The local people loved taking pictures and the team had a great deal of fun using it also. All of the selfie photos are available to see through our Facebook!

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Besides this, we also hosted a number of interviews with members of the community in order to help them answer interview style questions (Name, reason for wanting to work etc.) This was also successful and made us feel fulfilled as it was practical experience that the members of the community could go away and use in later life. With all things considered the entire job fair was very successful in our opinion and could make a lasting impact on some member’s lives.

On Monday the 15th June, we started our 7th week in Cape coast. Hot off the heels of the job fair we were inspired to keep working and push harder in order to get people jobs. We followed up on some of the interviews that happened and made waves on the budgeting for the 3rd event. George was also getting ready to paint the first business the following day thanks to the generous donation of paints from the local paint depot ‘Coral’.

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On Tuesday the 16th June we had another batch of Learning and Culture D ay presentations courtesy of James/Evans, Lewis/George and Mark/Chonte; this was a very informative session and lasted for most of the morning. In the meantime George was working on the first shop that wanted to be painted and the results were excellent; This made everybody very pleased and we are going to proceed on the second building A.S.A.P.

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Reflecting on what we have achieved this week, we are very pleased with the results the team has accomplished. Although with ups you must have downs, we completed the second sachet net in a very timely fashion but the homework clubs and core programme numbers have been the lowest all cycle so far (228/63). Hopefully next week will express:

  • An increase in the numbers for both sessions
  • How we worked on the second building
  • How our second event has gone
  • How Abro visiting us cape coasters went!

This has been one of the most productive weeks for us in Cape as far as we are concerned, We have something to show for our work and hope this can continue onto the next couple of weeks with many more people being given interviews and hopefully even employment!

Cycle 6 – Week 6 by Sarah Korsah & Chonte Ingram

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On 6 June, the first Saturday of the month, it was sanitation day throughout Ghana. On the first weekend of each month, Ghanaian’s use the morning to come together and clean their communities. On this occasion, the volunteers participated. We helped with the cleanup exercise along with some of the community and ZoomLion. The citizens of Cape Coast appreciated our efforts and were very thankful to us for the help we’d provided. Afterwards we used the early afternoon to raise more awareness for our upcoming Job Fair event. We pasted posters around the community and distributed leaflets to the general public. Our resident artist George Gunn, had also painted a number of banners which we strategically placed around the community. We hope that our hard work will pay off on the day!

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On Monday 8 June, we left for our Mid Project Review (MPR) in the Volta Region, which was hosted at the beautiful Chances Hotel in Ho. On the first day we had free time, where the volunteers enjoyed the hotels’ facilities, including a swimming pool and gym. We actually started the program on the next day, where each volunteer talked about his or her placement so far.

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We reflected on what we had done so far, what we were currently working on and what we would be doing for the rest of our placement, as well as our own personal development. It was interesting to hear from the Abrobiano team on what they were doing, and we had fun socializing with our friends in the evening. As a team, we got to know that volunteers have a positive mind and that we have really bonded well as a team.

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Right after the MPR we got fully prepared for the job fair, tasks were assigned to each volunteer to perform during the program and we organized the various items which were integral to the running of the event, such as a PA system, canopies etc. Everything was done and dusted by Friday afternoon, ready for our big day!

Cycle 4 – First Blog!

Hello everyone,
I am sure you are wanting to know what we have been up to and what HDC Cycle 4 have in store for the next 8 weeks. Both the UKV (UK volunteer) and ICV (In Country Volunteer) have had long journeys to get to Walmer Township. The UKVs had a total of a 13 hour flight and the ICVs had varied journey ranging from an hour to an 18 hour coach ride. However no matter how long the journey was we were made to feel right at home as soon as we landed. We were greeted by our South African team who were singing and dancing to traditional music such as Shosholloza and Masin’bonanga U’mandela. Their voices perfectly in key put us UKVs to shame.

We then travelled together to Pine Lodge in Port Elizabeth. As we arrived we were paired up with an ICV and shown to our rooms. We had a shower and refreshed before heading to the meeting room for training to commence. The next three days were packed with different types of training ranging from local do’s and dont’s, team building, our hopes and fears and culture differences. The first night was the official welcoming. Both the UKVs and ICVs did something traditional. As we couldn’t think of anything to perform and have already seen a small insight to how talented the ICVs are we knew that this was going to be embarrassing. We decided to do a mash up of the National Anthem, Reach up for the Stars, the Hokey Cokey and the Conga which we can only assume looked as terrible as it sounds. We were then again blown out the water by the creativity of the ICVs. Those guys can really smash a performance. They made us all feel so welcome and there was even a few tears in the audience – ‘We are one, We are family’.

Friday came around a lot sooner than expected and this was the day we finished training, found out our counterparts and then finally meet our host families. We had to say some emotional good byes to the other team heading to Josa Township in Graham’s Town. We then made our way to the Township and this experience became very real very quickly. One by one after a short taxi ride we were dropped off at our houses ready for a weekend of bonding with our new families. We had the weekend to rest up and get ready for the week ahead.

Monday morning came and marked a long week of training and a township tour all of which were vital to our stay here in the township. The week also saw us split into groups that will hopefully make a positive impact on the township. Our mission is to promote awareness of drugs and substance abuse but also to give these children a way out of the problems that substance abuse brings with it, hence our sports and culture programs. The week drew to a close and we took a well deserved weekend off at the beach.

A new week dawns at the first of our groups (sports) are on their way to HDC to give a lesson and assist. The mood is positive as we push to equal and better the last cycles hard work.