After spending our first week in Ghana meeting our fellow volunteers, integrating into our communities and settling into our host homes, project Adaklu is really beginning to pick up pace. We have conducted our main market research, begun our teaching side project, and started holding meetings with previously formed trading groups.
At the beginning of the week the team, including our team leaders and in country coordinator, went to visit our biggest local market at Mafi. Beforehand, we all took a trip to the schools in our community. As it was World Teachers Day, we decided to acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate all of the hard work that teachers put into developing the youth of today.
The team celebrating national teacher’s day
Shortly after arriving at Mafi market we split into teams of Groundnut, Kente and Maize and began our market research. Our aim was to gather information from stall holders about the price of their products, how much they sell, and how they present the goods which they have to offer. We even had the chance to do a bit of shopping at the market and sample some of the food they had to offer, like oranges (which are green in Ghana, not orange), groundnuts and sugar cane. On the whole, the research trip was very successful, giving us lots of information, providing us with a basis to support the groups which we are working with to develop their sales and eventually get to market.
Our research trip to Mafi market
On Tuesday some of the ICS team began teaching in the local primary and junior high schools. We each have three 1 hour scheduled time slots in which we teach every week. We all felt quite nervous before we started teaching, but quickly realised that there was no need. The teachers are friendly, and the children are eager to learn. After another successful afternoon the team congregated at the team meeting area to discuss what we discovered at the market and our thoughts on teaching.
Our teaching continued on Wednesday. The team of 16 are split between different schools, meaning that we all teach at different times on different days. Wednesday however is the only day which the whole team teaches at some point during the day. In the evening, the team attended our team leaders social event. Socials are a really good opportunity to have a laugh as a group, our first social entailed lots of child like party games, like pin the tail on the pig- We definitely underestimated how difficult it would be!
A fellow volunteer teaching at Waya Primary School
Thursday we held our first meetings with the pre existing trading groups of Waya and Anfoe. This meeting, along with our market research helped us to identify the needs of the groups and work to support continual and sustainable development in our local communities.
Teaching local maize farmers on record keeping
Later in the afternoon we traveled into Waya to meet with the chief Torgbui Lablulu and the queen mother Mama Dzakuia. The Chief and Queen Mother informed us of what they believed the challenges in the community were, highlighting poor time keeping in Waya. We discussed up and coming events in the local area, such as our awareness raising event on 18th October. The chief invited the team to the opening to the Education Trust Fund at the end of the month, this will be a great way to continue integrating into the community and keep updated about the progressions which the community is making. Thursday afternoon we lost power, the second power cut since arriving here. Being so close to the equator, It gets dark quite early and It’s a lot harder to navigate your way around in the dark than first anticipated. The power cut lasted over 36 hours. Friday evening saw the arrival of hundreds of families and friends arrive into our host community to begin celebrating the live of the recently deceased (still with no electricity). Before arriving in Adaklu, 4 individuals from our local communities passed, today the three-day-celebrations began. In Ghana, funerals are a world apart from what they’re like in England: polar opposite. Funerals in Ghana are seen to be a celebration of the individuals life, Friday evening family and friends begin traveling to the community of the burial, before the body of the deceased is transported to their home for one last night. Friday night consists of a huge party, singing, dancing, music and prayers, starting from around 8pm and continuing until the end of the funeral celebrations, even through the night into the next day. The celebrations continue through until Sunday when the church service and burial commences.
At the weekends our schedule opens up quite a lot and gives us free time to catch up with our washing etc. and relax before engaging in another busy week. Open Mic Night is the only scheduled event on Saturdays, a chance to spend time together and have fun, anyone can come up to the stage and perform, whether that be singing, dancing, telling jokes or any other form of entertainment which you can imagine. Amy was the only one brave enough to sing solo in front of our fellow volunteers. She was the first on stage, singing a solo version of Rihanna. Followed by groups singing various songs, dancing around, and telling jokes.
Sunday is our host home and counterpart day. After visiting the seamstress and meeting with the farming groups, everyone in our host home sat down and ate outside together.
Everything has been amazing so far, I can only hope it carries on the way it’s started.
Thanks for reading! There will be another update next week from our fellow volunteers.
Chloe and Amy