Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Travel Tuesday: Ghana 2011

Having only started my blog a mere month or two ago, there's been so much in my life that I've missed out on blogging about, so in an attempt to play catch up, I've decided to start yet another series entitled "Travel Tuesdays", whereby every Tuesday, I'll be uploading a new post that catalogues my many travelling experiences.

In January of 2011, I was approached by the head of the sixth form that I attended, and asked if I would like to accompany 12 other students on a trip to Ghana to work on a community project, painting and decorating classrooms in a primary school. Being someone who has always suffered with a severe case of wanderlust, I definitely wasn't going to decline. With a goal of £1,695 to raise, I knew that the months that followed weren't going to be easy. From packing bags in ASDA to abseiling off of a bridge in Derbyshire, I did everything that I could to ensure I would be on that flight to Ghana.

On Monday 28th April 2011, I logged into my World Challenge Fundraising Account to find this.


A weight had been lifted off of my shoulders, and with a lot of generous donations from family, friends and local community groups, going to Ghana suddenly became a reality. 

Packed with 16 boxes of anti-malarials, copious amounts of insect repellent, and sun screen on tap, on Thursday 7th July 2011 the team began their travels. Two flights, two coach journeys, an overnight stop in Accra, an overnight stop in tents by the beach during one of the worst ever thunderstorms I've encountered, and finally, what I'm sure wasn't a risk assessed "tro tro" later, we arrived at our destination. Ayensudo. 

Stepping out into the oppressive African heat after what seemed like a lifetime of travelling, we adorned our rucksacks, picked up our tents and looked for a suitable camping spot on the school grounds. The principal of the school came over to welcome us and pointed us in the direction of the corner of the school grounds. A tract that was surrounded by trees which created a canopy of shade, something I think we were all eternally grateful for. 

After pegging in the tents and setting up what was going to be our lodgings for the duration of our trip, we were immediately immersed into the Ghanaian culture as we were marched off to be welcomed by the village elders, a very prestigious ceremony for any visitor of the village. En route to the ceremony we were swarmed with Ghanaian children shouting "BRUNI, BRUNI", a little confusing for somebody who doesn't speak Fante (the mother tongue of the people who live in the south-western coastal region of Ghana), we were soon acquainted with the Fante language and learnt that "Bruni" is a Ghanaian term for a person outside of Africa. This was our first encounter with the children we would be working with, my heart was already stolen by them. 

The sun began to set and our eyes began to droop as our exuberance started to rub away and the tiredness started to kick in. After what was an overwhelming day, taking the Ghanaian culture in and meeting lots of new people, we crawled into our tents and said goodbye to our first day in Ayensuedo.  

The following morning, we were awoken by the repetitious sounds of sweeping, chickens, and the radio playing on full blast. This became a regular morning wake up call from the locals. Nevertheless, we arose from our tents in good spirit, keen to do what we came out here to do, to serve. The school was small in size, comparative to the amount of students it catered for, children would quite often share their desk with 2/3 other students. This was never an inhibiting factor to the learning of the students. Their attitude for learning was beyond belief. 

Throughout the duration of the trip, the team got to dip their feet into various different activities, such as; painting classrooms, renovating a playground, teaching English and contributing towards an on-going project through digging out a trench. 

I could quite happily go through the itinerary of the week and talk through each day, but that would make this a super long and potentially tedious post, but magically, through the use of modern technology, you can view the video here, which saves my fingers from a lot of typing, and your eyes from a lot of reading.

By the end of the week, as a collective, we grew passionate about both the children and teaching staff that we had met, and decided that we wanted to do more to help. After seeing how ICT lessons were taught, we were left inarticulate. Not a single computer in sight, just a blackboard and chalk were used to teach children how to use technology. We had an impromptu team meeting, in which we discussed a project that would involve building and buying the school a new computer suite. We each anonymously pledged a considerable amount of money towards the project and as a collective potted over £1000 towards this incredible opportunity to enhance the learning of the children in the school.

This trip was an incredible experience that enabled me to grow into the person that I am today. It gave me a passion to serve others and has promoted what I'm sure will be a life long desire to improve the lives of others.

"If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. We need not wait to see what others do." - Ghandi

8 comments :

  1. Great post!! Looks like a really great life experience. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Wow, what an awesome experience, it must have been amazing! So jealous!

    I’ve given my blog a bit of a redesign, please come and check it out if you have a chance and let me know what you think!.

    www.fragile-bird.blogspot.co.uk

    Helen

    x

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  3. Sounds like such an amazing experience! I really want to go travelling next year but know I would get homesick :( I think Australia is where I want to go. I'm now following you on bloglovin:)

    www.allthingsbeautiful-x.blogspot.com

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  4. What a wonderful experience!

    http://www.hollydollybeautyblogger.blogspot.co.uk/

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  5. This sounds like such an incredible experience! Something like this was offered in my school but only to students who had taken P.E. I was gutted, I didn't take that subject but I would have loved the opportunity to travel to somewhere like Ghana, especially to help with schools/children! I'm hoping I can do something similar with my University next summer, I'm itching to go exploring and helping! The only thing I can imagine not liking is the heat! Did it bother you at all? Especially because I don't think you can plug fans in to tents ha!

    Chloe :) x
    clomofosho.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Ah Chloe, it's an amazing experience, and the heat really isn't an issue, you find yourself too emerged in the culture and everything else to notice it really! Definitely go if you get the opportunity! x

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  6. This is a wonderful article :')
    I had a similar opportunity but sadly couldn't pay for the overall cost to get to Borneo where the project was.
    On a separate note, I love your style man!

    Check my blog out if you guys ever get the chance, cheers!
    www.sunnyboyfash.blogspot.com

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