Monday, August 22, 2016

Team Work, Team Play

Zaare! So it turns out that my first blog was just so great that Abbie has asked me to do another one already, just kidding we all have to do more than one it just so happens to be my turn again.

If you had said to me even a year ago that I would be spending 3 whole months in Africa I would of laughed in your face an called you crazy, but here I am.
Seven months ago I applied to the scheme and now I am already past the half way point! To a lot of people it's no big deal being away for this long as many people on placement have travelled before. For me however I have never been away longer than for a holiday. But it’s not the only reason it’s such a big deal for me. For someone who just 3 and a half years ago would not even get on the bus on her own or even pop to the local shop without being crippled with anxiety, this is 100% the biggest challenge i have ever given myself.

I remember a few weeks back asking Abbie my team leader if she thought I was ready for this, as the first few weeks in I really did struggle. I struggled with getting used to the new and different ways of life, whether that be the food, how to deal with a different culture or the heat. Even whilst flying here I still really did not know how my condition was going to affect me. It’s safe to say that I've been pushed; sometimes I've fallen but every time I have dusted myself off and got back up again getting stronger each time.
  She gave me the perfect answer though, "It's not a case of being ready, if you didn’t try how would you know if you could or not." How right she was. I came out here to challenge myself and overcome some of the obstacles I face daily, and just 6 weeks in I can honestly say I can see a difference already. Anxiety is a tough one to explain if you have never experienced it, for those of you reading this that have you'll know exactly what I mean. Not being able to control your emotions and being sensitive to things that to any other person would not phase them, feeling scared to do even the simplest of day to day tasks. So doing something new to me every day would seem daunting. But I am doing/feeling great. When I got told that coming on this I would gain friends for life I honestly wasn't sure but I can tell you this, I have. The support that I have received from my team has been astounding.  

   I'm not writing this for sympathy nor am I saying that others are not facing similar challenges; we all have our reasons for being here. I just wanted to share my story and show other young people who are looking into the possibility of doing ICS that it is possible and you just have to believe in yourself. The fact that I am comfortable sharing my story and that is proof in itself that I have already overcome so much already. If I can feel like this is 6 weeks just imagining what I will feel like in September when we go home?


A little introduction about my team which we eventually named “team selfie”, a name that was generated due to that rapid and uncontrollable attitude of some us always taking selfies and if it will interest you to know, I am the “selfie king” and as you already know there can’t be a king without a queen so I got Teresa Valente as my queen. Team selfie is made up of team members plus two vibrant team leaders who are driving the team to a success. But unfortunately we had to lose one of our members. I mean lose one of our members as in, he had to go back home to the UK because he had some issues relating to his health.  Team selfie consist of all manner of people from professors, comedians and many more you can think of. We consist of Jonathan, Stacey, Ellie, Ella, Ed, Becky, Khan, Teresa and Aaron (who has unfortunately left us). And then our two most reliable team leaders who will ensure you always got something to do even in your dreams are Abbie and Foster. Still wondering who the last member of the team is to make it a team of twelve members? I am the one, the one writing what you are reading now by name Jacob, I mean the selfie king himself.
Now back to business, we were assigned on the “INCOME” project which by income I actually mean Integrated Community Empowerment. With TradeAid as our project partners we have to deal with the numerous craft groups in Bolgatanga. “Bolgatanga is a place where most of the population are into craft work” was actually a rumor I had heard since we stepped foot in Bolgatanga until the day we actually had the chance to visit some of the various craft groups. What we actually got to do with this craft groups is to assess their products and as well issue out trainings on this particular including diversity of the products. Some of them included the smock weavers, fabric weavers, basket weavers, bead makers, and many others.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. I don’t know how true this is, but to make sure this statement doesn’t affect us, we have a normal weekend social activity of which we all go to one host-home of the volunteer to watch a movie and have dinner together and sometimes supplement it with indoor games like playing cards, playing ludo, etc.
Since the road to success is sometimes rough, we have also had a few of wrong moves but since we are determined, we solve our differences and move on. With all these I can say we are the best team among all the ICS teams. And before I forget, we managed to come out with our own team song which was composed by our own team leader Abbie Dacruz, tho she sometimes chases me around to do some work, I still see her as the best.
And also I got the best “roomie” ever. I actually mean my room mate, who is like a brother to me and as far as knowledge is concerned, we are both ready to learn from each other because we have different cultures and to my best of knowledge, there’s always room to learn something new.
Learning about human relation is very important because you don’t know who you might meet next in your life and that can only be achieved if you are ready to learn and accept the cultures, behaviors, ideas and a lot more of people around you or maybe people you will meet soon in your life and you will always be in line with others.
I really want to issue out my thanks to International Services for giving me the chance to be part of an experience such as this, I’m most grateful to them for that. I will also like to give thanks to my team leaders for always guiding us on how to go about our daily activities at work and thanks to my colleague volunteers for your support too I’m really grateful.  And to you out there reading this because, I didn’t just write up this for decoration, thanks so much for having time to go through my blog and please watch out for my next blog as I elaborate on things really going on about the project. Thank you so much.

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