Friday, November 11, 2016

A lot of Ideas...One Goal

Hello; my name is Dylan Monticelli and I’m a volunteer from the UK. My home is Runcorn; it’s a small town just outside Liverpool. It was created (yes created) to make a place for factories/warehouses, and as a place to live for the workers. It had the biggest enclosed shopping centre in 1972 and it’s even home to the third longest steel arch span bridge in the world; connecting Runcorn to Widnes.

However now I am over four thousand miles away in Bolgatanga; which is a town in the Upper East Region of north Ghana. It is also capital of the Bolgatanga Municipal District. Unlike Runcorn; Bolgatanga is built on local traditional crafts making; this includes Smocks and Bolga Baskets. Bolgatanga is also recognized as a fair trade town.

Like any place on earth; Bolgatanga needs its building blocks for a strong economy. So that’s where our work here comes into place. We are running an event called ‘BICAF’; which stands for ‘Bolgatanga International Crafts and Arts Fair.’ We are using this fair as a platform for crafts makers in Bolgatanga; so they can have a sustainable income.

So as a group of eight UK and Ghana volunteers; we have to run BICAF. We are volunteers aged between 18-25 and we all come from different places, with different ideas.

This is most apparent from our guided learning sessions; Ghanaians and British people have very different and strong opinions. Even with just UK volunteers we all come from different backgrounds with different experiences.  For the Ghanaians coming to Bolgatanga their culture is different from places where they are from like Accra and Tamale.

That’s why it’s useful to live inside the community in our host homes. Mself and my counterpart (Hakeem) live in the  centre of town; unlike the rest of the group who live in residential areas. This allows us to see the heart of Bolgatanga and be able to live with the people of Bolga. This gives us a better understanding when it comes to the project because we are not alienated; but involved and interacting with numerous people daily.

When it comes down to it communication is vital to this project; so when it comes to different opinions and running BICAF there isn’t a miscommunication between the group, project partner and the community. So we can all work in harmony towards that one goal…..BICAF!


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