Thursday, August 31, 2017

My Life in Bolga

After completing my Degree and Internship in London I wanted to challenge myself further to develop more skills and gain more experience. I decided to apply for International Citizen Service, and here I am in Ghana writing my blog in week seven. When I say a lot has happened I mean ‘A LOT HAS’.

My placement started by me getting ill in the first two days in Tamale as I was diagnosed with my first bout of malaria (of three!) but I feel much better now and I am really enjoying my experience here. In this blog I will talk about my highlights of my placement including host family, work and social life.

My host family is an extended family and they have been absolutely amazing. I am a Muslim and my host family are Catholic so it has been really interesting seeing the differences. The first week of my placement I went to church with my host parents and my counterpart for the 6am mass, this was my first time and the mass was three hours long.  It was very interesting to see the similarities between the two religions but, honestly, all I could think about was breakfast. Mama Peace, my host mother, is a lovely lady. Having such a beautiful, kind, welcoming family has definitely made my time so far very enjoyable.

4 of my host siblings - and this isn't all of them!
Francis, Anna and Michelle are the youngest of my host siblings and I honestly love them, their presence in the house has made my placement so much better. At first, Michelle would cry and run away every time me and my counterpart Cynthia would walk in but now she comes and shouts “auntie, auntie, auntie". 

The food Mama Peace makes is very good and I always look forward to eating at home rather than eating out. I have tried TZ, Fufu, Banku, plantain, yam, palm nut soup and Light soup. My favourite is plantain, palm nut soup and OMG I can't forget about Indomie. 

Some of the weavers in Sumbrungu and I
In our cohort I was part of the research team and our main focus was organising training. During our 3 day training session I had the chance to roll the straw used to make baskets and also dye the straws. Successfully completing the training was a huge achievement as the women who received the training were very happy that they had learned another skill.

URA Radio Session.
 I was also very lucky to go to the central mosque in Bolgatanga to promote Bolgatanga International Crafts and Arts Fair (BICAF) to the locals. By doing this we reached out to over 600 people before the Friday prayer. I also had the chance to go on the radio. We had a one-hour session and the aim was to tell the locals about our work and to promote BICAF. The radio show was another success as we had many calls coming in and the next day at work I was told that the office phone had been ringing none stop. 

Getting to know the locals is one of my favourite things to do.
During our free time we try to explore Bolgatanga as much as we can. we have been to Jubilee Park several times, I have learnt how to play cards and climbed a tree for the first time. My first Eid away from home will be during this placement. I have made my Eid dress using African fabric and also got my henna done for Eid. It will be a great experience seeing how people celebrate Eid in Ghana.

Overall, despite being ill a number of times and not being sure if I would make it to the end of my placement, I am really glad that I decided to stay as well as proud that I faced my challenges. 

Some of the other volunteers and I.

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