Friday, August 25, 2017

Life Away from Home

Glory is a 20-year-old UKV from Manchester. Maxima is a 23-year-old volunteer from Bawku, a town in the Upper East Region of Ghana. Glory and Maxima have lived together since starting their placement and have shared their experience so far.

Glory (left) and Maxi (right)


We live with a host family at Zuarungu, a town about 6km from Bolga. In total there are 11 people in the family, with a gate man and three dogs that help maintain security in the house. Because the family is very large the house is lively and we can always find something to entertain ourselves with.

Every Sunday we attend the 6.30am mass with our host family. The 5am wakeup call has been a new experience for Glory but she enjoys spending the quality time with her family, and it means she can also catch the beautiful sunrise at least once a week. We also enjoy playing games such as Blackjack, Cheat, Ludo, and football with the kids during weekends and sometimes before we go to bed on week days. Aside from playing games with the kids, we aid our host parents in cooking and other household chores like doing the dishes, helping with the washing of clothes and sweeping the house. Although the work can be difficult it has helped us feel like we are really part of the family and not just guests staying over.

Some of the family heading off to Church.

Maxima enjoys all the food that is served at home, which includes TZ (her favourite), banku, yam with stew, plantain with beans stew and many more. At first Glory struggled a bit with the food but over time she has adapted to the local dishes, especially TZ which seems to be the family’s favourite meal for dinner. Our host mum checks up often on how we are finding the food. She will always ensure there are alternatives if she thinks we may not enjoy the evening meal, which has gone a long way in making us feel comfortable.

Julie and Maximillian, our host siblings. 

Dorcas, one of our host sisters.

There are many differences between here and home, especially for Glory who is not used to the local food and culture. She noted one big difference compared to her home in the UK is the timetable of the day. For example, everyone is awake by 6am to do house chores even on weekdays, whereas in the UK house chores such as cleaning of the whole house is normally done on weekends. Glory is also used to living with just her parents and two siblings, but at her home in Ghana it couldn’t be more different. The family is very big and always has more extended family and friends visiting or staying over. It can be busy but it’s nice having new people around to chat with, and they’re always keen to know about the work we do. Both of us have adapted well to our host home and are appreciating the differences between here and our homes as it allows us to learn about other people’s way of life.

The food was so good that we ate half of it before thinking to take a photo!

 Our host parents are loving and caring, treating us the same way they do their daughters. They check on us every morning to ensure that we are up from bed and getting ready for work. Our host dad gives us a lift to work every morning and we usually have a chat in the car. This gives us time to catch up with him about our project or even learn about things to do with Ghanaian politics and other topics that he is interested in. Our host parents also make sure we do not go to bed on an empty stomach. They are very open and interactive and stressed from the beginning how important it is that we communicate easily with them, this has encouraged us to always freely discuss our needs to them.
Our host family has really contributed greatly in making our volunteering placement very enjoyable and memorable. As our placement is coming to an end we are already thinking of how difficult it will be to say goodbye but we know that we’ll both be back to visit in the future.

Glory and Maxi

Edited: Cynthia

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