Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Adapting and Overcoming

While we volunteers at TradeAID love what we do, adapting to life in Bolgatanga has been a challenge for all of us in our own way. As a result, we want to share our experiences with you! Here is a perspective from Brandon, a volunteer from Grimsby, UK and Habiba, a volunteer from Kumbungu (Northern Region), Ghana. 


This is a brief run through of how I have lived so far in my four weeks of being in Bolgatanga as a UK volunteer. So much has happened so quickly and so much is going to happen.
Me and my counterpart (Derrick) at community sensitisation. 

So let me get started by saying adapting to the environment in my experience so far has been a struggle but that's just how life is, its how we grow as individuals. For example the food is my biggest challenge: I miss my home comfort foods, it feels like an eternity since I had a Sunday roast, but this will be one of my greatest challenges I will overcome. Don't get me wrong, the food can be very good at times!  My host mum is a really good cook - she knows how to make the food taste amazing and changes it to my liking (I can be a picky eater...don't judge me).

The team - being their usual upbeat selves - after a long hardworking day at the office.

Now that I have rambled on about the challenges, let me tell you the most enjoyable experiences I have had so far on my placement: working with such an amazing team. My team are made up of nicest group of individuals I have ever met and they helped me overcome quite a lot so far in such a short period of time knowing them. Whenever I have those stressful days I can count on them to brighten my day and they have made every day working in the office fun and enjoyable.

I am very proud to be part of the TradeAID project, and to have the chance to help make BICAF  the best it has ever been. Furthermore, getting to meet all the amazing communities and people of Bolgatanga, and involving them in the work we do, to get them the benefits that these hardworking people deserve. In addition, I also feel like it is a great opportunity for me to learn from them, and change my perspective on life in general. I cant wait to come back to the UK with the chance to teach more people of my community on the differences of other cultures and how overcome culture shock.

Thank you all for reading this, and I hope you enjoyed this brief summary of my experience so far in Bolgatanga.   


On the 13th October 2017 we arrived in Bolgatanga and alighted at the TradeAID office. Without delaying at the office, our host parents came and took us to our various host homes. Myself and my counterpart were so lucky to have Mr.Apokerah as our host dad and Mrs.Peace Apokerah as our host mom. Yikene is the area where our host home is located which is about five miles away from the office. We were given a very nice room with everything in it. Thus, we do not share the washroom with any of the family members. 

There are seven people in my host home. Three of them are children and the rest are adult. The children include Anna, Francis and Michelle. The youngest among them is Michelle and she is so lovely. Francis and Anna always want me to play Ludu- which is a local board game- with them and also have fun. As for Anna, she is the talkative in the house. She asks a lot of questions regarding my religious background.

My host sisters Michelle and Anna

The first week I arrived, I really missed my family back home. I am the oldest of my siblings and I help to look after them a lot, so it has been difficult being away from them. However, when it comes to the relationship between me and my host family, I find that they are lovely, friendly and patient. Mama Peace always gives me the opportunity to ask for whatever l want. She cooks delicious foods for me and she also gives me chance to cook for myself. She makes me feel at home and comfortable.I help Francis to wash bowls in the evening in other for him to finish fast and do his homework. There are two dogs in the house who always eat a lot. They begin to search for food from plate to plate whenever we are washing the bowls.

Me and my fellow volunteers meeting the craft chief of the basket market 
Over the weekends, my team hang out together and relax, for example we went to Tap Hotel to swim and had fun – although I didn’t swim because I fear the water. Every Friday after work we spend the evening hanging out together, which we spend chatting, sharing stories and watching the local football team train. We have come to call this ‘libation’.
Written by: Brandon Crabtree and Mohammed Awal Habiba 
Edited by: Emma Caldwell and Finlay O'Fee 

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