Monday, 11 August 2014


Ka-ou-la, My  name is Demy and I am one of the UK volunteers currently working for the Resource Centre here in Tamale. Since arriving here in and settling into the life of an Ghanaian there has been so many opportunities opened to all the volunteers. Our project is finally on its feet and we're getting more pro-active with the communities within Tamale and interacting with Salamingas and Ghanaians.

The first place out of the office that we were able to visit was the Rehabilitation Centre. It was a 20 minute walk to the centre and was located right next to the orphanage. We met the man in charge, Nicholas, and he was very useful and answered all our questions. The school teaches 20 students with 18 living on site and 2 not living far from the centre. The rehab centre caters for the majority of disabilities – physically disabled, visually impaired and hearing impaired. It provides the students with knowledge and understanding of how to weave, crochet, dress make, tailor and how to make shoes. Personally I love going to visit the rehab centre, I have two very good friends there whom are deaf but we communicate by sign language.


We also had an fantastic opportunity of visiting the Yumba Special School before they broke up for the summer holidays. Yumbas is a school for children and young people that have an intellectual disability. Lunch time seemed to be everyone's favourite hour, the children were so happy to see us  and greeted us with lots and lots of hugs. At first we didn't know how to react there was so many smiley faces jumping up and down but it didn't take long for us all to settle in and enjoy our time with the children. The national volunteers hadn't done anything like this before and it took them a little longer to get use to the situation but they enjoyed it just as much as we did. The children love any kind of affection you give them and will try their best to get your attention, it was really sweet.

After visiting these places and coming back to the office it was decided on a group discussion that we could develop our knowledge and understanding of disabilities by going out on the streets and interviewing the physically disabled beggars themselves. The physically disabled beggars were very friendly and were open about their story and it gave us something to discuss as a group. We were able to share our own views and thoughts that we had about the different types of disabilities and our understanding of them.

Very recently, the UK volunteers got to experience the Ghanaian way of celebrating the end of Ramadan also known as Eid. We had a huge get together at the Summer Project's house which consisted of having lots and lots of food followed by some upbeat dancing. Both the national and international volunteers were invited, with a special guest appearance from the international volunteers, Dave, Holly and Euan, whom are working on a project in Bolga. The main celebration was held on the Monday with an extra day for those who were still fasting until the Tuesday. On the Tuesday, we were able to experience a cultural performance at the Chief's Palace, personally I did not enjoy it due to being climbed on and people standing on the chair that I was using. However, All the other UK volunteers managed to get a seat near the other community chiefs and were treated like royalty. The performance had a good review from the majority of the international volunteers and they especially liked it when the Ghanaian hosts invited 3 Salamingas to the front to have a dance off.

Then only days ago, all UK and national volunteers were invited to a live performance by the band, Savannah Echoes. Some people couldn't make it which was a shame but those who did attend found the performance to be well worth its time. They had been playing since half four in the afternoon and finished their last song at half nine in the evening. The band consists of 6 members and out of the 6, 3 of them are blind. It's amazing to see three blind musicians play the instruments, it makes you think how incredible they are as people because they have a disability that affects their sight yet they use that to their advantage, and make some phenomenal music. The music was completely different to the music you would hear in a club or restaurant and it was nice to hear something that wasn't damaging our eardrums.

For the last two weeks myself, Lisa and Alice have been attending rehearsals with the Dinani group (a group of young people learning traditional dances) as part of our project. We want to create a "sliding doors" style play showing the impact of support and no support, through two alternative endings, and how it can affect a person with a disability's life. The Dinani group are very keen to learn the script and even after one rehearsal  they are really getting into character. We are aiming to show the play in communities located in Tamale and around Northern Region Ghana; because of this we would need to provide transport and snacks for the young people however, they are struggling for props and materials to help make the play more realistic. Myself, Alice and Hinna have been working on a campaign for crowd funding so that we can get enough donations to provide the boys and girls with costumes and hopefully this will be a success.

During my time here, I attempted the fasting process and only managed a week before getting ill due to lack of food and water.  I had promised Mohammed that I would try my best to t so that I could experience some of their culture as the majority of Tamale practice the Muslim faith. Personally I felt stronger mentally because I wasn't allowed to eat between 4am and 6:30 pm.  I only fasted for a week but I am glad I gave it a go and the national volunteers were very supportive during this process. I have made a lot of Ghanaian friends here in Tamale and some of them aren't part of the project. I feel I have really embraced the culture  and already do not want to leave. It took me three weeks to fully settle in with struggles around food, hygiene and the heat but now that I have gotten use to it the world is my oyster. You have to take each day as it comes, because a day in Tamale is never the same, with challenges and opportunities being thrown at us from all angles,

Our experience of volunteering in Ghana can only get more positive!


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