Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Goodbye Ghana

 From left to right: Patience, Chris, Tallis, Alhassan, Katriona, Bawa, Anna, Zainab and Ben

For my first month in Ghana I wondered how I could ever get used to it, everyday thinking, ‘What the hell have I got myself into?’ and was counting down the weeks until I could leave, trying to will them to hurry by. But once I passed that hurdle of homesickness, I didn’t want to leave, and still don’t. It’s hard to believe that now I’m not counting down weeks but counting down days until I board the plane back to the UK. People always ask me, ‘What’s been the highlight of your trip?’ but honestly, there’s been no single highlight of Ghana. All of it has been amazing. Photographs and anecdotes will never suffice; you have to come here and experience it to know it. And now I’m dreading returning to the monotony and propriety of the UK, trying to will my time to slow down. I’ll miss Tamale and its colourfulness, with its red roads, mud huts, cows and sheep trotting along the street, its motorbikes and the chaos of town. I’ll miss the amazing friends I’ve made here – who I wish I could pack up in my suitcase and take back to the UK with me! But Ghana hasn’t got rid of me yet. This isn’t goodbye; it’s see you when I see you.

Katriona presenting on North Star Radio

The journey of thousand kilometers begins with one step. It is so sad that my six months placement (January to June,2015) as the first in-country leader in Ghana has come to an end. I have really enjoyed working with the international service Ghana and therefore I say thank you. I have successfully worked as an in-country team leader for two cohorts at the Northern Regional Resource Centre for persons with Disabilities. I have worked with Jonny and Tallis, both from UK as counterpart team leaders, where we worked together as one people; irrespective of culture, religious identity or political affiliation. I use this plat form as an opportunity to thank my project partners, international services Ghana staff and my indefatigable volunteers for cohort 11 and 12 at the Resource Centre without them, I wouldn’t have reached where I am today. GOOD BYE INTERNATIONAL SERVICE, GOOD BYE RESOURCE CENTRE.

Bawa living in Bawaland

What an unforgettable 10 weeks. Best compared to a roller coaster ride, we've had our highs and our lows and now suddenly it's over! Ghana is such a bright, happy and colourful country. I could fill pages and pages with all the things I am going to miss but most of all I will miss the amazing friends and wonderful adopted family that I have found here. Working at the Resource centre has been so rewarding and I really hope that we have helped to improve the lives of disabled people in Ghana, both now and in years to come. I feel so lucky to have had such a fun and crazy team to share the work with. Thank you for the memories Ghana! Keep dancing, keep smiling and stay relaxed! I'll miss it all.

Some of the volunteers playing wheelchair basketball with the parasports team in Tamale. From left to right, Ben, Chris and Anna

As a great man once said, ‘don’t cry because its over, smile because it happened’; and smile I will. The last ten weeks have been superb. Of course, there has been some challenging times, times in which one’s sanity has almost been lost. Despite this, the magical and momentous moments out-weigh, out-measure and truly out-class the bad ones. This team has been a pleasure to work with. We all shine in our different ways and we excel in different areas; what a shame it has to end so soon. Our basic aim here has been to promote the message of equality, a right we as human beings have a duty to advance. The work is not done, and won't be for a while yet, but it has been an honour and a pleasure to have a small part in such a worthy cause, surrounded by such a great bunch of people (and Katriona).

Well done to the great team mates I had at the Resource Centre For Persons With Disabilities (RCPWDS) our programme has come to an end, I still can not believe that we have ended it like that, I had a great time with my team. From the beginning to the end, I will never forget the times I had with my team. I wish this has never end. I will remember our trip to Kintampo it was fun. Our sensitizations we did in schools and the radio appearance we had together. Even though I know this is the end of the programme, I will never forget the experience I had at the resource centre for persons with disabilities. Goodbye team resource centre, Goodbye ICS.

The volunteers getting ready for a follow-up school sensitisation. From left to right: Ben, Chris, Patience, Zainab, Anna and Katriona

I can't quite believe I'm having to write this, it seems just yesterday I was drafting our first blog post of cohort 12! Working at the RCPWD has been amazing, and the past eleven weeks in Ghana have quite frankly been life changing. As clichéd as it sounds, I know I am returning to the UK a different person. I have experienced a new county, culture and way of life that I have fallen in love with and that I will miss deeply. My host family in particular have been fantastic and the highlight of my time here. They treated me like one of their own, and saying goodbye to them and Tamale will be incredibly painful! I hope to live out my days with the same enduring happiness and love of life that Ghanaian people encapsulate, and know that one day I will return. Cheers Ghana, you're the best.

(From left to right) our centre manager Mr Samed, Alhassan and Chris presenting on North Star Radio

Hmm, it is commonly said that “anything that has a beginning surely has an end” the rope of our journey at the resource centre might be ending soon but the work of volunteer work has just begun, the fight for justice, equality for the vulnerable group in society has just started. Never mind we had a good time at the resource centre with great people forming a wonderful team. I have been honoured to be part of this magnificent and magnanimous family. I say “NPAGYA” to all the volunteers as well as team leaders.

Some of the volunteers presenting at a community sensitisation in Kanvili. From left to right: Zainab, Ben, Anna and Alhassan

All too soon our time as volunteers at ICS is coming to an end, but being a global citizen has just began. Spending ten weeks at the Northern Regional Resource Centre for Person’s with Disabilities, has been an interesting and wonderful experience ever and I am glad to be part of it. I would like to thank my team (Resource Centre Team) for spending such a wonderful period, working together to achieve a common goal. And also to International Service for giving us their maximum support to carry out these activities successfully. To everyone, I say Thank you!


I honestly cannot believe that the past 10 weeks have gone so fast. They always say it will speed by as if on fast forward, but the weight of that is really hitting me this week! The volunteers have worked so hard, and have achieved so much. The Humans of Tamale social media posts have been a particular highlight of our achievements in the past months but everything we have done from the community presentations to the teacher’s workshops have been positive and so much fun. I wish the volunteers all the luck in the world in the future, and will take this time to say I will miss my counterpart Bawa so much! Safe travels everyone!

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