Hello from Accra, the capital city of Ghana, in West Africa! I’m here as a Brock volunteer, through the Uniterra/WUSC program called Leave for Change.
I am essentially a rookie international volunteer – while I have participated in a Habitat for Humanity build in El Salvador, beyond that, my experience is limited. That said, I’ve had a wonderful start to my three weeks here and I’d like to share a bit. I should also tell you that I am not a great story teller or travel writer, so I may be off to a rocky start. I’d initially thought I’d start a blog, but I think mass emails will work just as well.
First, you may be wondering ‘why Ghana?’. Well, when the opportunity to participate came up, I was quite deliberate in my choice – each fall some of our students participate in a program called Global Transitions, a modified ‘gap year’ experience at Brock – I have met several of these students and heard their amazing tales. They, (and the many others) inspired me, and when Brock decided to pilot the Leave for Change program, the timing seemed right.
I’m nearing the end of my first week and have viewed many wonderful sights, met some warm and gracious people, tried some very tasty dishes, and am having an opportunity to work alongside some terrific folks, (both at the Accra World University Service of Canada office, and at my placement (Child Rights International).
So attached are some first glimpses of life this week – most are taken in the area surrounding my placement location – sorry about the picture quality! The morning rush hour is quite something – it takes me approx. 45 minutes to get to work (by taxi – I’ll explain transportation in another email), and a lot of that time is spent barely moving along narrow city streets completely packed with vehicles. But it is nothing like sitting on the QEW! Far far more interesting. The roadsides are packed with tiny kiosks selling anything from living room furniture, to paving stones, to breakfast fare, water (in tiny little pouches), cell phone sim cards, women’s clothing, beautiful fabrics, and iron gates (for the gated properties that are the norm). In addition to the kiosks, you can also purchase goods from people at most corners – they are walking in between the lanes selling a range of products, most, carried in huge trays or bowls, balanced effortlessly on their heads. Now that is a skill! Colourful clothing, young children in school uniforms walking to school – it is all so interesting!