We were delighted when Stephanie Macwilliam agreed to sign up as our 2016 Volunteer Coordinator. Having completed TeachFirst and now the Course and Programme Co-ordinator, Children People and Young Families at The National Communities Resource Centre at Trafford Hall we she would be fantastically qualified to volunteer with KickStart Ghana.
Over the summer she will be supporting our volunteers to make sure that they can really make an impact on our projects, including the 2016 summer school and reading club and coaching at Dynamo FC. She’ll also be evaluating our impact and working closely with the Ghanaian board on other projects.
She’s going to be blogging about her experiences over the summer and below is her first. We hope you enjoy.
Two months in Ghana may sound like a long time, but my first week here has already flown by. I arrived at Accra airport at the ungodly hour of 4.45am after a journey including three trains, two flights and a five and a half hour layover in Casablanca. Thankfully, Moses was waiting for me with a warm welcome despite the early start! After being dropped off at the tro tro station (and after Moses rejected the first tro on offer as he didn’t think it looked safe enough!), the final leg of my journey to Ho began. During the two hour journey, I got my first real sight of Ghana. We headed out of Accra and into the beautiful Volta region, passing through many small villages which were in stark contrast to the heavily built up capital. I was also got my first glimpse of the wonderful landscape of the region, which is far greener than I had ever expected. Once we finally arrived in Ho, Joseph, the tro tro driver, kindly let me wait in the tro until Dan came to pick me up, and even bought me some fruit so that I could have a bit of breakfast!
Since arriving in Ho, I’ve been getting to know the town well thanks to Dan and Coco who have become my tour guides! Although it is a small town, it is one of the most vibrant places I have ever visited. Every street is full of small shops and stalls selling everything from street food to furniture, taxis sound their horns constantly and there is always music in the air. Not forgetting, of course, the warm welcome you receive everywhere you go. In fact, in my short time here it’s already clear to me that Ghanaians are some of the friendliest people you could ever meet. Walking through the market, every trader said “good afternoon” and “you’re welcome” in greeting, and was keen to spend time chatting so that we could get to know each other a little bit.
One of the highlights from my first week in Ho was a trip to Ho Polytechnic University, just a short walk from the volunteer house, to see an exhibition ofstudents’ final year art work. The exhibition covered a range of artistic degrees, including painting, drawing, graphic design, sculpture, textiles and ceramics. As someone who can barely draw a straight line with a ruler, I was amazed by the quality of the work on display and the skill of the young artists involved. I’ve attached some photos to this post, so hopefully you can get a feel of the exhibition for yourself.
I can’t believe my first week is over already! However, I’m sure the adventure is just beginning.