Footprinter report: Eilidh Lamont in Ghana

Ghana

By Eilidh Lamont

I live in a small village called Lolobi Ashiambi with my project partner, Karina. It’s about 2 miles north East out of the nearest small town, Hohoe, where there’s a weekly market and a restaurant that actually serves western type food. (But your shortest wait to be served is no less than an hour…at best!) We’re located in the Volta region of Ghana, very near the borders of Togo.

It’s exceptionally beautiful. This particular area is decked with trees and hills, in fact our house borders the entrance of the jungle! When we first arrived in Ghana we were told our permanent accommodation wasn’t ready so we’d be staying with a couple of ladies in the village.

For four months me and Karina shared an awful bed in a single room that had nothing in it bar a rusty (useless) fridge and half of a moth eaten wardrobe. Admittedly I wasn’t too impressed at first but over time, the long drop became normal and I can’t imagine going back to a normal shower after a year of outdoor bucket showers. (There’s something cool about showering under the stars.) But finally, the day after we got back from our Christmas travels we were eventually given the key to our new house! So happy days.

Our main objection in coming to Ghana was to teach. Upon arrival we were hasitally introduced to the head teacher of the primary, the head of the JHS (junior high school) the owner of the day care (who is our host) and the chief. We were told by the chief that he wanted us to work in all 3 of the schools throughout our five day week. At the start of our time in Lolobi we put up a valiant effort to do as asked but we soon found that spreading our time across 3 different schools just meant that we couldn’t put in the effort we wanted to at any of the schools.

Not to mention that each ‘establishment’ was extremely poorly run in terms of attendance (both from the pupils and teachers), attitude and resources. So basically, after two months of trying to come up with a suitable time table we finally sorted one out. We’ve decided to devote most of our time to the primary school. Both me and Karina feel that out of each of the projects, the primary has most room for development and is ran in a way that allows us to actually influence the kids.

In fact during this new term we’ve been given the ‘library block’. This is a new project that the head teacher is desperate to start with the upper primary kids. (P4-P6) Every day from 12-2.30 we’ll have one of the classes to ourselves to discuss reading and writing. The kids are strongly encouraged to learn English (most people speak no less the 2 different languages each) as its pretty much necessary to do anything here. We’re really excited we’ve been given this opportunity of free range. Although I’m under no illusion that it’s going to be tough and it’ll take a lot of hard work and time to develop this time into proper constructive lesson time, I’m definitely excited by it!

All in all, life in Ghana is pretty good. I miss home always, particularly my family, but the last few months in Africa have been truly incredible. Despite the hardships of being the only ‘yevu’ for miles and always being an outsider, I would never change my mind about coming here. So really, I’m just excited about the next few months!:)

Image Credit: Frontier Official

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