Chelsey's Ghana Blog #1: Hello!
Hello The Other Room,
As some of you may know, I am on another continent!
In January I was offered the incredible opportunity to live in Ghana for three months working with the international development charity International Service. They do invaluable work to protect and promote the rights of the most marginalised people in the world.
Luckily I spent the next few months working on TOR's opening production Blasted. It didn't give me much time to think about anything else, meaning I couldn't obsess about how many pairs of knickers to pack or how many litres of factor 50 SPF would really protect my deathly pale skin. Blasted opened my eyes to the murky subject of world politics – why Britain will come to the "aid" of certain countries but not others. It is a dark and tortured play that shows the very worst of human nature, but perhaps more importantly it shows that there is hope even in the bleakest situations.
Blasted closed on the night of Saturday 7th March, the very next day I boarded the plane to start my next adventure – taking the lesson of hope with me.
So here I am in Ghana, West Africa as the new Team Leader for the Yumba Special School Project in the Northern Region city of Tamale. Alongside my fellow Team Leader Portia, who is from Ghana, I am currently preparing for the arrival of our new team – 4 volunteers from the UK and 3 from Ghana. Together we will be supporting Yumba in many ways, such as how to develop its income streams and expand its range of vocational classes whilst also promoting intellectual disability awareness in Tamale. I will let you know more about our work as the weeks progress.
During my short time in Ghana perhaps the most important thing I have already learnt is how to greet people in the local language – Dagbani. For the Dagomba people greetings are all important. Greetings show respect and strengthen the community, if you do not greet you cannot expect people to come and help you if some kind of peril befalls you just after you have walked by them.
At first I was told by my wonderful host family (more on them soon) to just reply "Nnaa" to anything I was greeted with. Nnaa means fine or the same and is the appropriate reply to most greetings. But soon people were laughing as I replied "Nnaa" to "how was your night?" or "Where are you coming from?" This laughter, although kind, prompted me to quickly pick up the correct responses, but of course I still sometimes get it wrong!
So depending on what time you are reading this I greet you:
Dasiba (Good Morning), Anti Re (Good Afternoon) or Anin Wula (Good Evening).
And for those of you wondering, 14 pairs is more than enough.
Until next time,