Friday, March 2, 2012

Not so much a fish out of water anymore

It didn't take long to settle in and to find my feet in Ghana, even if it was after the help of Quashie, the volunteer support person.  

This week has all the hall marks of a true volunteer project in a developing world. When I first  arrived at the regional office of the Red Cross, they had no idea of who I was or why I was there and what I thought I was going to be doing went out the window. 

As time went on,  I found that there were no schedules and when I thought things where going to happen, they didn't. Plans often changed with no warning.

In many ways this isn't an unusual experience in the world of volunteering and it is very common when working in developing countries for there to be differences in expectations  and differences of pace. It has been a slow process to try and find something useful to do that is beneficial for everyone. But it is been a little frustrating trying to get anything going, to get answers to question on when will things happen, etc, etc but that's how they do things here. The culture a lot more vague here and things happen in their own good time  but it's a learning process and that's why I am here. Hopefully next week should be better. 

Last Tuesday I spent a really interesting day with one of the Red Cross people. Much of the day was spent  at the car and driver licencing place where the Red Cross runs mandatory First Aid classes as part of their Drivers' Education.

While I was waiting for classes to begin I was told that "the boss wanted to see meet". Oh dear, I thought!!!    

I was ushered into this room where I was met by two middle-aged gentlemen who proceeded to interrogate me on why I wasn't married and seemed really keen on setting me up with a local. I had to explain to them that in no uncertain terms that I didn't want to get married but if I changed my mind I would know where to go.

In the afternoon, I sat in on a health class in a primary school, which involved going over the basic concepts of  healthy living, such as drinking clean water, washing hands before touching food etc. The kids seemed to love learning about how to stay healthy.    

Today, I finally got to do something. I worked with them in setting up a blog so that they could promote their programmes and keep people informed. Since 70% of the Red Cross members are young people, it makes sense that they is something on the web.  It was one of my ideas that seemed to get their attention and maybe because blogs are free and are easy to use and, like their website, it doesn't have to be run out of head office.   

It has been fun taking the "Tro Tros" everywhere. Tro Tros are old minibuses that go around he city and are usually packed with people. I try and get one from Tema Station which is this large area packed with Tro Tros as well as market stalls and finding one to go to Nima (where I am staying) involves going around and finding it as there are no specific location where they pick people up from. 

Anyway, I wonder what the weekend will bring and what exciting things will happen. 


  1. Ellie that was a good read. please stay safe xxxxxxxxxx

  2. Gab it sounds like you are having such a great time. Enjoy! Cass xx


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