Friday, 21 April 2017

Sun, Spice and Suspicious Parents

Grace, Joe and Sarah smiling through the sunburn.

Dazed and confused we awoke in Tolon.

Week one in rural Tolon in northern Ghana has been hot and sweaty with arms like spaghetti. Did I need that alarm clock my grandma pressed softly into my hand? No, I did not. The local wildlife has given us numerous photo opportunities, along with free wake-up calls. No need to call the concierge, the goats have got this on lock (not that we have a concierge). The town we find ourselves in (Tolon) has embraced us, whole heartedly into their community helping, us to settle into our new way of life and making sure Joe can find his way to and from work/anywhere.

In week one we have faced some treacherous moments. Such as: Sarah falling off her bike backwards, Sarah going full tomato and Sarah crashing into a wall and falling into a sewer.  Whilst we are on the topic, let’s introduce the team of NFED’s 7th cohort from International Service. We have of course Sarah, who is doing well to provide the team with comical relief every time she falls off of something. She doesn’t want this blog to be about her, but at the same time she insists that I write about her twin brother and the city in which she will start studying her masters next year. Next up we have her In-country counterpart, Salamata without whom we would not know a word of Dagbani (the local language) and wouldn’t get that acute sense of failure every time she laughs as we attempt to say ‘Dasiba’ (good-morning). 

Now we come to Grace (UK) who gave me a list of her favourite foods, when I only asked for one and yearns to taste that sweet, sweet nectar that is garlic bread, once more.  On a serious note though she is excited to learn about a new culture, away from her cake shop in Haslemere. This brings us to Rose, Grace’s Ghanaian counterpart. Rose describes herself as keen to learn and wants to use that newfound knowledge to teach others. With her passion being making people happy, we are sure to all get along swell.

Team Tolon, attempting to play a ball game.

Now to Grace from Northern Ghana (although when I asked she claimed to also be from London). When I asked about her experience so far she said ‘nice’ with a long pause, thanks Grace. She hopes to improve her public speaking skills as well as learn more about the culture in Northern Ghana.  Grace’s UK counterpart is the wonderful Samantha who brought games galore and comes all the way from Somer[h]set. So far Samantha’s loving the heat (which makes a change), but (alas) is being tortured by her Doxy dreams of food, she would trample us all for a slice of pizza if given the chance.

Now we come to the true bromance of cohort 7, Dan and Joel. A friendship so strong they shall be written about together (also the word count). Joel is our resident vegan who is successfully converting us to the dark side (do it Luke) and has brought almost anything and everything you could possibly imagine, except soymilk. No tea for you baby cakes.

Our Welsh Vegan Joel, probably searching for some soymilk

Dan, whose mother is a host home mum in Sandema, is one of the most open-minded and laid back guys you could ever hope to meet. From day one he has helped the UKVs learn more about Ghanaian culture and is successfully keeping our welsh vegan suitably fed. Finally this brings us to Joe and Bonaventure, a bromance on the brew (?).  Unfortunately Bona has only been able to be with us for a day so far, but our team looks forward to getting to know him some more.  As you already know Joe seemingly has no internal (nor moral) compass, as he reliant upon hoards of friendly, all be it bemused neighbours to guide him home (picture pinball). Only moments ago he attempted to apply insect repellent whilst in front of a fan and couldn’t quite work out why it was all in his eyes (10 out of 10 would not recommend) rather than on his arms, which speaks for itself really. The make up of our team means that all ICVs and UKVs alike are learning from one another. With a plethora of cultures at our disposal, there is certainly a lot to talk about.

Samantha and our trusty steads.

All jokes aside our team is feeling incredibly lucky, we are thankful for landing ourselves amongst a group of like-minded individuals, in a town with a sense of welcoming that you’d be hard stretched to beat and of course for Turkish airline’s and their free pillow.
  We also count ourselves lucky to have such amazing team leaders who we wouldn’t change for the world (they insisted), Edd and Caleb. But it is our host families in Tolon who deserve the largest chunk of credit, as they have welcomed us into their lives with open arms. Ensuring we feel part of the family, despite only having been here for such a short amount of time.

As a team of individuals we look forward to our time here in Tolon. Blog One. Done.

 [Since the time of writing Sarah has been weed on by a young child]