I won’t lie, this journey had me theoretically wetting the bed with excitment but I also carried some doubts with me on the 30 hour journey. Although I was totally packed at the beginning of September, the preparation it takes for even a small two week journey was quite costly. Having had a blood clot last year, I required blood thinning injections called Clexane Enoxaparin Sodium and training in order to administer it myself, every other immunisation under the sun including yellow fever which without, I cannot re-enter Australia.
Anywho, around came the 29th of September 2017 faster than Mum’s tears in wishing the first of three children bonvoyage on their first solo journey – to a third world country, mind you. I can understand her angst, I am in a country infested with Malaria, HIV/AIDS and absolutely no clean water. My mother also made light on the fact I’m going to a country where I’m the weak minority and stressed the notion of rape.
After two stop overs and four different time zones, I arrived in Accra, Ghana on the 30th September 2017. I was greeted at the airport with a sign indicating towards the organisation I was volunteering with – Thrive Africa. I then endured a further four hour commute via bus to my final destination, Kumasi, Ghana.
It has only been a handful of days now but it has already been a rewarding experience. My first morning in Kumasi was a delight, besides the roosters, the sounds of whistles coming from the soccer match across the road and then cheeky knocks at my bedroom door from the children living in the house. That afternoon I walked to three different markets in neighbouring suburbs, saw a man carrying a beheaded cows head on his shoulder with various organs and other parts dangling down his back, received and declined three marriage proposals, witnesses chaotic driving, unblocked my nose to the scent of rotting fish in the drains and begun my souvenir keyring collection.
Let it be known, the people of Kumasi, Ghana are so kind. Besides being called out to with “Hey, white person” and the frequent marriage proposals, everyone will smile and say hello with curiosity – some people even asked my name.
Cut to Monday, I begun my first day of teaching in Bantama Junior School and Kindergarten in a suburb called Bantama, Kumasi. I instantly grew to stardom as a foreign, weird looking white person. My allocated class, 5B were cheeky and slightly rebellious in an attempt to show off to me. But it is now Wednesday and I’ve gained some authority and respect from class 5B – they even become my security guards when we step outside for lunch. When I say security guards, think of me as the hot chip and all the children as seagulls. I’ve made the mistake once to pose for a photo with children from different classes only to be losing my balance as the fifth child attempts to make the photo from the back of the pack. Even playing soccer today with the boys from 5B resulted in a time out as we hearded all the little children off the field, just picture me chasing down a soccer ball with all these 5 year olds chasing after me for hugs.
Whilst I’m only four days into my two week stint, I must say, Africa is amazing. Although I feel like an outsider when the native tongues come out, the warm hospitality from the families I’m residing with and the children at school is just heartwarming. Those children sure know how to display a gorgeous smile!
For some brief photos of my time so far, head to my Instagram.