Since the inauguration of Donald Trump just happened a week ago, U.S. politics is now on air at every news channel. My stay in Ghana also gave me an insight into Ghana’s presidential elections.
I'm a 35-year-old woman, married. I’m selling plantain chips on the roadside. My husband is a contractor and therefore the main breadwinner. We have 3 children already, but my husband insists on having at least 6 more. I don't really want to have more children, but if I express that feeling my husband beats me and threatens to marry somebody else.
This is one of the identities, the participants of our sexual education seminar had to think themselves into. In our seminars, we always focus on Sexual Rights. The “Identity game” puts the participants in a situation where they have to identify the different ways one can be denied of his or her sexual rights, autonomously.
The women you see on the streets of Accra are loud, laugh a lot and are not afraid at all to fight with anybody, no matter man or woman. Women are important breadwinners for their families and play an essential role for the economy. They account for 80% of the subsistence economy in Ghana.
However, gender stereotypes are deeply rooted in the society and conservative structures can be found in most of the Ghanaian households: Within the ‘extended families’ women take care of the children and the typical house works, while men are typically the heads of the families and the ones making decisions. Violence against women, especially domestic violence is still an undeniably big topic in Ghana. And if we take a look at manager positions in big companies or seats in the parliament, what we see are mainly men. (Not to say that this is a typical Ghanaian Problem. Just take a look at Germany!)
In the younger generations some of these old-fashioned behaviors and ways of thinking are changing. But still, even in relationships of young people, most Ghanaian girls expect their boyfriends to buy them mobile phones and spend a lot of money on drinks and food. The guys in return don't hesitate to call or whistle at any girl walking by on the street, holding her arms firmly, even if she doesn't want it.
Closing the gap between the chances in life a man has, compared to those of a woman is one of the aims Boa Nnipa is working toward to. Through our seminars we give young Ghanaians a chance to take part in solving the root causes of problems in their society, rather the being the root cause themselves. In order to achieve this goal it is essential to create gender equality at work as well. In our last seminar we were therefore looking for two new women to team up with our two teachers Kamara and Nico.
Due to the experiences we had made with young Ghanaian women, being a bit close-lipped, uninterested and shy to talk about topics like sex, we were a bit skeptical at the beginning, whether we could really find two women who would fit our expectations. The six young women that took part in our seminar showed us that our fear was definitely
unwarranted. Most of them were really interested, actively participating in all the discussions and games and even had some prior knowledge on the topic. Although it is hard to describe what made
the difference, I can say now that the dynamic of this seminar was different compared to the other, where we had 5 guys and only one girl participating. With Mary and Augustina we have found two great new sexual education teachers who are really motivated in doing social work and therefore committed to work for Boa Nnipa for one year. Read their motivations here.
The great support of Kamara and Nico, who took responsibility for some of the topics made it much easier for us and is an important step towards our goal of personal sustainability and the independent work of the Ghanaian Boa Nnipa team.
It’s been three weeks since our new teams have started teaching. With double the amount of classes they have been able to reach out to 1700 children, just in one month. In these lessons it has already shown several times how important it is for the children to have one teacher of their own sex around to ask personal question. Especially the girls, who ask a lot of questions about menstruation, like to talk to Augustina and Mary personally, because they are mostly feeling shy to ask these questions in front of the class.
In the meantime Sammy and Agyengo, our two project coordinators, are diligently working on fixing dates with the schools to fill up the teachers schedules. Beside that, they have started to do an evaluation in order to get an idea of the level of influence our teachings have on the children. The Ghanaian bureaucracy and the educational system in general have complicated matters for them, time and time again. Read about this in our next blog!
We’re back in full swing after a joyful Christmas-and-New-Year’s-Break. Naturally, the end of the year is a time for self-reflection. Suddenly you feel the necessity of reliving moments of the past 12 months; The pressing urge of contemplating about the many ups and downs; And the indispensable need to ask yourself if some things could have gone better, or what exactly it was that made some moments seem so positive and rewarding, yet others so negative and shitty. In comes New Year’s Eve and with it the chance to do things right this time, to improve situations or pledge to continue following a successful path.
We as an organisation have also been doing our fair share of introspective and came up with two New Year’s resolution that will hopefully help to achieve our aims:
Evaluation One of those aims has always been to put quality over quantity. And though we set ourselves lofty expectation, in terms of the amount of students we want to reach out to (8000), we've always felt a stronger obligation to have an effective and sustainable impact on the (sexual-) life of a few, rather than scratching on the surfaces of many.
This sounds awesome on paper, but poses real difficulties in real life. It’s just that 'effective impact' is really hard to measure, given that we hope to entice a change of perception, or even behaviour, in very limited time. Still, we have realized that one of the measures we can take is - plain and simple - the good ol' testing of knowledge. We want to evaluate an adequate sample size of students and, through targeted questioning, hopefully find out if we have been able to transport our values and the basic sexual knowledge that we believe every human being in the 21st century should have. Albeit, this is not the answer to the riddle, it will give us a sufficient assessment of our teaching units and help to lay a foundation, on which we can build further evaluations. The results of the first round of evaluation will be released in early March, but don't worry you'll hear it here first.
Commitment After losing the services of Cliff and Evelyn due to job opportunities (I was tempted to write “the gruesome cold hands of the corporate world” ultimately deciding against it, because it might would've been a little bit over the top...well... there... I said it anyway) we found ourselves in a bit of a personnel shortage. However, due to the great efforts of our remaining teachers, Nicholas and Kamara, we we're able to keep our pace, finishing of the year – or two and a half month, I should say – in style: 17 schools, 69 classes, 2343 students, 3 zillion gallons of sweat, 2 five day seminars, 1 teacher training and masses of condoms!
Still, the fact remained that we were down two teachers and had yet to decide how we could effectively avoid further teacher dropouts. It was clear to us that, in order to find new teacher that would commit for a longer period of time, it was inevitable to minimize the factors that had led to Cliff and Evelyn leaving us. We had to accept, that applying the same standards we had set for ourselves (=voluntarism) to the economical situation over here in Ghana, just wasn't working. We had hoped that our teachers would find enough time beside their engagements with Boa Nnipa to do part time work and earn extra money, in order to satisfy their financial needs, but the truth of the matter is: there are no 400 Euro jobs, no BAföG and most of the time no financial support by the families, at least not to the extent where young people can go and follow their desire to be socially active.
To us, expanding the working hours to almost fulltime and increasing the teacher’s allowance to 300 Cedi (125 euro) serves as a good way to enable our teachers to fully commit to their developmental work for Ghana, without losing integrity, in terms of the social aspect being the primary motivation. Of course, we could have also gone the other way by cutting down the working hours and getting more people on board, but that in our opinion would have decreased the quality of our teachers and maximised the amount of energy we would have to spend, in order to get everything and everyone organized, up-dated and truly taken care of.
The tricky thing about new years resolutions is, of course, that they tend to be broken. But not this year... we promise!
Facing the winter break, it is time to look back on some challenging, work-intensive but nevertheless awesome three months of working with and for EBAN here in Ghana.This week our teachers went to their last classes before the exam-time begins and the students go on their Christmas- and new-years-holiday. So far we have reached out to more than 2000 students and spread our knowledge and values among them. In two one-week seminars we trained our four teachers as well as at least five multipliers and contact persons on the matter of sexuality and sexual education. We held our first workshop for school-teachers, formed co-operations and, together with our teachers and supporters, developed new ideas and plans to spread our knowledge not only in day-schools, but also within boarding-schools and church-groups as a part of adult education.
All in all, I would say that we have accomplished what we had planned for
and that looking back, we can be proud of what we have achieved as a team, the development each and everyone of us has gone through and of how we have grown together. Still, from January onwards, we will have to make some changes and improvements concerning our content as well as our structural work. On this note we’ll talk some other time though. It is also time to cherish the work our colleagues are doing back in Germany to keep our project going and to improve Boa Nnipa as a whole. Our team around Antonia, Nina and Matthias is - excuse my language - working their asses off to keep us going, to make us greater. And we are damn happy and even more proud to have them in our midst and about the awesome work they pull up beside jobs, university studies and the little time they have left for their private lives!
Lately, our team in Germany has gathered more people who support us with their knowledge, their skills and their time. We have designers, helping us with new flyers, info-sheets and appreciation cards for supporters, we have people taking care of our website and our various internet-platforms, nurses, assisting us with regards to content and many other people supporting us with all the “little” things. While we are spreading our knowledge and values over here, Antonia, Nina and Matthias are working to improve Boa Nnipa’s structure and efficiency, raise funds as well as awareness and share our ideas with like-minded people. For the past two months and the upcoming months until the end of February 2013, they have been (and will be) participating in a program called ‘start social’. This program, under the patronage of German chancellor Angela Merkel, supports young project-makers, NGO’s and socially engaged people to improve and professionalize their work by providing them with a team of professionals who voluntarily counsel those social projects. As we wanted, our coaches Maria and Arno are especially helping us to improve our fund raising skills, but they also help us to improve our structure and working efficiency in general. In weekly meetings the five of them work on the challenges we face. Antonia, Nina and Matthias are loaded with tasks they have to work on and complete until the following week. So far they have already improved our working structure in Germany as well as in Ghana, have made aim-oriented plans for the future and held a presentation in front of other ‘start-social’ participants.
I'd like to end with a word to our German team: We are truly excited to see what else you are going to do and achieve and we look forward to learn from you when we are back. And I can’t say it enough, even if you don’t want to hear it, we don’t take what you do for granted, we couldn’t imagine anyone better for the job you do and we can’t wait to have you here to finally show you what we and what you are doing all this for!
P.S.: We wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! And oh, we finally did get our passports back and we are allowed to stay – as volunteers! :)
On the way to the “Kwashieman Junction”, where we usually buy our foodstuff, we have to climb some stairs, which are all of different height. I don't know how this happened. There might be a deeper sense behind it, which I don't see. But it was most probably the sloppiness of the constructor.It doesn't matter anyway, because I doubt that anybody but us even cares.
Why am I telling you about the stairs? Because nobody cares! If it was only for the stairs, no problem. But just as unsteady as the stairs are, are the regulations and moods of many of the Ghanaian officials. And that's what we just had to learn the hard way and what this story is about: A word i just looked up in the dictionary and probably never forget: arbitrariness Actually it's also about boundless belief in authority, as a reason for the arbitrariness.
But just read it yourself...
Last week Jeff, Ragna and I had to go to the ministry of Immigration to extend our visa, which will expire in a few days. Jeff's application was approved, whereas mine, which was handled by another officer wasn't. As our current occupation we had stated “volunteer”. But apparently the lady didn't agree with that. Thus, she asked me to apply for a working permit, which would have been much more expensive and complicated to apply for. When we advised her on the fact that Jeff's application had just been approved, she certainly canceled it as well. That's how we started a discussion, given that everybody had told us different formalities and the homepage stated something else anyway. And then, at the moment they admitted that we actually are working as volunteers, the regulations changed again and even volunteers needed a working permit. I don't have to tell you the rest of the one hour discussion.
The reason why those officials can just set up their own rules and why we had to leave the office without an extension of our visa is the daily Ghanaian mantra: never question authority! But where does this boundless belief in authority come from? People might call it a typical African habit.
I thought about that and was reminded of some good manners like respect for the elderly, which are deeply rooted in the Ghanian culture: In most Ghanian families you can still be seen as a child, even when you are getting to your 30's. What still counts when you are talking to an elderly person is: obey! You've got a younger sister or brother? Good! Don't hesitate to send them around to buy something or wash your clothes for you.
Another thing that comes into my mind is the ex-cathedra teaching you'll observe in many Ghanaian schools. Children are not taught to ask questions, but to learn by heart what they are told by the authority, their teachers.
But then, the reason for it might be something totally different. I would probably have to write a dissertation to fully understand. Luckily, there is still some other work to do for Boa Nnipa and you won't have to read more explanation attempts of a political science student, who starts to miss her university.
But I hope, I was able to give you an impression of the problems we're facing here from time to time and the questions that come along with it.
We’re closing in on the end of week three since the official start of our sexual education project EBAN. It’s been an exhausting couple of weeks with lots of fun, some frustration, laughter and A LOT of sweat. So far we have been able to reach out to more than 1100 pupils. With dignity and little pride I now present to you some insights into the work of our beloved teachers.
One thing of great value for our work is the right atmosphere. We pride ourselves in creating an environment in which questions can be asked freely with no restrains or any double thoughts. Our teachers successfully picked up that mentality, courtesy of the very personal contributions by many pupils and the many funny moments we encountered.
Kamara jumps up and down, climbs chairs and sometimes even threatens to demonstrate the correct use of a condom on himself. I really think we’ve been successful in making pupils understand that this is not about random knowledge they need to learn in order to pass the next exam, but solely about them and their very lives.
The teachers actively participate pupils by encouraging them to try things out and assist when ever the need is apparent. The intention behind this is to dissolve fear and overblown respect for condoms, the pill, sanitary pads and other items associated with sexuality. Those things should come naturally.
We were able to see how well the information and general message provided by our seminar have stuck with our teachers. They do a pretty good job of bringing across the various information in an interesting and educative way. However, each one of them has a special topic on which he or she likes to emphasis on and an individual way of doing so. They created their own style, their own analogies and their own language, thus making it not only interesting for their listener, but also for themselves.
The „Charter on Sexual and Reproductive Rights“ forms the manifestation of our approach to sexuality and of course the way we go about sexual education. It practically hovers above everything we do in EBAN. During the seminar our teachers found a catch phrase that has become some kind of mantra ever since: Freedom of choice.
We’re getting there....
Two really exciting, wonderful and educative, but also quite exhausting weeks lie behind us by now. We are through with our first two sexual education-seminars. The first seminar, being held in Tuba, with and for our cooperation NGO Nima e.V., was already quite different due to the purpose we went there. Not to educate our own volunteers who’d be working for us, but to educate multipliers, such as teachers and social workers, who will now be contact persons on the subject of sexuality and especially sexual education in that community. At first nothing went quite as we planned it to be – there were far more people than we had expected, some of those we had expected were missing and close to nobody was on time. Nevertheless we had a really nice first day with lots of fun and got a first overview of what to expect within the following week. From the second day on, we had rearranged our time-schedule, compromised the content of the seminar according to that schedule and the group of participants had decreased to a steady number of four: Ayuba, whom we already introduced earlier on, Hickma, one of the social workers of Nima e.V. and “mother” of the attached Orphanage, Raf, one of the teachers of Günther Frey International School and Bridget, a 17-year old girl who said she participated in order to educate her friends, family and peers on the subject of sexual education, so they wouldn’t make the same “mistakes” she did. The seminar in Tuba was a very personal one, there was a lot of knowledge exchange, we shared experiences and ideas and discussed a lot. Controversial topics were for example prostitution, abortion, masturbation and especially homosexuality. But even though we had quite opposing opinions sometimes, we never really fought, nor had it an impact on the overall friendly atmosphere and most importantly we could agree on the right of individual choice. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that I was most impressed of how openly and easily the four of them spoke about sexuality and all the topics related to it, even though all of them said they had never done so before. Already during the seminar we discussed about how things would go on in Tuba. As of now the plan is to approach the elders and parents of Tuba first, before it comes to teaching the children in school. Ayuba, who is going to be responsible for the actions in Tuba, said he, together with his colleagues, will organize the next necessary steps and then get back to us for further planning. We have already scheduled a meeting for next week.
The second seminar, which ended only this Saturday, was different all together. Maybe it was because we were better prepared and less nervous, maybe we had more time, maybe just because it was a different setting and different people, but really the atmosphere was a different one. Friendly and very personal as well, but to me it seemed a little more professional – at least at times. Throughout the week we worked with a team of five, unfortunately with only one woman, as the other ladies who wanted to participate just didn’t show up:
Evelyn, a business administration-graduate and one of our closest friends, Bruce and Camara, both of whom are teachers at the Günther Frey Int. School in Tuba and whom Muda released from their duties for a period of six months in order to work with us, Nicholas, who actually is an electric engineer and also stays with us and Cliff, who already helped us with organisational stuff before the seminars even started. Within the six days we talked about and worked on the topics of anatomy, pregnancy and birth, puberty as well as safer sex and family planning. We focused on sexual rights and how to interact with the children, especially on how to create an atmosphere in which the children feel comfortable to ask whatever question might arise. Our team created teaching-concepts and working materials for the classes 5 and 6 as well as for classes 7-9. The test-teaching on the last day of the seminar went quite well, but of course there still is some room for improvement. But then on the other hand, where isn’t?! So we’ll be working on the last problems until next week and the rest will surely come with time. Practice makes perfect.
What I was really surprised with, especially after the seminar in Tuba, was that our opinions on sensitive topics, such as homosexuality, hardly differed. On the other hand we had quite controversial discussions on the topic of abortion and especially one about the role of woman (in a relationship), where we really didn’t get to one point. Still, I was impressed of how generally smooth all discussions went, of how similar our opinions and ideas on and of the different topics were, of how easily, openly and honestly everybody talked about all of those topics, even in spite of some religious and/or cultural differences. All in all I would say, that we have a wonderful team now and great time ahead of us.
We already told you about our first meeting with Nima e.V. where we discussed our future cooperation. Nima e.V. is located in Tuba, a small Muslim community which is part of the outer districts of Accra. By now we already went there about three times and it is going to be much more in the upcoming weeks. On our first trip we just wanted to have a look at the community and get some impressions of the work Nima e.V. is doing over there.
Actually there is not much to tell about Tuba. It is a small village, the community seems to be a bit poorer than Accra and instead of churches you see a lot of mosques around. There are two schools in Tuba, one is sponsored by Nima e.V. just as well as a crèche and an orphanage. Muda, whom we met on our first meeting with Nima e.V and who is also the headmaster of the „Guenter Frey International School“ told us, that Tuba was founded by only one family that came from the mostly Islamic north to Tuba to found their own Muslim community over there. This is why everybody knows each other and most of the families in Tuba are all related somehow.
Muda himself is a Muslim as well, but he really changed the very conservative community within the last years.
At first this idea wasn’t received too well. Ayuba, who started to bring up the subject at the school, had to face quite a lot of parents telling him that he was a bad teacher who had nothing in mind, but spoiling their kids. Muda was blamed for the same reason and was even told to leave Tuba by parts of the community. But he didn’t give up and kept on talking to the people. Through this he did not only improve the religious tolerance within the years, but also changed the perception on sexual education.
I wouldn’t say that the Tuba people were eager to have their children receive sexual education, but at least they were open to listen to us presenting Boa Nnipa, our project and the idea of holding a sexual education seminar to their social workers.
This presentation was held at their monthly Parents-Teachers-Associates-Meeting (PTA) a few days ago. Before we faced that small challenge, we spoke to the teachers of the school several times, gave them a final rehearsal of the presentation and received some feedback on delicate issues, things we had to explain more comprehensively.
On the very day of the PTA-Meeting I was quite excited thinking of the presentation I was going to hold. Sure, I have spoken in front of bigger crowds, but this time I knew from the beginning that their thoughts about what we were going to present were rather sceptical. Beside that, I couldn’t be sure whether my young age would be a reason for the parents to not respect me as somebody to talk to them on that matter, somebody to give them advices.
But in spite of these worries the whole presentation went quite good. Unfortunately some parents had already left the meeting because our presentation was the last point on the agenda. But Muda insured that, due to the close relations of all the families, the news of us coming to Tuba were going to spread very fast. We didn’t get a lot of direct feedback, but I saw much more nodding than sceptical faces among the crowd. Some mothers were even muttering about those poor women who had left the meeting earlier and missed our presentation.
Sammy’s Ghanaian way of presenting: much louder, with more gestures, emotions, but yet very explicit, did reach them probably better than what I said, I have to admit. But me, talking in English could just as well be the reason. Most of the parents are only familiar with Twi and some other local Ghanaian languages. Therefore the Twi/English translator, who was one of the parents himself, was even more important. Muda too, was there the whole time to underline the things we said to make them more clear to the parents.
The seminar at Tuba will start this coming Monday and is scheduled for 6 days. Until then we’ll be busy with the preparations. With just one Sunday in between, we will then go on with the seminar for our own Boa Nnipa volunteers.
(f.l.t.r. Sammy, Jeff, Carla, Ayuba, Ragna)
A little insight into our Ghanaian life: Imagine you are far, far asleep, somewhere between neverland and paradise when suddenly, your phone rings – at 5.30 in the morning. In Germany I’d think it is either an emergency, or, and that’s probably more often the case, I’d curse the one calling because he/she is drunk dialling me, wanting to tell me the latest party adventures and therefore denying me my sleep. But here in Ghana it is most possibly just a friend who wants to know how and what you are doing. Who just wants to know that you are fine – at 5.30 in the morning. And surprisingly this habit, calling people at any hour around the clock, just to ask whether they are ok or not, doesn’t even get me angry or annoyed, at least not anymore. It really used to, but somehow this time it’s different. This time I feel ok when friends, friends of friends, uncles, aunties, grandfathers and other distant relatives, that are not even mine, call me at whatever ungodly hour of the day. Somehow I even learned to appreciate it, to embrace this habit, to just answer whatever their question might be, to then fall back to sleep and call them back whenever I am done with what I was just doing, whenever I finished dreaming what I was just dreaming – just as they requested. And of course I could easily avoid those calls by just switching off my phone at night, or at least turn it to silent mode, but then again why should I?! Isn’t it nice to have people thinking about you, people caring for you and just letting you know at the exact moment they do?!
Imagine further that you can travel an entire country without having to worry about where you might spend the night. Imagine that there is always somebody to care, somebody to help you out and someplace you can call home. Welcome to Ghana. All of us have spend quite some time in Ghana by now, all of us have travelled here and there, but all of us, Carla, Jeff and me, are still amazed by the overwhelming hospitality that you get to experience over here. Last week the three of us made a short trip to attend a festival in Cape Coast, to meet Jeff’s grandpa, aunties and cousins in Sunyani and on the way we greeted a friend in Kumasi. Never did we even have to think about where to sleep or where and what to eat – because in Ghana it is all taken care of.
We got a free ride from Accra to Cape Coast with a friend of a friend of Jeffrey’s uncle. Uncle Mike then proceeded to introduce us to his friend Nii and his wife Barbara. And here, in their house, we’d spend the following two nights – breakfast included; and so would have been all other meals if only we had wanted them to be. Instead we went to eat at Uncle Mike’s house, where we were welcomed with a really nice, and (of course) way too big portion of freshly pounded fufu. And while we enjoyed the festival, celebrated and made new friends, watched girls play against boys in a basketball game and stayed out late, there was always somebody waiting for us to come home. When we left for Kumasi, Barbara was just about to pound fufu for us that we unfortunately never ate and Nii offered us to come and stay with them whenever we wanted to come back to Cape Coast, because “this was our home now.”
Arriving in Kumasi we got picked up by Kwame, a friend of our friend Evans, who was still at work/at church doing some business. When he finally got home, we went out to enjoy some really nice food before we went to sleep in his bed, while he preferred to take the couch. After a longer than expected busride from Kumasi to Sunyani, nine calls within 30 minutes and a little confusion about where to drop from the bus, Jeffrey’s grandfather, widely known as “Opa” picked us up from the bus station to drive us home. And even though I had never met any of the people awaiting us at the family house, I was welcomed just as if I would come and go on a regular basis. And this hospitality, that comes so naturally, is what I like about Ghana so much, what I like about Ghanaians so much. Ghana makes you feel at home wherever you are from and wherever you are going. Ghana’s people will take care of you, they will give you their bed, their food, their smiles, their knowledge, they will take you out and show you around, Ghana’s people will do everything to make you feel comfortable, to make you feel at home without ever really expecting to get something in return.
Yesterday was a great day for us. It was the official start of our project work - well, at least the official start of our project preparation. We had a meeting with Muda, Ayuba, Niva and two of their social workers from Nima e.V.. Their school (One Love School), orphanage and Kindergarten are based in Tuba, a community just outside of Accra.Over the last couple of years Muda and his team have really gone a long way improving the conditions and education of the children and teenagers of Tuba. Faced with a lot of adversity he and his social workers have managed to earn trust within the people of Tuba and feel like they’re ready to address a certain issue: sexual education.
Our friend Niva, who is a „Weltwärts“-Alumni just like Carla and Ragna, arranged a get-together with her friends and colleagues. We had fruitful discussions about the importance of sexual education, the acceptance among people and experiences that related to this topic. Though our views on sexuality as a means of self-determination may differ, I’m convinced that this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship.
As a result of our meeting we are fortunate enough to cooperate with Nima e.V. and launch EBAN at One Love School school. Not only will we be able to transfer knowledge, thus train possible multipliers, but this will also give us the opportunity to make our first steps with the helping hand of people that know their way around this specific area.
There is nothing like leaving the plain after an exhausting ten-hour flight.Then comes the wall. A wall of pressing closeness. That muggy air that makes you understand: I’M BACK. All anxiety makes way for genuine excitement. Joy. You start to think about all the adventures ahead of you. You reminisce about all the adventures long gone....
Not this time, though! This time was different all together. My two companions (Ragna & Carla) and I had that same weird feeling. It was a feeling very similar to arriving at your home airport after a long trip out. A weird mixture of familiarity and excitement. Not to say we are not excited about Ghana our friends and family, the food and the many new faces we will meet. But with finally arriving here – at the point, which we have been working for the last 10 months – I realize that there’s a new focal point. We are not there solely for our selves; not here to consume but to create; not here to experience joy, but to initiate it.
I guess it took the wall to make me really understand.
From now on you will constantly find posts about Boa Nnipa's processes from both Berlin and especially Ghana. Equipped with a new camera I will try to give you as many good impressions of our project as possible - the people we are working with, the children we are educating, the places we are visiting and the daily Ghanaian life. There are just 8 days left for Ragna, Jeff and me (Carla) to set out for Ghana to start EBAN, our first project. For more Information on BoaNnipa, the Team and our Project EBAN check out our homepage:www.boannipa.com
It's the day of the last team meeting. The important documents were already handed over to Nina and Antonia who are going to stay in Berlin to represent Boa Nnipa over here.
Right now we're into some group work, writing the new Newsletter, refining the letters for possible sponsors and settling a preliminary To-Do list for the next 7 months in Berlin and Accra.
My mind is already in Ghana, though. The people I said goodbye to used to ask me whether I am anxious or afraid of going to Ghana for such a long period. Since I already stayed in Ghana for one year and really enjoyed the time, I have no reason to be afraid. And somehow anxiety doesn't explain the feeling, either.
Actually I am really excited about going back, although I'm quite sure that I won't realize being back, before I smell the Ghanaian air while leaving the plane, hugging my friends or eating the first Ghanaian orange.
The challenges we're facing with EBAN, the people, the food, the sun, the new form of self-reliance and hopefully, at the end of our stay, also the feeling to have changed something. Those are the things I'm really looking forward to.
All the pending things that still have to be done before our departure seem to be nothing but ballast, cause they're distracting me from fully concentrating on the coming seven month.
If it was for me, we could leave right now.
But picking up the visa from the embassy, shopping the last presents for my Ghanaian friends, and -most important- another last sexual education seminar with Daniela from Balance are things that need to be dealt with . Next time you'll hear from us we'll probably already be in Ghana. So stay connected!