James has just returned from his teaching placement in Kumasi, Ghana. He writes:
'It was a long journey and heading out on my own was one of the scariest things I had done so far in my life. However arriving in Accra International Airport and meeting my contact, Francis, at arrivals went smoothly and before long I was on my way to my family house. The journey was not as relaxing as I had hoped as the road was not surfaced and we had a sermon that lasted several hours. However it did start to gear me up for what was to come, and I got my first real shock when I saw a man on the the side of the road with no clothes and just standing against a wall crying. We drove straight past on the bus and I thought to myself that people must see this all the time and that is why they do not appear to care.
That perhaps gives a bad view of what the people of Ghana were like, yes they were tough and they had to be to survive but on the other hand I have never been exposed to such a close and intense community spirit. The people really do look out for each other and you see it everyday when someone will give a hand to a complete stranger, not because the person has asked for it but because the they have noticed that they need help. This is not something that happens much in our society and though it was strange at first I quickly adapted and it was not long before I was helping push carts and even cars along the street when they got stuck or helping ladies carry water and baskets around the city.
My host family was lovely and I instantly felt like part of the family, I got on very well with their daughter who did most of the house work as in Ghana the younger you are the more you seem to have to do. Once I started school and the orphanage I just got immersed in it all. It was a long day starting at 6am to get to school on time and then finishing at 6pm when all the kids at the orphanage had been fed and were starting to get sleepy.
School was great, the teachers treated me well and I really got into my lessons making sure math’s was fun and teaching the kids music before school so they could sing new songs in assembly. We even went on a few school trips to play football and to a dance contest. The orphanage was hard, I was working with kids ranging from new born babies to 6 year olds. A lot of them were disabled in some way and everyone’s needs were different. Keeping everybody happy all the time was a full time job and I have utmost respect for the sisters and ladies who worked there every day.
It really was an amazing all round experience and I loved every minute of it. I am not ashamed to say there was a tear in my eye as I left. I will definitely be back to visit all the friends I made as soon as I can find the time. Its a cliché to say the words “life changing experience” but its true in every way and I think the thing I learnt most about in my whole trip was me.
James has been an excellent ambassador for Changing Worlds in Ghana and we cannot thank him enough for all his efforts and enthusiasm.
If you would like to contact James then do drop him a line to:
Do have a look at the Changing Worlds Facebook account where James has kindly sent us his version of the 'Banana Dance'! - makes for great viewing!