During my 12 months in Ghana, I will be at the John William Montessori School to be active in Kumasi, Ghana.
Arrivals - 09/02/2018
After a full day at the airport and in planes, we finally landed in Accra around 19:30, one hour late. The first thing that suits you from all directions is a friendly " Akwaaba ", which means "Welcome" in the local language Twi. I noticed that I had too much unnecessary luggage at the airport when I had to work my way from baggage claim to the exit of the airport with my two suitcases and rucksacks.
At the exit, we were warmly welcomed by Kate and Martha, two of our trusted people from ICYE Ghana.
While we waited for the other volunteers who will arrive on the 25th, the two of us brought a few words to Twi and we added a few words of German to them so that the waiting time flew by.
Finally, when we were complete, we went to the hotel together with a specially chartered TroTro (a type of sprinter that was converted into a bus), which will be our home for the next 6 days.
The next day we had in addition to the common breakfast (white bread with salad and omelet) and lunch (rice with vegetables or burgers with fries - so our stomachs are not directly overwhelmed with the hot Ghanaian food) a lot of free time: Since the actual program of, After all, Arrival Camp could not start until all the volunteers arrived, and most did not arrive until Sunday evening, we just played a few introductory games and spent the rest of the time at leisure. So we could arrive in peace and get to know the volunteers we did not know before.
Arrival Camp -09/02/2018
On Monday morning the actual arrival camp started because now all volunteers were there. We are a total of 22 volunteers - one from French-speaking Switzerland, two from Austria, four from Finland and 15 from Germany.
In the four days of intensive preparation, we learned a lot about the country Ghana and its culture, for example, dance to the song Akwaaba (video can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/icyeghana/videos/2223498621265347/ ) or the Top10 Travel Places in Ghana. We even received our own naming ceremony from ICYE Ghana, where each of us was "baptized" into his Ghanaian name and was properly welcomed to the country. In Ghana, everyone gets a Ghanaian name, depending on the day of the week on which they were born. Since I was born on Fridays, my Ghanaian name is " Afia ", for example.
In a multi-hour Twi class, we've done our best to learn the basics of the language, but it's not easy to master a completely new language in such a short time. However, the phrases we could remember now are used proudly whenever a situation arises.
During the week, we also all went to the immigration office together to get and fill out all the necessary documents so that Kate could apply for a 6-month or 1-year visa when our tourist visa expires. In addition to a Ghana non-resident card, a kind of Ghanaian ID card, which we were issued, we were also sanitary once checked, before we all made a fortification together with the Trotro on the way home.
The rest of the time in the Arrival Camp was at our leisure: We talked a lot, played cards, went shopping together with Maritha Obst or simply just grabbed to recover from the many new impressions.
Last night most of us hosted a spontaneous closing party, where a lot of dancing took place until late at night.
In summary, I had a great first week here at the Arrival Camp, where I learned a lot of useful things, made many new friends, and thanks to the ICYE Ghana team felt safe and very welcome in our new environment.
Meda w'ase! (means Thank you in Twi)
Arrival in the project - 09/02/2018
On Friday morning we started the project.
After breakfast, the twelve of us who will be accommodated in Greater Kumasi, together with the trotro and all our luggage, drove into Accra, where we then switched to a VIP bus that will take us to Kumasi. The VIP bus definitely lives up to its name, as the seats look more like comfortable cushioned armchairs and you have a lot more leg room. Only the film selection (it is always shown a small screen on the ceiling always a movie) is a bit strange and definitely getting used to.
Arriving at the terminus we were picked up by Michael, one of our project contacts, and taken to the John William School, where we first got to see our rooms.
We live in a small apartment with the Boarderschülern, which we have at the moment for ourselves alone, but from Monday to share with the boarding mum and the younger boarding school children. From Monday we will probably also each have their own small room here, at the moment we always share one with two.
The director of the school, which is called by all only "Grandma" or "Nana", currently has a visit from a friend from San Francisco, which even had its birthday on Saturday. Therefore we were allowed to go to Kumasi with her and Stella, a young Ghanaian who helps at the school, to go shopping and to a supermarket. In the evening we celebrated with delicious food and a birthday cake.
We were welcomed by all the people at the school, and whenever we had a question or problem we could contact them and help us quickly.
Children are not there at the moment because the school starts on Tuesday, which is why the border students will arrive on Monday.