project review

Tro Tro here, Tro Tro there

Review submitted by Sarah Gilbert
Review date 3 May 2016

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After an incredibly long day travelling, five hot and bothered people stumbled through arrivals at Accra airport. That would be us - Mel, Gemma, Adam, Matt and Sarah. Immediately we were jumped on by all members of our host family, and enveloped into numerous hugs and introductions all round. Also meeting us at the airport was the Frontier live-in project co-ordinator, Lottie, who is helpfully here to guide you through the trip. I think all of our first impressions were blurred by the heat, when you step off the plane it takes you a minute to realise you aren't actually stood in-front of the engine - Ghana really is this hot!! We were bustled into a taxi with what seemed like hundreds of suitcases, and off we headed to the village. After dragging suitcases over the uneven ground (which we now call the Terrain of Doom) in the pitch black, we unpacked and collapsed into our bunks!

The host family are lovely, very welcoming and friendly. Naturally there are cultural differences. However, part of the experience is learning to overcome these and embrace an alternative way of life. The house we stay in is at the top of the village and has more than enough space to accommodate all of us, plus extras! There is a Western style toilet and a wet room that always has plenty of water for everyone to wash with, and as for the food - do not be afraid to try as the meals we have had have been delicious! The people in the village are very welcoming too, especially the children! We are now all accustomed to children running up to us shouting "Obruni!" over and over. It simply means "white person", and is not offensive, just curious! The local language is Twe and we have picked up parts of the language very quickly, although sometimes our pronunciation leaves a lot to be desired!

Within the first few days we were introduced to the staff at all of our placements, which include a health centre, a school and a school for the deaf, a hospital, and an orphanage. The magnitude of what we can offer definitely hit home, and we left anxious to begin our placements. Our first achievement was getting up at 5am and going to the Orphanage to help bathe and dress the children ready for school. In no way was this task easy, we all struggled - but then you do not choose to go on a development mission to breeze through it!

In our free time we have travelled down to a village to look around a bead market. We learnt how to barter, bought some Ghanaian jewellery, and the girls got several marriage proposals! We also spent a lazy afternoon in a botanical garden, which was beautiful, and tasted local beer in a few bars.

Daily life here is different. There isn't really a sense of time. We all wake at around 6:30am 7:00am, usually to the sound of a rooster and the corn miller beginning his (very loud) work for the day. We don't expect anything to happen quickly, the pace of life is relaxed and often slow. For example, waiting an hour for a Tro (the local mini-bus) to travel to Accra is normal. Goats and chickens will wander up to you freely, and everyone stops you to ask you how you are. Enjoy it, we are!


Read more about our Ghana Orphanage, Teaching & Community project