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Monday, 21 August 2017

FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD!



Here’s another blog for you! We aim to keep you updated on all things Kumbungu! This week I want to talk about FOOD. As we all know food is a very important factor in our daily lives. However, coming from the UK into the Ghanaian culture is not easy, the food is just one of the huge cultural differences I have faced. For example, luxuries are hard to find here in Kumbungu, or what I would call luxuries - things such as cake, chocolate and crisps! However, I have managed to find BISCUITS!. Our favourites within the office are shortcakes! Trust me when I say they don’t last very long around here, we eat them immediately. Within the office we often have discussions about the food we miss from home and this varies from fresh vegetables to pizza. The food I have tried so far includes TZ, banku, macaroni, fufu, yams, Rice balls, jollof rice, plain rice, a lot more rice and also I have found the food here to be quite spicy.  These typical Ghanaian dishes are often served with a soup to dip the dough into. My host family often laugh at me due to the fact I’m always asking for a spoon! It is common for Ghanaians to eat with their hands as they feel as though you can get a better taste from the food this is a cultural difference I have encountered as this is not how we do things in the UK. My favourite so far is a dish called macaroni! It is noodles in a spicy tomato sauce served with fried cheese. The fried cheese even has its own name! Wagashe! Another favourite within the office.

Image contains volunteers taking biscuits in the office. Picture taken by Naomi Stanesby
Written by: Hannah Bulleyment (UK Volunteer)
NFED - Kumbungu.
 

Monday, 14 August 2017

HOME AWAY FROM HOME

WELCOME TO OUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME

One of the big aspects of our experience here in Kumbungu, is the life within our host families. Moving to a new environment is both daunting and exciting. On arrival, you’re in unfamiliar surroundings and it takes time to get used to the new place.

Staying with my host family allowed me to be introduced to so many people from the community. They welcomed us with open arms, and I quickly felt more comfortable, secure and generally at ease with the new environment.

When I found out about my project I tried to read a lot about my destination’s culture and customs before arrival. But the only way to really get to know them is by experiencing them first-hand. Staying with my family, they have shared an insight into the local life of Kumbungu that other forms of accommodation simply can’t offer. It’s given me the opportunity to “live” in Kumbungu, not just visit it.

I want to share an insight of my home and family here in Kumbungu. I will give you a tour of our house, as well as share an interview my host sister and my partner to reflect on our stay here so far.
Let’s start the tour!

This is our compound where the whole family lives, includes the nuclear family and extended family, such as aunts, uncles and cousins. A total of eleven people live here, 13 with Chloe and I. There is always a lively atmosphere and neighbours and friends come in and out to visit each other. 

This is the interior of my host home. Picture by: Luisa.


 Chloe welcoming you inside our room. Picture by: Luisa

Taiba (an in country volunteer) and Chloe in our room.
This is where my family cooks. They cook over a charcoal fire; in the picture you see my host sister teaching me how to cook TZ, one of the main dishes in the Northern region of Ghana. It is dough made out of flour and water which then gets dipped into a fish, tomato soup.

Luisa trying to prepare TZ and being assisted by her host sister. Picture by: Chloe
Say hello to our host mum, Elizabeth and the Landlord of our compound, Ibrahim. Ibrahim’s dad built the house, he is now buried underneath the big mango tree you see in picture one. It was Ibrahim’s father’s wish to be buried there. He planted the tree and wanted to rest in peace where his grandchildren played. The family often relaxes and chats underneath it when the midday sun is too hot.
Meet my host parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ibrahim. Picture by: Comfort (my host sister).
This is Emily, our host niece, all dressed up nicely and wearing her most fashionable sunglasses for church, where the family gathers every Sunday. Going to church is a great way of socialising at the weekends and meeting the people from the community. The service is very nice and there is lots of singing and dancing, which is my favourite part!

Emily on her way to church. Picture by: Luisa

Interview with my host sister and my ICS partner.

Lets read the interesting interaction with my host sister, Comfort.

Interviewer (I): What did you hope to gain from hosting volunteers?

Comfort (C): Everything that comes with the experience that is gain able. If you have any skills to teach us, any training for us we would appreciate learning those.

I: Why did your family decide on having volunteers?

C: We decided to welcome you so that we can chat with you and also help you to get to know our way of life and our traditions. So we are hoping you can also gain and learn from living with us.  Whatever we have, we also want to give to you.

I: What aspects of living with volunteers have you enjoyed the most?

C: It is our first time of having new people in our home and we have enjoyed it a lot. We got to know each other and we get on well. We would like to remain in contact with you when you leave and hope to stay friends forever.

I: Have you learned anything from volunteers staying here?

C: You’ve told us a lot about your country, the British people and the lifestyle. For example, we hand-wash everything whilst you have washing machines. I know the food and water has been a challenge for you; the conditions here are very different compared to your home. 
Thank you Comfort!


Now lets us get to know how my volunteer counterpart is faring in the host home.

Interviewer(I): What do you hope to gain from living in a host family?

Chloe (C): To learn more about the Ghanaian culture and to establish good relationship with my host family

I: What did you think about living in a host home before coming here?
C: I was excited to live in a host home but I did have some concerns regarding food due to being a vegetarian.

I: What aspects of living in a host home have you enjoyed the most?

C: The food, the food is amazing here! Also I loved learning about the family life here in Ghana and the different family roles.

I: So have you learned anything from living with a host family?

C: The family life is very different than it is in the UK and there are different roles within the family. For example, marriage is very important, in the community we are living it is tradition that the person who wishes to marry a woman has to give some kind of present to the family of the women he wishes to marry. This gift can vary from different communities, in our village you give some kind of cattle like cows and guinea fowls. That is a tradition we do not have in the UK!

Thank you Chloe!
Meet Chloe and Comfort, our host sister- The characters in the interview above. Picture by: Luisa
I hope you enjoyed this little insight of our very different but fantastic life in Kumbungu. We are very fortunate to have the chance to experience living in such a friendly, fun and loving family. From the moment we arrived they treated us like we were part of the family. I am not looking forward to saying good-bye to them in five weeks’ time, but we are already planning a reunion for the future, whether it will be in Ghana or back in the UK. The phrase ‘home away from home’ is one that is used far too loosely by different accommodations around the world. While they may offer a homely atmosphere, they are not real homes. Living in a host family, on the other hand, is just that.  Despite the worries I had living with complete strangers, these strangers have now become close friends and I would not have it any other way. Staying in a host family, really is staying in home away from home.
Me trying my skill at balancing ports on my head which the locals seem to do so effort-less. "I will give you a hint, it helps if there is nothing actually inside the pots!" 🤣🤣🤣
Picture by: Chloe
Written by: Luisa Schumacher (UK volunteer at NFED- Kumbungu).

Friday, 11 August 2017

INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY - THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND

Team NFED and Team TradeAID - Upper East Region, Ghana
(Picture by Emilio Dellanzo)
International Youth Day 2017 is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace. The process of social inclusion for youth, including participation in decision-making as well as access to quality education, health care and basic services promotes their role as active contributors to society and affords young people with opportunities to reach their potential and achieve their goals.

Today we celebrate Youth, and how young people have the potential to change their present and future for the better. Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to be born rich, super intelligent or beautiful to inspire, you just have to believe in yourself and follow your dreams.
Allow me to share a brief piece of one of my favourite inspiring books:

The preparation was complete, so I waited. The muscles in my arms still burned from having worked so hard, but now I was finished. The machinery was bolted and secured. The tower was steady and unmoving under the weight of twisted steel and plastic. Looking at it now, it appeared exactly as it was – something out of a dream.
News of the machine had spread to the villages, and people were starting to arrive. The traders spotted it from their stalls and packed up their things. The truckers left their vehicles along the roads. Everyone walked into the valley, and now gathered in its shadow. I recognized these faces. Some of these people had mocked me for months, and still they whispered, even laughed. More of them were coming. It was time.
Balancing the small reed and wires in my left hand, I used the other to pull myself onto the tower’s first rung. The soft wood groaned under my weight, and the compound fell silent. I continued to climb, slowly and assuredly, until I was facing the machine’s crude frame. Its plastic arms were burned and blackened, its metal bones bolted and welded into place. I paused and studied the flecks of rust and paint, how they appeared against the fields and mountains beyond. Each piece told its own tale of discovery, of being lost and found in a time of hardship and fear. Finally together now, we were all being reborn.
Two wires dangled from the heart of the machine and gently danced in the breeze. I knotted their frayed ends together with the wires that sprouted off the reed, just as I’d always pictured. Down below, the crowd cackled like a gang of birds.
“Quiet down,” someone said. “Let’s see how crazy this boy really is.”
A sudden gust muffled the voices below, then picked up into a steady wind. It took hold of my T-shirt and whistled through the tower rungs. Reaching over, I removed a bent piece of wire that locked the machine’s spinning wheel in place. Once released, the wheel and arms began to turn. They spun slowly at first, then faster and faster, until the force of their motion rocked the tower. My knees buckled, but I held on.
Don’t let me down.
I gripped the reed and wires and waited for the miracle. Finally it came, at first a tiny light flickered from my palm, then a surging magnificent glow. The crowd gasped and shuddered. The children pushed for a better look.
“It’s true!” someone said.
“Yes,” said another. “The boy has done it.”

(W. Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer, 2009, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Harper Collins)

William Kamkwanba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger. But William had read about windmills, and he dreamed of building one that would bring to his small village a set of luxuries that only 2 percent of Malawians could enjoy: electricity and running water. His neighbours called him misala-crazy-but William refused to let go of his dreams. With a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks; some scrap metal, tractor parts and bicycle halves; and an armoury of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to forge an unlikely contraption and small miracle that would change the lives around him.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a book on the remarkable true story of a young boy who was denied the privilege of going to school, but refused to give up on his dreams. Written by William Kamkwamba himself and Bryan Mealer, it is a story that will inspire anyone to believe in their ability to better the lives of those around them and make a lasting impact.

William Kamkwamba is a perfect example of how young minds, who still have the courage to believe and chase their dreams, can change the world for the better. This book has been an inspiration to me and reminds me every day of how our greatest challenges are also our biggest blessings in disguise.
As a Team Leader in Ghana, working in an unfamiliar environment, managing a team of individuals from a mix of diverse cultures and backgrounds, challenges are inevitable. Rather than see these as obstacles, however, I have chosen to see these as opportunities for me to develop my leadership skills, thus improve my own personal development.

And the best part about being a Team Leader, thus having to constantly monitor the progress of team, is that I get to clearly see how everyone in the team grows and develops over time. Sometimes I see it before they even do, which I can’t help but smile at. I have witnessed communication skills, computer skills, research and reporting skills, presentation skills, cross cultural learning skills and teaching skills all improve drastically within the team over the last 5 weeks, and this excites me because it reminds me every day that this will have an enormous impact on the lives of those we work with here in Ghana, but also on their own lives and futures. And that is exactly why we celebrate International Youth Day, because what we do whilst we are young, will determine who we become in the future and the world we will live in.

Written by: Emilio Dellanzo (NFED- KUMBUNGU Team leader)