So week one almost complete and life in Ghana is in full swing; so far so good but it certainly has been a week of initiation to life out here. I have had to share my bed with rather too many ants and turn up to work on 3 consecutive days with bites all over my face, my laptop has fallen sick before me and become infected with some virus that has caused quite a few issues and I came within 4 feet of stepping on a boa constrictor in the dark a few nights ago which gave me a bit of a fright to say the least!
I think Ghana is probably the least hectic African country I have ever experienced and there seems to be relatively little hassle from the locals - when you say no, they just leave you but maybe things will be a little different when I am not under the wing of those that are experienced with the Ghanaian way. I am yet to see much of Accra but it seems fairly spaced out and not as busy as Nairobi which is good. There are quite a few abrunies (whites) around so you don’t get stared at like a celebrity as you walk along the road so no need to practice my cat walk.
Life at The Academy is great (www.righttodream.com - for those that are interested). It is based out in the middle of no-where, about 1hr 45mins north east from Accra. The countryside is beautiful - we are based next to a big river which is absolutely stunning. The best way to describe The Academy is really like a mini boarding school devoted to football. There are about 45 boys, aged 11 to about 15, who are all sponsored to be a part of Right to Dream. The boys all come from very deprived backgrounds and are selected on both their football talents and personal characters. They then spend 5 years at the school, after which they are obliged to go into professional football, further their education in America or develop a vocational career in Ghana. The ethos behind Right to Dream is that they are invested in to become the next leaders of Ghana and that it is their duty to return to the country to help the next generation. It has not yet been running long enough to establish whether or not it actually works but those boys that have left Right to Dream already seem to be doing extremely well so I hope that it does pay off - if it does then this could become a very popular new concept.
I work in an office at the school with some wonderful characters: Anna my boss (who isn’t like Alanis Morisette at all), Dr. George (the Headmaster - a wonderfully crazy Scot who is married to a Ghanaian) and John who actually is Ghanaian. I have a LOT to do already and am certainly going to be challenged to say the least! My work is very varied from managing fundraising relationships to redesigning our website to assessing the needs / developing a plan for a new health centre for the boys and the local community to use. I also do a bit of teaching and sit with the boys at meal times - little did I know that I would be dining with royalty every night as Prince Charles is on my assigned table (yes that is his real name). I am off to Sierra Leone in a couple of weeks to lead some training sessions for those involved in our football league that is used as a vehicle for social development amongst children - help! All very exciting though…
It is hot and sticky - a lot of sweating but bearable at the moment although it is only going to get hotter and hotter. Everyone has been incredibly friendly, welcoming and hospitable and you really feel part of the team from day 1. There are a lot more people working for Right to Dream than I had previously thought but that is definitely a good thing.
Hope that gives you a bit of an insight into life so far and hasn’t been too boring a read!
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