I have arrived in Ghana safe and sound!! I am currently in Koforidua (Kof-town). Kof-town is where we will be staying for the duration of the project. We were lucky enough to spend a few days in Accra, the capital (and largest) city in Ghana. It is a very typical big city with busy roads, tons of people, restaurants, and bars. Yes, it even has plumping and electricity! It was interesting to see how Westernized big cities are, even the ones in Africa! At the same time, Accra feels very much like Africa. Women walk around with baskets on their heads and children on their backs. Many little children run around bare foot, they are very friendly and affectionate.

Obviously, as a Caucasian Westerner, I stick out. Our group gets a lot of looks but also many friendly greetings. It is always a strange feeling to be the “minority” wherever you go. I have a little glimpse into what many people of visible minority feel like everyday at home.

The standards for cars, roads, cleanliness, plumbing, and electricity are very different then they are in Canada. I could not imagine driving in Ghana. It would be terrifying. There seems to be unspoken/unmarked rules of the road that include a lot of horn honking, yelling, and gesturing. We took a lot of taxis in Accra. They are fun as you are expected to barter for the price. It seems that no matter the distance you always end up paying 3 cedi (Ghanaian currency, 1 USD= 1.5 cedi), which I found quite hilarious!

One of the most obvious differences between Ghana and Canada is the weather. It is always hot in Ghana. It is the “rainy season” in Ghana right now but it still has not gone below about 27 degrees celsius. It is very difficult to get used to being hot all the time!

At this point we have not yet started our project; we went through orientation this week. We are learning a lot about Ghanaian culture and our upcoming project. I am very excited to get started! Our project will mostly be focused on Good Governance and Education. This is to encourage youth to become active citizens in helping to shape and change their government. We have also met with a number of YCI’s key partner organizations including  CIDAYES, and YMCA.

Katelyn in front of the YMCA hostel in Accra

- Katelyn McAuliffe, Youth Ambassador, Ghana 2011. Katelyn is currently volunteering on project with YCI as part of a six-week project in Ghana. Katelyn and her group will be working with the YCI-YMCA Mentorship program to host a Youth Skills Summit, and will be working with local Assemblymen on good governance and active citizenship initiatives. Katelyn arrived on project just over two weeks ago; read about Katelyn’s first impressions of Ghana and how she’s spent her first weeks in the field on her blog: Katelyn in Ghana

For more volunteer blogs, check out our Travel Diary category.

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