It’s been two weeks since I have left my comfortable home in Toronto, Ontario, to pursue my passion of working in the field of international development. My five years of studying what Development is, how it came to be and the major theories behind how exactly things can be solved has brought me to this point. Ghana. I had heard it was one of the most vibrant countries in the world; known for its friendly faces, beautiful beaches and of course, the Azonto. Ghana has exceeded my expectations so far.
I knew that once I arrived and started planning and implementing the various projects on substance abuse, entrepreneurship and sexual reproductive health it would be nothing like I had imagined or even practiced in the classroom. I was right! Every day has been a new undertaking. My partner volunteer Marlee and I have completed a manual on Substance Abuse in Ghana for the YAG (Youth Advocates Ghana) to use for future outreach, as well as started conducting workshops in junior and senior high schools. What we thought would be a small class of 20 or 30 turned out to be nearly a whole school! Nerve racking at first, we dove in with open minds and the support of our YMCA peer mentors.
By the third workshop my confidence had grown and the kids made us feel more then welcome. It has been overwhelming at times being the object of stares and laughter, however the hospitality in Koforidua is outstanding. Whether it is running around the corner to grab some fresh mangos or walking through the city to explore the market, Ghanaians are always glad to help or just stop for a quick chat. I think I can get used to this place.
– Leigh Matassa, Youth Ambassador, Ghana 2013