Earlier this Month, May and Alec transitioned to working in Koforidua. Here, May reflects on her first week in Koforidua.
Last week we said goodbye to Takoradi and the friends and colleagues we worked with over the last 5 weeks. It was quite sad for me to leave and say goodbye to a city that I became accustomed to and really grew to love. But the upside is that we are fortunate to be able to work and experience a different city. Most YCI teams only work in one city for the duration of their time but since it’s only myself and Alec, our 12 weeks were divided between two regions.
Koforidua is a different experience for me in a couple of ways: compared to Takoradi, Koforidua has a much cooler, wetter climate receiving some of the heaviest rainfall in the country. Since its land locked between 4 other regions, there is no coastline or beaches like in Takoradi but instead the region has a beautiful mountainous landscape known as the Obuo Tabri mountains, waterfalls and stretches of greenery to offer. We plan on going for morning hikes very soon as part of our ‘daily exercise’ that we don’t seem to do as often as we intend to.
Another big difference about our experience in Koforidua is our accommodations. This time around we are staying with a home-stay family, a wonderful woman named Naana Anima, her son, mother and baby daughter. I was a bit apprehensive at first about staying with a family because I had never experienced it before and didn’t really know what to expect. But from the minute we were introduced to Naana Anima, she has been lovely and warm, instantly welcoming us as part of the family.
Through the home-stay arrangement we’ve been able to see a side of Ghanaian culture we surely wouldn’t have been able to experience on our own. Naana Anima is a great cook and over the course of 1 week we’ve already eaten many different local dishes as well as ones we’re familiar with such as Banku with Tilapia and Okro, ground nut soup, Ampesi with stew.
Banku is cooked fermented corn dough and cassava dough which is slowly cooked on a low heat for 20 minutes or more until it becomes thick and stiff. We helped Naana Anima prepare it last weekend along with Tilapia and Okro stew – really delicious. Monday was also a national holiday in Ghana, Republic Day (which happens to coincide with Canada Day), so we decided to celebrate Ghanaian style and we visited Boti Falls situated in a village called Boti in the Manya Krobo district, about 17 km away from Koforidua. This week has been spent preparing for our first HIV awareness workshop on Friday in Suhyen Jr.High School (pronounced SUSHYEN). The workshop went well based on the feedback we received from the teachers and the fact that we were able to deliver all the material and activities we had planned in the 2 hours we were given.
The coming week will be a busy one as we prepare our work plan for our first peer educator workshop at Mile 50 JHS and the HIV teaching manual for the teachers and students to use for future workshops and lessons.
–May El Ali, Youth Ambassador, Ghana 2013