Going to Ghana was a life changing, inspiring and motivational adventure. Living on my own for the first time in a foreign country was challenging but I’ve enjoyed the independence. Because of the great dependence on myself, I have grown in confidence and would feel positive in travelling again. Flying over Africa made me realise how lucky I am to have had such an experience; it’s not everyday that someone gets the opportunity to eat dinner overlooking electric storms and the Sahara desert.
It’s difficult to describe exactly what I have got out of my visit because it has changed me so much as a person. My opinions, cultural knowledge and ability to be self-motivated have been altered.
When I arrived I met Amdia; she was struggling to walk having suffered from delayed surgery of clubfoot. Later in my travels I was able to walk with her. Soon she was able to jog, and then eventually run which was fantastic to see! Moments like that are the reason I hope to study medicine to become a doctor.
I noticed that the children I met were much more religious than those I have met in the UK. The church is a big part of the culture and prayers are always said before and after dinner. Half way through my visit I attended Sunday morning church, which was more like a party than a mass! There was a fantastic gospel choir and band. Everyone wore their brightest clothes and clapped and danced along to the music. Until recently I was in a cathedral choir and the contrast between my choir and the gospel choir was quite outstanding.
I found the Ghanaian Nigella Lawson at the OTC. Her name was Vic and her cooking was incredible! When I arrived I had lunch with my mentor, Raphael, and Vic made us a lunch of chicken, rice and a tomato sauce; I instantly fell in love with the tomato sauce and begged her to show me how to make it the whole time I was there. Finally, on the penultimate day to my leaving she showed me how to make it. Her secret ingredient: ginger. Some of the apprentices from the workshop took me to the Bush Canteen; another experience I thoroughly enjoyed! The Bush Canteen is a makeshift weaved hut in the middle of grassland. The tables and benches consist of wooden planks balanced on rocks. The chefs provide the workers with soup and dough made from local starchy vegetables such as yams or cassava for 2.5 cedis - equal to around 72p. I think part of the reason why I loved coming here is that it brought the community together. I was curious to try all the local foods and learning about the food was very interesting for me. Much of the food was too spicy for me, but it did not stop me from trying it! Barbequed goat has become one of my new favourites, however I was not able to try cooking goat for myself as I was advised not to buy meats from the local market. I visited the market with Vic once – she showed me the best places to buy vegetables, oil and cloth for dresses. After this I was able to visit the market on my own. I think this is what contributed mostly to my boost in confidence as it was an unfamiliar area and I was very dependent on myself. I developed a new name in the markets – “broni” which is ‘white person’ in the local language, Twi. By the time I was due to leave I was responding to the name Broni.
I miss Ghana a lot and hope to visit there in perhaps a few years time. I was even tempted to pull out of university and go straight back to Ghana! I could imagine living out there for a while; I miss the simple things like all the geckos that run around the paths and the heavy rains in the mornings. I never thought I could feel so at home in a foreign environment in such a short amount of time.