Written by CorpsAfrica/Ghana Volunteer Mr. Victor Annani Togborlo (Dreams)
A community far away from the population and the deafening noise of the city.
The cold breeze at night in the calmness of a small community.
The warm but pleasant breeze that ushers you into a new day and the freshness of the air that connects you to real nature.
The beautiful scenery to behold from my house, on top of the mountain.
The reverence of the people pierces through every act, even greetings.
The busy morning – community folks hurrying to catch up with activities that constitute their bread-and-butter issues.
A palpable love that is exuded by everyone towards the other is shown even in the affectionate greetings among the people.
Change, they say, is scary in the beginning, messy in the middle, but beautiful at the end.
The last two months have made me appreciate this saying even more. In everyone’s life, certain episodes do not need to be written in diaries, because the experiences thereof are by themselves, capable of leaving indelible marks on one’s memory.
Two things struck me on the eve of my arrival in the community – the calmness of the community and the heights of the buildings. From the outside, the buildings looked just about my height. For a volunteering experience that would last for months, I wondered if the short buildings would create any inconveniences, like high temperature. However, my worries were settled the moment I got into my new room on top of the mountain, overseeing the community. The buildings only appeared short from the outside and had an awesome architecture.
The fun-filled communal labor that is invariably characterized by teasing one another at the least provocation, crowned by the excitement when the designated cooks arrived with the meal and climaxed with the traditional songs that convey the energy needed to last the long hours of labor for the day.
The sounds of the birds, often very clear without noise interjections, makes you appreciate the ecosystem as it is designed by the Creator. All these and more can be found in a community full of rich culture. It is a perfect environment to live a stress-free family life while being in touch with nature and culture.
The cultural details that we often pay less attention to in our cities, are sacrosanct here.
Growing up, I have always been conscious of the fact that we, the millennials and the GEN-Zs, paid less attention to many of the details in our cultural heritages. However, never did I imagine that I was growing half-fit into the culture of a region I hailed from. There was so much awkwardness when I realized that I could not exchange greetings to the fullest length as defined by our tradition. That was enough to ruin my day.
But let’s talk about the Senior High school in a few words, a place I spent some valuable time at. Aside teaching elective mathematics and core mathematics in third year and second year General Art classes respectively, I facilitated the formation of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) club in the school. My thanks goes to the resource persons who heeded to my call and had their turns in impacting members of the club in diverse ways. I love it when students and teachers are open to new ideas and receptive to the bone.
I came across a boarding Senior High School with no resident teacher; not even the headmaster had a bungalow on the school campus. Students, boys and girls, between the ages of 16 to 22 are left on their own after the day’s teaching. Learning ends for teachers at 3:00 PM. The weekends can best be imagined than to be told. Of course, teachers have no place in the weekend stories – they would be in their homes, far away from the students. By the way, there is no computer in their computer lab.
Upon spending the first few days in my new space, my itchy fingers had already put to draft, write-ups with varying experiences and encounters awaiting proofreading and onward publication. It however wasn’t long before I realized that many of these write-ups are better off left as drafts on my laptop than become online accessible contents. In hindsight, I believe whatever pricked my conscience and averted my mind to the fact that I may goof by publishing, did a lot of good to me. In my ignorance, the hasty conclusions I had about my observations at the time would have looked rather too awkward online today. Perhaps, the saying, “A hunter does not say it all” carries more than it appears in text.
As I close chapters of this phase of the volunteering experience, I must confess that I have never been more conscious about my culture than I have been in the past two months. I definitely have more to learn, but I really appreciate the added value over these two months. A big thanks to all persons and institutions that made this possible @mastercard foundation, @corpsAfrica.