Now that I am one week with my host family and started working, it begins to feel like home, and I am starting to get a daily routine. This is how my life in Ghana looks like.
My host family is very nice. I have a ‘ mother’, but she is about my age, and a father, and 3 children, a girl from 10, a boy from I think 7 and a girl from 3.
My host mother doing her hair:
My host father
My host sisters and brother
My mother is taking really good care of me. She gives me a lot of food, too much food! She tries to fat me. One day I got two meals for dinner! I told her that she is giving me too much food! I already have a big stomache now. My mother also proudly told me that there was one volunteer she had in the house, and the girl was slim when she came, and left fat. My father is a hard working man. Normally I only see him during dinner. In the evening he is a guard and during the day he sells at the market. I do not think he can sleep a lot. I have a lot of respect how hard this man is working! And still there is not a lot of money. For Ghanian standards I do not think this family will be poor, but in Holland they will be considered very poor. It gives a different view on dutch poverty and hard working. How spoiled we are!
The first day I got late from work, my father called me where I was. Then I felt really cared for, that was a good feeling!
The children are all very nice and it is a happy family. Besides my brothers and sisters there are also a lot of other children, because they live with their extended family, which means that more families are living in the same complex. Here are some pictures of the children around here.
Giving computer lessons to my oldest sister.
The girl who is afraid of me, the solemio
Oh, I forgot to mention grandma. She is also living here, and she is really sweet and funny. She can not speak English, but she tries to conversate with me. She is really a character, it is hard to describe. It is in the way she eats, the way she sits, the way she talks. She also has a big stick, and everytime an animal is annoying, she gets her stick and hits, hard. This is grandma in her sunday church suit. Grandma is katholic, but the rest of the family is muslim. Not a problem at al!:)
There is also a grandpa. He was outside the house and is not sleeping here, I do not totally understand where he is staying. Sometimes they call people brother of grandfather, while it is not their biological brother of grandfather. Still, the man has a good face to photograph, so here is a picture of grandpa.
The soup can be made of different things, like tomatoes and peanuts. I also had very nice beans, they are called Bambara beans and I had a sweet potatoe.
So I tried a lot of food! In the beginning you have to get used to it, because it is so different, but now I start to like it. You eat the food usually with your right hand. Eating together:
They eat really fast and very much! I do not understand how they can have such a good figure. Normally it takes me like 4 times as much time to eat half of the food they are eating. Every day after dinner we get fruit! We had a lot of watermelon and pawpaw! Today my mother get me even something like an icecream. So, you don’t have to worry about me having hunger!
The house is very different from a dutch house, It is best to show this in pictures.
The outside of the house
The kitchen, with my mother in it, cooking on coal
The washroom AKA place to urinate. You shower with a bucket. There is no toilet, so when you have to do the big one, you go to the bush bush. Also, there is no waterpipe, so the water is from a well. There is a lot of fetching water to be done.
There is like an outside place, where there are different rooms around. The whole complex is for different families. Every familie has their own outside space and the diffferent spaces are connected with small lanes.
Outside and inside of my room
A lot of animals walk around my house
We have our own Pawpaw tree
Working in Ghana is also different. You have to be very pro active to get anything done. People do not explain a lot. You do not have an introduction programme or something and you have to find out everything yourself. Even when you ask, you can get a vague answer. For example when I asked about the lunch, they said if someone is going you can order lunch. But the next day nobody was asking about it. Then I found out you should ask around, and then when somebody is going they can bring something for you. The office is not near an eatery, so you have to go by car or bike. Normally there is not one person going, but more and they get lunch for some people. You can just tell what you want to eat, and they get it, no problem. The good thing is that, even though people do not communicate a lot, they arrange it for you. They just do not tell you. But when you ask about it, you find out it is arranged. And also, everything is possible. When you are late and you are hungry, no problem, you can still have lunch. When there are too many people for one car, you just go with too many people in one car. The day I didn’t order lunch, I was invited to eat lunch with somebody. When people start eating, they sometimes invite you, and that means that you can join their food. Of course with your hands from the same plate! But yes, you was your hands beforehand.
View from the office
For the work I can join a colleague, who is going by car. He is the brother of my host father. The work is too far to go by bike. So I will even be more fat, because I get no exercise at all! When we go by car, we first set his son off at school. The son is really cute, I think 1,5 years old. He sits between the two front seats and always puts the airco on. The son is in a private school and it is good to see that there are good opportunities for hard working people.
The reason for the founder to start this organisation is because his sister was getting married at a young age and stopped school. They started the company without getting money for it, and now it is getting bigger and because of their hard work they are able to do more. My workdays are from 7:30 to 17:00 or 17:30, because I have to wait till the colleague I am driving with is finished. This week I had two days I joined colleagues to a rural area, to make photo’s. That was really nice. Only one day I had to wait more than 2 hours at the home, because the car was broke. The same car that was also broke the day before.
Girl in Boku West, a rural area we went to.
Well, luckily I was able to do a lot this week: I made photographs at two meetings (see: https://www.facebook.com/youth.harvest.partners.ghana/?fref=ts) and at two schools, I helped with SPSS, I explained a bit about photography and I made a poster for the smoothie bar. Everybody is really happy with my work, so than I am happy too! It is also good to see what a good job the company is doing. When we went to the field, I saw a lot of poverty and rural communities. My organisation want every child to be in school. A lot of girls do not go to school because they get pregnant, even as young als 12 years old! Than they have to take care for the kid. Or they are ‘sold’ for money, to marry a man. Families normally have a lot of children, and when they cannot feed everyone, they sell a girl. She than has to take care of the man, and maybe get pregnant, and cannot go to school. So the Youth Harvest Foundation wants to stop child marriage and educates about sex.
It feels really special to be part of a family and to work here in Ghana. It gives so much more inside in the country and the culture than when you just go travelling. Because all these new impressions, my story is rather long, and I have a lot of photo’s. So here are some more: