Friday, December 27, 2013

Project G.R.O.W Reunion in Bolga!

Project G.R.O.W Goat Recipients
April 21st 2013 - Bolga

Well it’s been a while but we realized that we left all of you hanging… In our last blog entries we were all off in our small groups spread out across Ghana. Our trip and stories definitely didn’t end there so we wanted to write a couple more posts to sum things up. The Enchi and Kaleo girls braved Ghana’s wonderful transit system to join Muriel, Megan, and Tori in Bolga, situated in the Upper East of Ghana, close to the border of Burkina Faso. The Enchi girls did a marathon 17 hours of busing, covering the 700km distance, in order to be at the Project G.R.O.W. day celebrations in Bolga (only to turn around and head back to the coast a week later on another marathon bus trip that we’ll talk about in our next post!).

In the past few years the UBCO groups in Ghana have had the absolute privilege to be involved with Project G.R.O.W. and join in a yearly celebration and distribution of animals, bicycles, and mosquito nets at a village nearby Bolga. The G.R.O.W. stands for Ghana Rural Opportunities for Women and you can read more about this awesome organization on their website at Megan was heavily involved with Project G.R.O.W. in 4th year and continues to be involved in some of their initiatives. We had an AMAZING day out at the village. In total 33 goats were purchased through donations as well as 2 donkeys, 1 cart, and 2 bicycles. The first stop of the day was at the HIV positive community, made up mainly of women and children who are HIV + and have left their own communities due to either shame, rejection, or stigma associated with their diagnosis. We were all very happy to see a portion of the livestock and resources go towards this community. When we arrived to the community where Vida (who is currently completing her PhD
at UBCO) and her sister Philomena (Nurse and head of the health clinic in Enchi) are from, we were greeted with the most vibrant celebration we have seen yet. Our welcome came from a large group of women who began singing in unison with stomping and clapping as they slowly advanced towards our group until they were mixed within us singing, clapping, stomping, and dancing. In this region they have a very unique noise they make that sounds like a high pitched squeal-like call and then move their tongue back and forth really quickly. Crystal was surprisingly talented at making this sound, impressing even the locals! The bus ride back home was filled with the 10 of us trying to imitate and master the coordination of tongue movement and pitch, a hilarious scene if you can imagine it!

We were honored to be part of the celebration that our hard working UBCO colleges, Vida’s passion and Philomena’s dedication have allowed for. Seeing the amazing presence and strength of the women within the community due to the empowerment gained through financial independence is absolutely inspiring.

Happily reunited with all our ‘sisters’, we were all busy catching each other up on the adventures we had experienced as we drove back to Tamale. Returning to the city where we spent the first portion of our practicum, it was surprising how quickly we settled in to the Catholic Guest House and were overcome with a sense of familiarity and comfort. We made the most of our last days there seeking out our favourite street foods (rice balls and peanut soup for some, rice and beans for others, dough balls for everyone!), and visiting the markets and shops, navigating the once foreign streets with ease. One last Tamale late afternoon rain storm, a reminder of the approaching rainy season, dinner at our favourite pizza place, Mike’s, along with a last group reflection signaled a close to our final Nursing practicum.

Better late than never - Ghana Gals