Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Two Chickens and a Bus!

Nyboko Chief
A huge piece of our practice in Ghana is creating and maintaining relationships with our partners and their communities. With this, comes a lot of meet and greets.

A day that really put this into perspective for us was when we arrived in Bolgatanga and needed to meet all our partners before we began our practice. We all loaded onto our trusty bus early in the morning expecting to go out for a few meetings. Around twelve stops and about nine hours later, we had met more people than we ever could have imagined. However, every person was a very important piece in relation to our work being done in and around Bolga. Included in these stops were 3 different nursing schools, our 3 rural clinic placements, a local government, the regional health director's office as well as 2 different Chief's Palaces. 

Nyboko Community at Work
Building Teacher Accomodations

One of the highlights of the bus tour was an unexpected stop at the primary school in Nyoboko. There were a few men building a teachers' residence with mud.  Vida took this as an opportunity to check in with the community and for us to learn and see how these men were working. A few of the girls also took this as an opportunity to teach the school children the chicken dance.  Another highlight of these stops was one of our meetings with the Nyboko Chief. We met him beneath a large shade tree where he greeted us in his local language and sat on a mat of cow and goat hide. This meeting ended with a gift of 2 live chickens. Jeanette was very excited to accept the gift, despite her crippling fear of birds. However she faced this fear and graciously accepted. We got them all tied up and they came along with us for the rest of the day. 

It was a long day, but at this point, we all understand the importance of making these connections and relationships. It becomes difficult, (not only for us but our Ghanaian colleagues) for us to show up to work without first making our first meetings and stating our goal and purpose of being here. It would be just as strange if a group of strangers showed up to our place of work in Canada without first establishing some rapport with us. We feel our practicum here in Ghana remains strong because of these connections and the importance we place on these cultural pieces.

Although these sorts of days have been long and tiresome for us, I know I will always look back on them with a full heart and remember the many people and interesting situations we have experienced upon meeting with our Ghanaian colleagues. 

By Mara 

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