Friday, February 15, 2013

My Sandema Experience

I love Sandema, and I’m not just saying that because we’ve been posted here on our project. I’ll be honest, upon arrival back in January I was a little dubious as to where the hell we were going as the tarmac roads turned to dust. But, after living here for the past four weeks I’ve grown to admire the small Northern town more and more each day.

It’s a friendly, generally quiet place with a small bustling town centre. The two main roads leading to the town are lined with trees setting an idyllic scene. School children scamper the street in their orange and brown school uniform, as motorbikes and tro-tros whizz up and down. When entering the centre you pass a large pond, which is apparently home to a number of hungry crocodiles – we didn’t have to travel all the way to Paga after all! Despite their presence it doesn’t stop some of the locals from taking a dip.

We’ve also discovered a number of watering holes and restaurants in the area hidden in the back streets of Sandema and in the market. Conifeh’s is our favourite spot, as mentioned in a previous post, where you can eat a delicious dinner for £1.00 or chill out and watch the African Nations. Paloma’s, located in the market is a close second, but has recently gone down in our estimations after we waited ages for them to go shopping for our drinks order. Our in-country volunteer Festus introduced us to two more drinking spots; Corner Bar and Quality. We’re looking forward to visiting these soon.

The thing I like most about Sandema is its community feel. Being ‘the only whites in the village’ we’re easily recognised and people often approach us to welcome us to their hometown. Plus, thanks to our project manager, Maxwell, we now have many contacts in the area from the chiefs to members of the District Assembly who always say hello… or ‘salut’, ‘cantwain’, ‘junway’ [sic] depending on the time of day.

It’s been interesting learning about Sandema and its neighbouring villages in the Builsa area. Without the help of Festus educating us on the local food, drink, shops and language we’d be lost! His full name is Festus Azewie Apiung, ‘Apiung’ meaning rock, by name and nature. Sometimes we wonder what we’d do without him.

Considering cultural exchange is important on this trip, I thought that I’d teach Festus a few Yorkshire words and phrases commonly used at home that he’s quickly picking up on. He now knows the following;

Hiya love = Hello
T’ra = Goodbye
Tar = Thank you

Y’alright? = How are you

He needs to work on his Yorkshire accent but he’s doing better job than I am at learning Buli! He now greets me with, ‘Hiya love, y’alright’, which makes my day every time I hear it. The next lesson will be an episode of Emmerdale.

- Jenna

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to say that I loved this post. Best one yet!