Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Our lives in Sandema....

This week has been another busy one! Full days and busy nights make us a little tired but we are still all really enjoying ourselves. Follows is a few posts about general life in Sandema.

Our 'home town', Sandema

Sandema is the home of Builsas. Capital of its district – the Builsa district and located in the Northern part of Ghana, specifically the Upper East Region. Builsa people speak Buli and Saab (also known as the Tuo Zaafi in Hausa) with different kind of soups as their traditional food; mostly eaten at supper or dinner. Sandema, apart from Builsas, is also the home for all kinds of people from different backgrounds from Ghana and other parts of the world. Builsas are peace loving people and friendly to all manner of people or persons irrespective of race. The Builsa landscape can be described as a plain interspersed with few high grounds. The vegetation is purely savannah with few scattered trees. The Builsas have a rich cultural heritage which unites them. They celebrate Feok festival to commemorate their victory over the slave raiders and as a thanks giving sacrifice to their ancestors after every harvest. People of Builsa are always in jubilant mood during the Feok festival. It is lovely being in Sandema. 

- Festus

Our house, in the middle of our street?

We’re staying in a small compound on the grounds of FISTRAD, a stone throw away from work which makes the mornings a little easier. We each have a small bungalow/pod with a double bed and an en-suite bathroom – what luxury! We have a little kitchen slap bang in the middle and finally now have a table and chairs! I think it’s fair to say we’re living the life of it up here in Sandema in our little piece of home. The only downside in Poppy and Will’s room is the smell – no it’s not their feet! We are unfortunately placed above the water system and occasionally we get a rather pungent cabbage smell when the water is running through.

Will and Tracy sat on Tracy's porch...yes, her house is really called "Burger Komittee Stain Hagen" 

Working 9-5 

We’re all very passionate and excited about our project, LIFE – the longer we work on it the more involved we become. We’ve been working hard meeting over 10 chiefs, including the paramount chief of the Builsa District, the District Assembly and Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPO). We have been receiving endless positive feedback for the project from everyone involved and it is progressing well already. 
Meeting the Sandema Naab (in the salmon outfit inbetween Will and Tracy) and his sub-chiefs and elders

The team with members of the District Assembly (the gentleman inbetween Poppy and Jenna was rather forward in his desire to make one of them his wife!)
The team with the President, Gilbert, of the Sandema Disabled People's Organisation
Since meeting with us, the Kadema Chief has already met with his DPO and has promised them that they can be involved in the local Feok on the 9th of February – result! What incredible news that was, I (Poppy) think I speak for everyone when I say we really do feel a part of something special here, something that could really improve the lives of many people with disabilities – and we’re only just getting started!! 

- Poppy

 Meeting Kadema chief was the highlight for me last week. We had already met him quickly at the District Assembly and he had already called us his brother and sisters and was looking forward to seeing us. When visiting he greeted us with a smile again and invited the women to come and sit in the meeting, which only a few chiefs did last week. He was very open to the idea of people with disabilities being involved in the Feok. His community had not yet had its local Feok but he invited us to attend on the 9th February and said he would look into including people with disabilities. It was clear people living with disabilities were included in this community as there was a lady at the meeting with a disability and he invited her to show us her skills of basket weaving and dancing. On Sunday Maxwell our project coordinator said that the Kadema chief had called him and said he had been to see the local disabled people’s organisation. He spoke to them asking how they would like to be involved in the festival and what the problems would be for them being involved. This is excellent news as he is making the steps towards getting disabled people involved. He said that he had simply not thought to include them before but now that we have brought it to his attention he said he would make an active effort to include those with disabilities.   We shall be visiting the Kadema group and Chief again soon to see what happens!
- Will

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