Wednesday, April 30, 2014

LIFE Projects new team has arrived

Sandema is beautiful, the sun is a-shining and we cannot wait to get started on our project! After spending a week in Tamale with the rest of the group we headed up north to our new home. Our national volunteers are fantastic and extremely knowledgeable- some have disabilities themselves and are able to provide an insider's perspective. Our partner is the Community Based Rehabilitation Centre (CBR) and we will be working on the LIFE project, which challenges perceptions on people with disabilities by promoting their inclusion in society and helping to alleviate prejudice and poverty.

We are a team of two volunteers plus our team leader Andy, who despite having Shakira in his playlist is a really cool, easy going bloke who gets things done. Alongside us we have the national volunteers: the wonderful Maurice who laughs at everything we say and is becoming a karate mastermind, Simone and Gilbert and Abina who are members of the disabled people's organisation (DPO) and have been helping us learn the basics of the local language, Buli, and Gilbert and David who both work at CBR. As for us, Iulian is an ass-kicking, martial arts giant man from Romania living in Bournemouth and Louise is a small lady with a ukulele and a plasticine face. Together we are Team Sandema! We've already got a lot of ideas and are planning big things for the New Era Soap Company- a co-operative run by women from the Disabled People's Organization (DPO). We met the women from the Co-op yesterday and they seemed as keen as us to re-start their business. Unfortunately the last cycle of soap production just about covered their costs, and we have set our eyes on trying to achieve a profit for the next time. As well as this, we'll be working on some inclusive evening  classes and sports events and will be running some changing perspectives workshops in a fun and creative way.

All in all, we settled really nice in here and have tons of enthusiasm. Which is why we are also very careful not to overcrowd our list of ideas – a wise man once said that the most difficult thing in life is choosing what not to do. Our team plan should be ready by the end of this week and we decided to set achievable objectives rather than aiming to send another man to the moon. Although, at 1 degree above the Equator this would be a perfect place to do that.

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