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Monday, January 26, 2015

Hello!

N PO P’EEN’TI - Excited in Buli.  



Saluk! Welcome to our new blog, new team of volunteers, and a new beginning for the LIFE project. This cohort, we will be shifting our focus to concentrate on inclusive education. This will involve a lot of research, meetings and holding focus groups and we're all ready to get stuck in!

Meet The Team


SALUUK, I am Ak; the U.K team leader from the previous cohort. Some of you, hopefully, recognize me from the previous blog. I had a reputation for losing my stuff and guess what? In the Christmas holidays I lost my: phone, passport, headphones and IPod but I am still smiling and still loving Ghana.

Interesting fact:  My great-great grandfather, Kaballo, was a famous crocodile hunter in Sudan who was so successful at hunting crocodiles, that in Northern Sudan there is a song dedicated to him and his unique trade. The song is sung at social gatherings such as weddings. As a child, I always did find it slightly bizarre that as two people celebrate their love for one another, the musicians would choose this opportunity to sing about my brave ancestor.

Hopes for project: The previous cohort was very successful in their sensitization program and addressing the stigmas around people with disabilities. I am really looking forward to continuing this work and implementing the next stage of the LIFE project; which, will focus the sensitization programs in and around education and look towards including children with disabilities into mainstream education.


I am Achuroa David Akanpentiba; A past in-country volunteer, and now in-country Team Leader for LIFE Project. I hold a Bachelor Degree in Science and Community Nutrition. I was born and bred in Sandema, in the Builsa North District. I am passionate working with disabled people.

Interesting fact: An interesting fact about me is that I once actually killed two birds with one stone.

Hopes for the project: Since 2013 I have had a keen interest in development work, which I strongly believe will increase as I drive through the life project. I have high hopes for this team. I am excited to work on inclusive education and schools sensitization programs on the rights of disabled children.



Hi I’m Bronwen Bates; I’m from Aberystwyth in Wales, UK. I’m on my second year out from education, working full time in a nursing home. I am very excited to have finally arrived in the beautiful town of Sandema.

Interesting fact: I was once in a car crash and came out with little injury, but when we had to push the car from the road, as I got out of the car I ran over my own foot, which caused more damage to me than the crash did.

Hopes for the project: I’m really looking forward to starting work on the LIFE project and to start getting involved in the local community. Hopefully I will be able to help make a meaningful change to some people’s perceptions towards those suffering with disabilities.

Muniru on the left and Abolnab on the right.
My name is Muniru Issahaku. I am an in-country volunteer (ICV) from the Northern part of Ghana (Tamale). I am a graduate of the Northern School of Business.

Interesting fact: An interesting fact about me is that I want to enter Heaven, but I’m never ready to taste death.

Hopes for the project: I will be working on the life project in order to help build confidence of the persons with disabilities, and to help them integrate well in the society.


Hi. My name is Abolnab Azantilow; a Ghanaian from the Upper East Region, Sandema. I completed Bolgatanga Senior High School in Bolga. I'm interested in jokes, and I like dancing. I’m a sports man, and I specifically enjoy playing basketball.

Interesting fact: I’m a prince, but do not behave like one.

Hopes for the project: I have a passion for working alongside International Service on the LIFE project in Sandema to help positively impact people lives and maximise the potentials of people living with disabilities and their rights.



My name is Rory Collier; I’m from South – East England. In my free time I enjoy meeting with my friends, telling jokes and learning Spanish.

Interesting fact: Everywhere I go, for some reason, people think I am an Australian.

Hopes for the project: I am really looking forward to working with the LIFE project and making a positive impact on people’s perceptions about people with disabilities. 



I’m Abigail Afriyie-Adjei; I come from the “Queen’s City”, as I’ve named it. Actually, it’s called Ejisu in the Ashanti Region. I love to sing and dance, but I’m not really very good at dancing.

Interesting fact: I tried to ride a bike one day with a friend on the back, and I suddenly realized that I couldn’t turn to the right or left and because of that I was so scared. Rather than stopping, I kept on increasing the speed, while using my feet as brakes. My friend was screaming, until we eventually ended up in a bush.

Hopes for the project: I’m working with the LIFE project in Sandema and we are an amazing team! I am looking forward to working with people with disabilities and building my confidence as well. I'm excited about this beautiful journey-LIFE.



Hi! I’m Priscilla Asangalisah, a Ghanaian from Chuchuliga, which is in in the Upper East Region of Ghana. I enjoy dancing with my younger siblings because they tease me. I also enjoy being at humorous places because I feel good laughing.

Interesting fact: I actually resemble many people, but people don’t know me. I like many things, so I have no favourite.

Hopes for the project:  I am currently an in-country volunteer (ICV), and I’m looking forward to inspiring a positive attitude towards disability, and also to learn new skills.


Hi. I’m Sanpreet and I’m from Coventry. I used to think I was incapable of losing things as I’d always, eventually, get them back – phones, keys, even suitcases! This record is now broken as I lost my mp3 player in Abidjan when our plane was diverted there. Curse the Hermata winds! I’m thrilled to finally be here in the beautiful and serene town of Sandema.

Interesting fact: I’ve never broken a bone in my body, although, after seeing how wobbly and prone to falls I am on the bike over here that may also not be true for much longer!

Hopes for the project: I’m looking forward to being a part of the team and working with local organisations to make a lasting, sustainable, and meaningful change in the way people with disabilities are perceived.  

*

On our first Sunday in Sandema, Ak suggested that it would be a good idea for us all to go to the Presbyterian Church so that we could introduce ourselves to the local community. This was especially important as our partner organisation is the CBR (Community Based Rehabilitation) which has strong links with the Presbyterian Church.

We woke up early, put on our best, ironed, most Church like clothes and rode along the red, dusty road through the town – with Abigail on the back of Abolnab’s motorbike and Sanpreet being carried by Munir’s expertly driven bicycle.

The sound of music, dancing, and devotion erupted out of the church. As we approached, we were greeted by a chorus of ‘smalee smalee’ (the Buli word for foreign/white person as that’s the sound they hear when foreigners talk!) sung by children. As we entered we were immediately ushered to our seats and joined in with the festivities. There was a semi-constructed drum set, complete with a half-cymbal, a keyboard, singers, and of course, dancers. The church goers’ joy was incredibly infectious so it was difficult not to get carried away with, and be impressed by, the spirit of the occasion. Rory was particularly impressed by the translator’s ability to quickly translate the pastor’s English into the community’s Buli.

An announcement was then made for any newcomers to the church to introduce themselves. We made our way to the front and Ak introduced us as the new LIFE team. The microphone was handed around as we individually greeted the crowd with a ‘Saluuk’ and informed them of our names and where we were from. We all felt incredibly welcomed by the crowd of smiles. The pastor then read a special prayer for us and the work we were about to embark upon.
This was a great way for us to introduce ourselves to the local church-going community and to tell them more about the LIFE project. It was also an enjoyable way for us to be able to immerse ourselves in the culture of this particular community in Sandema.




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