Monday, February 27, 2017

Majida's Experience: LIFEstyle Changes

Majida outside the PCBR office
I was full of joy and enthusiasm when I saw my name on the list of volunteers going to work on the Sandema LIFE Project. I was so touched that a girl is going to a place where the culture, language, and environment are totally different from what I’m used to. However, I decided to move beyond these challenges and to positively change my new community.

As someone who is so emotional and passionate about changing the life of people with disability, I established some goals and objectives, such as improving my communication skills and my confidence. I want to prove to myself that I am capable of succeeding as a nurse, a career I will pursue after ICS. From the high level of team bonding and the way issues are communicated between the volunteers, Team Leaders and our partner organisation, I feel a great sense of belonging.

Sandema is very different from where I live in Tamale. In Sandema people depend on bicycles, tro-tros and motorbikes as their means of transport. It is normal for women to ride bicycles in Sandema, whereas in Tamale women cannot be seen riding bicycles. In Tamale people usually ride yellow-yellows, motorbikes and taxis. Riding bicycles in Sandema is difficult for me, especially when we climb the hill on the way to our office, because I am not used to riding at home.

Majida interacting with the students at English and Arabic School during our sensitisation

The culture is interesting. I like how the people are friendly and always enjoy greeting new people. They welcome strangers very warmly, which makes me feel comfortable living in their community. The culture in Tamale is very different from Sandema because we have different dances, customs, and sometimes different food. However, I feel like I have adjusted well to Sandeman culture.
People in Sandema speak in Buli. I don’t know how to speak Buli, but I have managed to learn how to greet people, by, for example, saying “good morning”, which in Buli is “Saluk”. In Buli, “good afternoon” is “Kantei”, and “good evening” is “Junui”. In Tamale we speak Dagbani, which is very different from Buli.

In Sandema there are lots of Christians and a few Muslims. I always find it very difficult to access the mosque because it is far from my host home. Instead, I have to take prayers in my room. In Tamale there are more Muslims than in Sandema and there are lots of Mosques, however, in Sandema there are only two.

Members of LIFE Team enjoying their leisure time. Left to right: Evans, Majida, Rahina.
Working in the LIFE Team in Sandema is very touching because I have always dreamt of helping people with disability, so God-willing I was made a member of the LIFE Project. In my project I was put into the Radio Team and Girls Club Team. I was very frustrated that I didn’t know how to start with my group work in the Radio Team, and even presenting it with 11,000 people listening made me more nervous. However, my willingness to challenge myself and from the support of my Team Leaders I managed to pull myself through the broadcast. I have now noticed my confidence levels are high whenever speaking to my team and community members. 

During my leisure time I visit many places, which includes the big dam, which the people of Sandema call “The Beach”.  When I’m not working I also visit friends, read my book, watch movies and chat with my family.

In conclusion, Sandema is a positive, quiet and interesting place. I am really enjoying the project work I am looking forward to the remaining time we have here together.

Left to Right: Majida, Shaibu, Abigail at a birthday party

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