Monday, April 17, 2017

Mathew's Experience: The LIFE Cycle

Group photo at debrief

So, our three months are up Sandema are over. I was warned that the three months would go extremely quickly, but I didn’t think they would disappear in the blink of an eye. All members of the team have gone back to their homes, whether they be in Ghana or the UK, and our team leaders have received the next the batch of volunteers working for the LIFE project. Saying goodbye to people we've spent three months with, day in, day out, was extremely emotional. It's a testament to the strong bond we've developed. There were more than a couple tears when it came time to say goodbye.

After a 14 hour coach journey and two eight hour flights the UKV's were home. One of the most common questions I’ve been asked since being back home is “How was Ghana?”. It’s such a hard question to answer, it was three intense months. It was an amazing experience, however, we had some amazing times and some challenging times. It’s hard to condense an experience like that in a couple of neat sentences. If you’ve got a free afternoon I’d be more than glad to talk to you about it.

Visiting the Tongo Hills was a true highlight

I’ve adjusted back into life in the UK much better than I thought I would. I haven’t experienced "reverse-culture shock" or any of that nasty stuff, it helps staying busy. Also, the weather has just been so pleasant and refreshing, but to be honest anything beats mid-40 degree temperatures.

Re-adjusting to the food has also been a bit of a mixed bag. It’s been heavenly to come home and taste my mother's cooking again, however, over the course of the three months I didn’t consume any dairy products and my body is having trouble digesting it (put appropriately). I’ve come home with a new appreciation of the UK. Nonetheless, it’s strange not casually seeing goats and chickens trotting across the road, putting the life of you and your bike at risk.
It’s hard to say that I’ve changed or improved myself throughout my ICS placement, I think perspective is needed to assess any changes. Although, I can say that I’ve learnt a lot about myself, development work, and the complicated issues that surround disability. It’s been an incredible 3 months which I will never forget.

By Mathew Kemball-Cook

Myself, my counterpart, and our host parents 

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