Monday, September 11, 2017

A Personal Paradise

I always visioned that one day I'd find myself in Africa. I didn’t know where and I didn’t know when but, one day, flicking through Facebook (as I usually did in my mindless trance), I was suddenly awoken by a page called 'International Citizen Service'. I instantly knew that this was my sort of thing, so I clicked ‘like’ and scanned the page for pictures and more details on what the organisation was about. It just so happens I loved it and…I applied!
A bustling market day (every 3 days in Sandema)

Six months later, I found myself landing in a place I had always dreamed of, AFRICA - a place full of potential and opportunity! As we made our way through the Northern and Upper East Regions of Ghana I couldn’t believe my eyes! The sights before m were scenes I had previously only ever seen on TV screens – it was as if my visions and expectations had merged into one! Everything I could have ever imagined, and more, was right there in front of my eyes -women who balanced their livelihoods on their heads in buckets and baskets, whilst their baby stayed comfortably strapped around their waist. There were trucks loaded with livestock, hundreds of motorbikes weaving in and out of gaps so tiny you hold a breath on their behalf, honking horns, traders busy selling and buyers willingly investing. All this, and goats roaming loose whilst chickens are on the run. As I looked around and observed my environment from an open glass window, I tried to soak up everything. It took me a good few weeks after our arrival until I could honestly say that my eyes stopped flickering from place to place. But, that feeling of ‘I’m here’ never really went away - I felt content.

Collecting water in the scorching heat!
Although poverty is high and people’s struggles are real, I felt like I was seeing Sandema at its finest. When I look around I see so much potential, and that excites me! It is important to recognise different cultures but also understand when things need to change. Interventions like International Service promote positive change within communities especially in education, healthcare and human rights awareness. Grass root charities alone have a major influence within rural communities because they’re able to help motivate and encourage people. The work helps change negative mind-sets and everyone involved act as a positive advocate for people whose voices may not usually be heard. There’s a lot to take in when working within this environment, but it is experiences like this that helps motivate me for my own personal future.

Memory "dust" lane
As our time is coming to an end here in Sandema I’ll be truly sad to say goodbye. I have taken a lot from this experience -the relationships between family, friends and strangers, the simple luxuries of eggy bread and running water, the opportunities we’ve had, the difficulties we’ve shared and the goals we’ve achieved. For me, this is still an ongoing project when I leave Ghana. I am incredibly passionate about continuing to empower vulnerable groups all around the world. 

Until next time, Ghana!
Love Megan Huggins

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