So aside from the weekends, what have I been doing here!?
I’ve already spent 3 weeks working with RAINS, and things are beginning to get moving. Be sure to read my ‘about‘ section before going through this post, so you know what’s what!
Our journey so far has been successful so far, but I’ve quickly learnt of the challenges that accompany international development in my time here already – especially when it has felt like progress is slow. There are many geographical and economical issues to overcome, as well as the matter of the extremely laid back way of life here! The office work, meetings, planning, and phone calls are all the essential back work not included in this post. What follows are some of the highlights so far in the projects when we’ve been able to get out of the office and put our work directly into action.
The uniform recycling project, named ‘Students for Schooling’. Here we are loading the donation boxes, created by the previous volunteers, onto a pickup truck to deliver to the donor schools. We piled into the back for a fun ride… of course!
We visited several schools, delivering and presenting the boxes. The names on the boxes are those of previous volunteers, who created the boxes, and any other people who have contributed to the project.
At each of the donor schools we got the chance to have a photo taken with some of the pupils. The next stages of this project are mainly to begin contacting seamstresses who can adapt the donated uniform for the beneficiary schools. But first…
…the following week we visited the beneficiary schools, which are in more rural areas a fair few miles out of Tamale. This day was absolutely exhausting, travelling for hours to visit each school and going off road what felt like 80% of the time!
The children were incredibly interested in our arrival, as is so often the case!
This was speaking to a teacher of one of the schools, introducing RAINS and what we hope to provide for the school. If only Festus could have looked a little more keen!
The driver catching a short break in the shade. As I mentioned, it was an exhausting day travelling along dirt roads for hours at a time to each school. It was fascinating going into the rural areas after living in the hustle and bustle of Tamale. The rural way of life was eye-opening, but the extensive development going on was also clear – many villages had electricity, whilst those without had the poles up ready to accommodate the power lines.
Our cinema fundraiser day, in which we put on The Jungle Book, sold popcorn, coolaid and even had Dinani perform! We were putting this on to raise funds to buy professional costumes for Dinani. After flyering the private schools around Tamale, and even managing to get a mention on local radio station Kesmi FM, it was a great success. We achieved 20% of our fundraising target in this one go, which was far beyond expectations.
We even had Dinani welcoming everyone into the RAINS office in true style.
Jill with the popcorn maker a RAINS colleague kindly lent to us. Jill’s mum sells popcorn, and so with some sneaky tricks of the trade she was creating some truly fantastic popcorn. There was, of course, none of that left by the end of the day…
Dinani performing in the RAINS front grounds, just before the film was shown. For this project as a whole, the next key stages are to continue to raise funds for Dinani through various ways and then begin organising another sexual health based performance in West Mamprusi.
The only major project not covered here is ‘Farming For Futures’. With regard to setting up the cooperative and organising the best practice farming sessions, these are at the early stages of making contacts and meeting people. We have already made contacts within the Ministry of Food & Agriculture and with NGOs who specialise in best practice farming techniques. However, meeting people is not always easy in Ghana; timing and schedules are less of a part of the culture than in the UK.
There’s a lot to be done! As always, keep in mind this really is a just a small glimpse displaying the key progress points so far.