So we are on our last week in Ghana (GUTTED!!) and are having a great time as per usual. In our previous blogs, we have written about our time in schools and our lives here. But, as the Geography geek of the group, I thought that I would talk about what we have seen since we have traveled through the North and the South.
First thing is definitely the weather. It is a lot hotter and humid in the South than in the North. However, since being in the South, we have experienced the rains of Africa. We have been here for 9 days, and it has rained for 6 afternoons. It’s not been continual rain, but quick, heavy rain for about 10 minutes. We were speaking to Sr. Martha SHCJ about the weather, and she said that it is a lot hotter now than it used to be years ago. She also said that they are seeing a lot more rain, more so in the dry season than ever before. She said that the unpredictability of the rains can affect people’s livelihoods. They used to be able to predict the rains, especially during the rainy season. But now they have a choice to make: do they plant their crops at the first rain and hope that the rains continue to come; or do they plant towards the end of the rain and hope that there is a growth spurt so enough of the crops can grow. It’s a tough decision to make, and one that sadly people have to face every day in Ghana.
Another thing that we have been looking at whilst we have been here is water – yes, us Gappers are always thinking about upcoming CAFOD campaigns!! Is every person without water? No. Is there an issue with water in Ghana? Most definitely. There are people who still use untreated water to drink and cook with. Even in the South, which is considered to be more affluent than the North, there are people that go without clean water. A pupil at the school that we are currently in, Bernadette, said that in the villages of the south, people suffer without the water. They still go to lakes and rivers which are used by animals too, to collect water for their families and some people have to walk miles for a borehole. Even in the candidate’s house where we were staying, they had issues with water. It was a brand new house – they only moved in there in November, and since they have been without a regular water connection. They leave their taps to their showers on and place a bucket underneath it, because at 2am, the water flows for about an hour before going off again. It’s crazy to think that there are issues with such a natural resource that we take for granted, in a brand new house. We hope that they get regular water access soon. The Government does try and help by providing Government certified water, but when people are desparate and don’t have the 1 cedi (43p) to buy a bag of water, they will drink anything that they can. Even if this does mean the same water supply that sheep and goats drink out of, or that people bathe in.
Economically, there are still issues. Yes, you get people who are successful, but there are people who struggle. It’s just like any place in the UK during recession time…times are hard and people try their best. Another pupil at the school, Emmannuella, said that people will take anything that is available for the public to sell if they need to. Consider the draining system in Ghana: often we have seen open drains in the streets. Emmannuella said that they used to be covered by metal coverings. But people realized that they metal was worth a small fortune on the market, and so lifted it off the drains and sold them on to make money. The Government is now reluctant to replace stolen ones. It’s hard to comprehend the lengths that people go to, to feed their families. But these are happening in the North and the South, regardless of the fact that one place is supposed to be more affluent than the other.
This trip has been so inspiring and thought provoking, we can’t even begin to describe it in words to you. We don’t want to come home!! But don’t worry parents of Gappers – we definitely will be on that plane on Sunday!
One thing that this trip has taught be though is to enjoy life to the fullest. You never know what life with throw at you or what tomorrow will bring, but just to accept it. People all over the world are suffering the same way as we are, but to different extremes. We should be grateful for what we have, and, as Oscar Romero once said “aspire not to have more, but to be more”. I know that definitely, from now on, any bad day in the office that I am having I will attempt to overcome it like a true Ghanaian: with a lot of determination and a huge smile on my face =D
Amy and the gang xxxxxxxxxxxx