Religious gatherings in Britain tend to be of a serene and impertubable nature. Spirituality is something private and personal, introspective and meditative. In Ghana, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Religion and expression coalesce in a plateau of singing and prayer. You get the feeling that if someone or something out there is listening, they would be deafened by the chorus. However, it appears the joyous nature of some events is truly universal. We were fortunate enough to be invited to a local wedding, and despite the cultural differences, the celebratory feeling was all too familiar.
Our cohort is embarking on our first community entry today, and with all of our preparation done, we are ready and raring to go. In the meanwhile, the group enjoyed a brilliant team-building session with the rest of the office. It was heart-warming to see everyone take a few hours out of their day to laugh and enjoy the sun. Often our work can be of a cumbersome and difficult nature, and the importance of untethered fun cannot be understated.
Further exploration of the market reveals a labyrinth of shops and alleyways. Young girls carrying goods on their heads traipse between peering locals. Despite their age, they are used to the commotion and chaos of the market, the sight of outsiders would ultimately be just a footnote in amongst a painfully long day. It is difficult to empathise with them honestly, manual work of that intensity and duration simply doesn’t exist in modern Britain.
If anything proves that the market is a single living entity, it is the reaction to the weather. Within seconds of the first drop of rain falling, goods are flung back into the store and onto carts. The pace and synchronicity of it can give the feeling of a rehearsed play, actors reacting to a cue on stage. However, given the ferocity of the storms that batter the region, it is necessary for merchants to act with such haste.
Once again, I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has donated their hard-earned money to get me here. Your money has not only gone to a fantastic charity that does truly amazing work, but has also given me a once in a lifetime opportunity. It is truly a gift to be able to work alongside such driven, motivated and generous people. Despite not even being halfway through the project, the personal development of some volunteers is nothing short of inspiring.
And to Nyima, get better soon!