Sunday, 19 July 2009

people we meet

Volunteering and traveling obviously opens your eyes to different things. The biggest thing I keep feeling is the power of one person to change things. We met Molli from New York, now in her thirties. She volunteered in her twenties and saw need for the diagnosis of autism in Ghana. She then started her own NGO, single handedly and currently helps people starting their own NGO's. An American women in the market queue in front of me I randomly met, with blond platted hair that couldn't have been more then twenty started an NGO for little girls to get an education. They make social change seem so within reach.

The people making a difference aren't just foreigners. I sat waiting with my co-worker [as its Ghana and waiting is a big part of life!] I asked him about how he came to work at the NGO. He told me his story. Born to Sixteen brothers and sisters, with a father with many wives and children and little money. His mother didn't encourage him and his siblings didn't go, but for some reason he wanted to go to school. There was the obvious problem, money, but he told me that as a little boy did laboring work to earn his schooling. He then worked this way through University. At university he attended lectures that started at 6.30 in the morning [but to get a seat you needed to arrive at 4.30 am as the 300 capacity lecture hall was filled with 700 people] .The lectures lasted six hours with a five minute break, people regularly collapsed from heat and hunger. I couldn't relate it to my lectures at Manchester with the awful levels of attendance and student apathy. He is now working in the NGO to change society. He was so softly spoken and humble and didn't seem to feel any great significance to the story,barely worth mentioning. It was a normal one apparently. The normalcy shocked me more than the story itself.

Ghana is full of NGOs and volunteers trying to make a difference. Its a mixture of empowering and dis- empowering and overwhelming to be here so far. It seems like theres so much work being done by amazing people and organizations to improve things, but looking around walking in the street, theres just so much injustice that needs to be changed.


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