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Thursday, 4 September 2014

What matters is not what we think our purpose is, but that we feel like we're part of a purpose that is greater than ourselves...

Hardi, the author of this week's blog,
during a ceremony held in the village of Ticheli
In the northern region of Ghana, there are 3 major different religious bodies. We have the Traditionalists, Christians and Muslims. Every child is taught to be aware of God and scriptures, as we feel this helps to build the growing child morally upright. However, Muslims are noted to be the majority in the area; followed by Christians and traditionalists respectively. The fact is that, each religion believes in one God, but has its own way of worshipping and practising religion. The traditionalists worship the one God through ancestors or elderly family members who led exemplary lives. They facilitate their worship with the use of objects like stones, animals and sacred lands as a means of communication between the ancestors and the living. The Christians and Muslims, as we all know, have particular places of abode for worshipping, that is the churches and mosques. Despite the differences in religion, we respect and value each other's beliefs.

Prayers during a ceremony held in
the village of Tua Sunnia
However, one of the most unforgettable days of my life was the day my national colleagues and I met the international volunteers. We were at Gilbet Guest-house in Tamale for our training for the International Citizen Service (ICS) program. During my interaction with the UK volunteers, I began to get familiar with them. But, I was in fact shocked to discover that some people in the world, including some of the international volunteers themselves, do not believe in any religion or even in the existence of God. My further interaction with the UK volunteers revealed that since some think that there are no Holy Scriptures from God himself, they  find it hard to believe it. It was the first time in my life that I heard of people who do not believe in religion. I thought it was a joke! Well, it was so to us because in Ghana almost everybody believes in the existence of God and the scriptures, as already explained above.

Now nine weeks have passed and my opinions have began to change. Before I took part in the ICS scheme, I couldn't even comprehend the idea of people having no faith in their lives. Now, I still think it is important to have a religion, but I don't think badly of those without it; I think they are always focused, and are without distractions in the name of faith and religion. I thought working with people from different faiths would have made work very difficult and challenging for me, since we would be so different. But, that was proven wrong because each member in the group respected each religious faith; that really has helped in our work. I have learnt much about different perspectives on religion and I am grateful for that. I am sure that all of the volunteers on this programme has learnt something on this subject as well. As a group of volunteers, we are all from different backgrounds, cultures and religions. Despite this, we have put it aside and have achieved a great deal together on the project!

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