Monday, 23 January 2017

Hello from Cohort 6!

 Welcome to Create Change Cohort six. I’d like to introduce to you: Rachelle, our religious studies post graduate from Greater London; Yussif, agricultural enthusiast from right here in Tamale, Ghana; Salma, our talented singer and Tamale resident from Ada in Accra. We also have Jack, our economics graduate from the cold depths of Sunderland, North England; David, Manchester United lover and Accra city boy; Gemma, women’s right enthusiast from the sunshine coast of Eastbourne, South England; and Claudia, our IT genius and team pick-me-up from Essex, East England.
Holding us all together are the team leaders, Anita who aims to further her volunteering action by setting up her own organisation one day; and Leanne who brings the laughter and energy to every session with the help of some S Club 7.

Together we began our life changing ICS journey to develop ourselves as human beings and make a positive impact in the world. Alongside the talented ladies dedicated to the Create Change office, we aim encourage and support the girls of Tamale to stay in education, stress the importance and impact of doing so and have fun in the process!

Learning about new cultures

 The International Citizenship Service (ICS) is a great place to get to know more about different cultures. On this journey, I met many lovely people from different cultures and countries. I have always found it exciting to meet people from different cultural background and am always curious to learn more about what people do in different parts of the world.

 On our first meeting as a team, we asked each other about each of our cultural backgrounds and it was fun and interesting to learn more about the UK culture. Many of the team love English TV shows and Music. It was awesome being able to share these same interests and we all got along very well. Meeting my team also introduced me to new opportunities because there were many ideas out there I didn’t know existed, so knowing one another’s culture helped me to understand more. It also exposed me to new ideas because the more you know more, the more it increases your knowledge on a variety of topics.

More importantly, knowing more about my team’s cultural background helped to better my understanding of life itself. Sometimes it is difficult to understand why certain people behave in a certain way. However, instead of judging people that you perceive as being different, you benefit much more by taking the time to open up with them to see what they are all about and why they behave that way. Another benefit of understanding another’s culture is that it encourages you to get out there and take chances you hadn’t thought of before. What are you waiting for? Prepare yourself to learn more about different cultures.
I hope to continue meeting people from different cultural backgrounds to broaden my perspective on the world.

Language barriers

When working cross-culturally, there is often a language barrier. A language barrier is a big challenge between the Ghanaian and UK volunteers. At Create Change ABC we often work very hard to reduce the language barrier between the two. In Ghana, a few people speak English but a growing majority are starting to learn because English is a globally used language.
The language barrier brought some difficulties of communication between many of the Uk volunteers and local people in Tamale, for example the food sellers and taxis drivers. There was also difficulty in asking for and being given directions but we had plenty of help from the Ghanaian volunteers from Tamale who could speak Dagbani.

Overcoming language barrier could be made easier with education and the UK volunteers are very eager to learn. Perhaps giving them a few weeks to learn the local language of Dagbani would make communication easier.

Greetings and breaking the ice

Before we communicate, we must greet!
 In Ghana, greetings are one of the most cherished and prioritised practices, especially in the Northern region. It is seen as a way of being polite when starting a friendly conversation with a stranger.                                          

During our ICO (In-country Orientation), each team was asked to learn the basics of the local dialect, Dagbani. It was pretty fun and exciting for our team. Everyone really did great and they really liked the greetings especially. David and Gemma definitely made sure to put their Dagbani greetings into practice; each time David woke up in the morning, he would say “Aniwula” even though he should have said “Dasiba”. Still, he is making a massive improvement.
 Whereas Gemma, who keeps getting her greetings right, is being laughed at each time she says it (Don’t worry, they laugh mostly because, they are surprised and impressed by a siliminga (white person) speaking Dagbani).


 In addition, our team has the best icebreakers and Energizers ever, not to brag. Rachelle and Gemma brought this really fun game in which everyone is given a piece of paper to put on their forehead with a name or word written on it, of which they have no idea. Then each person is supposed to guess what’s on his/her paper by asking questions. Answers are only given as yes or no. It is quite an amazing game because some of us had no idea of what was on our paper even after seeing it!

 We also have a few more icebreakers/energizers which will definitely sweep you off of your feet- they could make you forget all about your problems and be happy for Eternity!





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