Posted by: devonhamilton | November 8, 2010

Koforidua Programming Begins

First off, thanks to everyone who took the time to message me or e-mail and wish me a happy birthday on Wednesday – I checked my e-mail today and had over 50 e-mails, so I haven’t been able to get back to everyone, to say the least. I know some people tried to call and there was a problem with the network, just bad luck I guess! But I appreciate it!

My birthday was great. We visited the YMCA and OIC to say goodbye to the staff and students, and I had “Happy Birthday” sung to me by the student body, which was amazing – I wish I had captured it on video. There was a lot of dancing and drumming, which was fun! We also had debriefs that day but our partners were kind enough to include birthday cake in the refreshments. The YMCA surprised us with skirts, dresses, and shirts – all in the same matching fabric. So we of course had a great time using my self-timer and having a photoshoot in our new matching outfits. I was really pushing for us to go out for some drinks as a co-ordinated group of seven, but we all ended up changing. Afterwards the seven of us (our group of five plus Jane and Fred) went out for dinner and a couple of drinks. The weather was absolutely gorgeous! We didn’t end up visiting a pool, but still a great day all around!

On Thursday we drove to Accra, which took about four hours. It was strange to be at the YMCA hostel there again! The Canadian Embassy had their Canadian night so we went over to that. They were showing the movie “Passchendaele” but we decided to watch some live music provided by the American military instead. It was fun to see some other Canadians, although we don’t dance as well as Ghanaians!

Friday morning we drove to Koforidua. I am now in the Eastern Region (we were in the Western Region before) and it is totally different. Koforidua is surrounded by huge hills (I think they might call them mountains) covered in trees and other vegetation. This is a random observation but I’ve noticed that the palm trees are also twice as tall here. It’s a little cooler, too – we’re higher up – and I actually turned off my fan last night! Kelly and Steph are sharing a double room with an ensuite bathroom (and are hilariously also sharing a double bed and mosquito net) while the rest of us are in single rooms at the other end of the compound. We decided the rooms by drawing names.

I’m excited to start our programming here because we are facilitating the training of trainers (ToT). The YMCA have a group of peer mentors who have previously been trained by YCI volunteers (most recently in the summer on HIV/AIDS). The mentors are interested in conducting more outreaches in the community, and they are looking to us to run workshops on proposal writing and project design so that they can seek funding for various projects. We will also be training them on the MDGs, but in this case we will be training them to run workshops themselves. Instead of the five of us going into schools and teaching the MDGs like we were in Takoradi, we will instead be training the mentors as facilitators, and accompanying them to various schools to run the workshops. This way of transferring knowledge is more sustainable and impact is more noticeable.

We have met some of the mentors and they all seemed very nice. We even had a dance lesson with some of them yesterday!  Tomorrow we are going to visit various schools to see if they are interested in having us come in to facilitate workshops along with the mentors. We will be running workshops for the mentors on Wednesday (MDGs), Thursday (Proposal Writing and Project Design) and Friday (Fundraising and Social Media). Our plan is to go to Kumasi this weekend, so we will see what happens!

PS: We have been receiving delicious meals from our “cooking mama”, Mama Augusta, a local woman who is making some of our breakfasts and dinners for us. I will devote an entire post to this in the future!


  1. HI Devon – I am sorry I am so poor at letter writing…I am really enjoying all your messages (as well as the letter you sent) thank you for keeping me in mind when you send all your exciting information. What an experience!! I can hardly wait to see you at christmas and see some of your pictures (I am sure you will have so so many that you won’t be able to bring all of them)..
    Enjoy yourself and a happy belated birthday (I hope Michelle told you that I wished you happy birthday when she called you).
    Take care of yourself. ann

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