On Wednesday 19 April our Year 10 volunteers returned from Ghana, exhausted but exhilarated after their two weeks in the coastal community of Woe! Thank you to everyone who supported and contributed to their fundraising over the last 14 months.
Accompanied by Headteacher, Chiquita Henson, and three other members of staff, our pupils made a significant contribution to their assigned projects at Rhema Abutia and Dedzidi Community Schools during their stay and impressed their hosts at the volunteer hostel run by The Young Shall Grow International, who African Adventures, the tour company, reported only had ‘compliments’ for the group. Both individually and collectively the team demonstrated incredible resilience. They were resourceful, practical and creative.
Working as teachers, teaching assistants and community builders, our volunteers made a difference to the local community. For example, the construction of toilet cubicles and the provision of toilet pans will transform the experience of the children at Dedzidi Community School, who previously had to squat in the sand. The Ghanaian children enjoyed the sessions our pupils led as teachers and showed genuine curiosity in the books we took with us. They impressed us with their love of learning and listening to their aspirations, similar to those of our own pupils, was a salutary lesson for us all.
In addition to volunteering and engaging with their Ghanaian peers both inside and outside the classroom, our volunteer team were exposed to the colourful Ghanaian culture. They were invited to join in the local Easter Celebrations. With true Deer Park spirit they rose to every challenge, took part in a local football tournament and enjoyed fun sports at the beach ‘picnic’, taking part in unfamiliar races such as ‘thread the needle’, ‘fill the bottle’ and the ‘coca cola challenge’!
The team almost travelled the breadth of the Ghanaian coast from East to West when they took part in their ‘African Adventure’. They had the opportunity to reflect on the transatlantic slave trade at Cape Coast Castle and traverse the tree top canopy walk at Kakum National Park.
Furthermore, the warm welcome the group received on their visit to a small village, Lolito, on Easter Sunday, touched everyone and generated a call for action - watch this space!
Chiquita Henson and the team are looking forward to sharing their experiences at our Ghana Pupil and Parents’ Information Evening on Thursday 18 May at 6pm and we are currently seeking expressions of interest from pupils in Year 8 (read letter) for a potential trip in 2019 and from pupils in Year 9 (read letter) for a potential trip in Summer 2018.
For more information, read the team’s Ghana blog: cdpsghana2017.wordpress.com
"I was extremely privileged to travel to Ghana and work alongside our Year 10 pupil volunteers and the team at The Young Shall Grow International. I am immensely proud of their individual and team achievements. They were committed to their projects and entered fully into the community programme provided for us with boundless energy, enthusiasm and excitement. In addition to savouring the sights, sounds and tastes of Ghana, we each learnt something about ourselves and from the warm-hearted people we met who consistently welcomed us with open arms." Chiquita Henson, Headteacher
"Volunteering in Ghana was incredible. It’s definitely changed the way I think about life back home in the UK. Seeing the children’s smiles and reactions to the simplest of things made me realise just how grateful and appreciative they are about the things we can often just take for granted. Every single person I spoke to had a positive attitude, irrespective of their background and story. It’s a shame that so many have to lead such harsh lives, but this trip inspired me to be the best I can be and grasp every opportunity that comes my way. Because the people of Woe in Ghana do." Sam