As a trustee for charity Kicking Off, I've spent the last 7 days with the team in Ghana helping empower local communities through football.
We arrived late evening into a very hot and dusty Accra and were delighted to find a bus driver waiting for us. Over an hour later we were still waiting for the actual bus to arrive. This being our introduction to GMT (Ghana Maybe Time).
After a hair raising 3 hr bus journey, worthy of a blog itself!, we arrived at our accommodation; which was not quite what we were used to, but then again what did we expect for £4 a night?!?
We were woken at 5 am with one of the many Ghanian Sunday morning church services in full swing; and whilst the deafening singing and drumming were not conducive to a lie-in we were delighted to wander into the village and see everyone out in their Sunday best.
It was obvious from the very beginning that these people who have very little are very proud; dressed in the brightest of colours. From the very first morning we have been greeted with the warmest of welcomes and the brightest of smiles.
White faces are still very rare in these parts with children and adults alike excitedly pointing and shouting “Aburoni, Aburoni!” - literally translated to “White Man, White Man! “
As a group, this week is all about the build up to the Kicking Off tournament on Saturday. There are 10 of us in the group here, all completely self-funding the trip and all with very different roles and responsibilities for the week. This first day was all about having planning meetings, both individually and in groups.
Next followed a wander into the village to do some shopping as we will be doing all our own cooking this week – we agreed to be as adventurous, as was sensible - but drew the line at one of the local delicacies of flattened out deep fried rat on a stick which you lick like a lollipop.
At the end of the day we met Fred and Rebecca from SVG Africa who are our Charity Partner and represent Kicking Off on the ground both now and when we're not here.
Fred is Ghanian born and bred and so we had a very frank and honest conversation covering such diverse topics as colonisation, slavery, politics, charity, corruption. As well as the frustration of many Ghanians - that they have every natural resource needed to provide opportunity and economic stability, however in Fred’s words “it was like there was a switch that just wasn’t being turned on”. He also said that many people who come to this country come with their own pre conceived ideas, so he stressed that as everyone has their own ideas and viewpoints, just as a dice has different numbers on each face, he encouraged us to listen, ask questions, talk to people and ultimately write our own story.
We wait to get stuck in tomorrow approaching everything with an open mind and an open heart – but still don’t fancy the rat on a stick!!"
Please help a child secure a place at a life changing tournament.
To donate £3 text KICK to 70007. Thank you.