Brewers in Ghana Team 2022 – My African Adventure by Lee
I was delighted to be selected to join the Burton Albion Community Trust trip to Ghana which was generously sponsored by Richard Winterton Auctioneers.
After a very early start and several flights later we arrived in Accra in Ghana late in the evening and collapsed into bed exhausted.
This was just a stopover and on waking in the morning we were given a hearty breakfast of pineapple, hard dough bread and omelette with coleslaw by staff, who always had a smile on their faces.
After breakfast it was time for a 3-hour drive to Keta, where we would stop for the next 6 nights. As we drove from Accra to Keta the changes in surroundings became quite apparent from the tall concrete buildings to makeshift shacks in shanty towns.
We arrived in a town called “Woe” and was introduced to a man named Siva, who founded the non-profit organisation “The Young Shall Grow”.
This organisation provides opportunities for children and adults in rural areas of Ghana.
Siva was homeless from the age 5 and suffered exploitation working on farms and would regularly receive beatings. Siva’s life story is astonishing as he recalls being abandoned from the age of 5 and how he got to where is today.
Each morning the cockerel crowed at 5:15am and after breakfast, it was time for work.
At a little school in Tegbi, we are greeted by the children; lots of excited smiley faces. The children held our hands and guided us into the school to show us around.
We were then split into groups. On the first day, I was helping to build a canteen for the children. We broke up the floor with hammers and piled the rubble to one side. The children all joined in and helped, hammering the floor and picking up the concrete and pilling it up too.
It was amazing to see such determination and goodwill from such an early age. I could not believe that children were allowed to get stuck in and help us. Some wore sandals on their feet and some wore no shoes at all, no such thing as health & safety here.
We were given a lesson in their local language; Eue – Ŋdi Ŋdi na mi
On day two I was helping to decorate other areas of the school; sanding walls and prepping for their first coat of paint
It was another very hot day and the children gave us coconuts to eat and drink the water.
After school we were given a history tour of the area and visited a previous slave forte called Prinzenstein which was built in the 17th century. It served as trading point for slaves from Accra, the Northern Volta and Togo. Slaves were subjected to a thorough physical examination and were branded with red hot irons to show the name of their buyer. Slaves would also be subject to sexual abuse and torture. Scrawled on the wall of the dungeon was a quote “until the lion has a historian, the hunter will always be a hero” This means that unless there is someone who tells the story of the defeated the victors will always be glorified.
In between playing with the children we continued painting and applied coats of paint to the classrooms. We also painted the outside of the building to give it a fresher look. We also sanded down the doors and windows of the classroom prepping them to paint too.
Once completed it looked fantastic and the children had nice freshly painted classrooms again.
After painting we chatted with the children, most of them aspire to be surgeons or bankers. What really stood out was how happy and humble they were despite having so little in comparison to what children have back home in the UK.
After completion of the school, we had some down time and spent a day at a beautiful beach resort. And then the day after, we packed several suitcases full of clothes, toiletries and sanitary products and drove inland to a village which was incredibly poor compared to where we had been staying.
We were then given a tour of the community and shown around one of the houses which was made from mud bricks and consisted of 2 rooms.
After the tour and meeting some of the locals we walked back to community church and distributed our donations to the villagers, everyone thankful for their gifts.
On our final day we awoke to loud thunder storms and rain. Later, we said our goodbyes to the children where we stayed and went to the school for our closing ceremony.
We were treated to a show by the children who were playing the drums and dancing. Each volunteer was presented with a special cloth to take home.
Back at base, we had a final lunch before heading off. Siva presented us with handmade scarfs with our names embroidered on, such a touching gift.
This trip has been one of the most incredible experiences in my life, so many unforgettable memories.
Thank you to my sponsors Richard Winterton Auctioneers and everyone at Burton Albion Community Trust.