Project Manager Intern: LISA DOVER
Monday 8th July
This morning we set off in two groups to head to two separate care giver farms at Sumburigo-Anateem- we’re suddenly in popular demand since the rain came over the weekend! Both groups managed to fly through both their plots, meaning that we managed to sew groundnuts in four farms. My group was joined by a group of orphans whom are benefitting from our work, which was heart warming to see and gave us further inspiration to work harder. After both groups had finished our plots we all came back for lunch at the house, where Jerry and Linda had made us a delicious meal of local dishes; banku, rice balls and a peanut soup. After lunch we had planned on going back to the pool too cool off after our best day’s work so far; but our plan was thwarted five minutes before we left when the heavens opened and a massive thunderstorm let rip! We resorted to plan B instead and went to the Bolga Craft Village where the volunteers splashed out on some beautiful souvenirs and gifts to take home. We got home around 6pm and had amazing chicken kebabs and chips for dinner. A few of the volunteers are playing drinking games and the rest of us are chilling out in the longue whilst I prepare a quiz for tomorrow night. Can’t believe it’s our last day of work here tomorrow before we leave for Mole National Park on Wednesday morning.
Tuesday 7th July
We set off for our final days work to Gambigo where we again split into two groups to double our work, completing three plots in total. By the time we had finished our work everyone was full of mixed emotions, we were relieved to have finished the hard work that we have affectionately dubbed as ‘hoeing’ but were also sad that today was our last day of work in Bolga, as well as also being excited to start the next chapter of Mole National Park and Kumasi. After work we came home for lunch and then went to the pool; thankfully the weather was on our side today and the sun had come out in full force! After the pool we had our final Bolga dinner cooked by Jerry and Linda, packed our bags to take to Mole tomorrow morning and split into three teams for the quiz which turned out to be quite competitive when it came to the general knowledge, press up and local dance competition rounds! We all went to bed fairly early as we’re getting up at 5am tomorrow- ewww.
Wednesday 8th July
We were up bright and early this morning for the 7 hour drive to Mole National Park, most of us managed to sleep for the first few hours and were wide awake by the time we met the other group at Bupe junction. After we met them, our convoy of our four tro tros (mini buses) set off down the bumpy dirt track which makes up the last three hours of the journey. When we arrived everyone headed to shotgun beds in their rooms and then we all went to the pool for lunch and to chill out and cool down after the long sweaty journey. After dinner we all went down to sit by the pool to mix with the other group for a couple of hours before our early start this morning caught up with us and we went to bed for an early start for the walking safari tomorrow morning.
Thursday 9th July
We met at 6am for our two hour walking safari, where we were lead around the national park by our guide, Koffi. The first thing we saw was a group of warthogs, swiftly followed by two monkeys, and then an enormous, wild, bull elephant outside the school which is in the park! We spent ages by the elephant and must have taken thousands of photos between us all. After the elephant had eventually wandered off into the bush we made our way down to the watering hole, in which there was another lone bull elephant cooling himself off in the water. After our safari finished we went for breakfast and spent the rest of the day sunbathing and playing in the pool. Some of the group organised to go on a canoe safari followed by local dancing in a nearby village later in the day, and quite a few of the group ended their night getting impressively drunk and playing ridiculous drinking games back in the rooms. Overnight we had a huge thunderstorm which woke up almost every volunteer; it sounded like it was literally right above our heads, I couldn’t believe how loud it was!
Friday 10th July
Everyone was up early again to meet at 6am for the 4×4 safari where we saw even more elephants, monkeys, warthogs, baboons and antelope, as well as various species of birds. We chilled by the pool again after breakfast and were paid an unexpected visit by a surprise guest… It’s well known that the baboons at Mole are overly confident when it comes to approaching humans for food, but today one of the baboons really pushed his luck! A few of the volunteers and I were sunbathing on the wall by the side of the pool when all of a sudden a baboon appeared behind us looking for food. Emma leapt up screaming and ran and jumped in the pool whilst the rest of us froze in shock and the baboon snatched up the girls’ pack of biscuits! As soon as he’d grabbed his prize the baboon scampered off into the bush whilst the park keepers shooed him off. We all found it hilarious as soon as it had left, and were just discussing what we’d do if he came back when he actually came back! This time, not only Emma, but Dani and Becky all shot up and ran in the pool! I again froze in my place and watched helplessly as the baboon went to the nearest table, picked up a packet of biscuits, tucked them under one arm and then grabbed more food in both his other hands and made off into the bush for good. It was absolutely hilarious and certainly a once in a life time moment! Most of us cracked out the alcohol again tonight to celebrate Aimee’s 21st birthday, despite knowing we’d all regret it when we got up to leave for Kumasi at 4am tomorrow…
Monday 22nd July
I arrived back in Kumasi after having the last week off to attend my graduation in Loughborough, and was warmly greeted by the other staff and my fabulous group of volunteers as soon as they were back from project. We spent the rest of the evening catching up with everything I’d missed over the last week- it sounded like they’d carried on partying all week despite me abandoning them!
Tuesday 23rd July
We left the house around 8am to drive for around an hour to the school that we were doing the library in today. We all worked extra hard today, pleased to have been reunited again, and were thanked by the head teacher and his colleagues who gave us a gift of about 20 pineapples and a mountain of oranges for us to enjoy when we’d finished. It was such a lovely gesture and reinforced the fact that the work we do here really is appreciated. When we got home we all had a flying change and set off to the local pool, Sir Max’s, to cool off, have a few drinks, some shisha and some amazing chicken kebabs!
Wednesday 24th July
We headed out to project around 8am again this morning and worked even harder than yesterday, knowing that today was not only our last library, but the group’s last ever day of work in Ghana- a sad day for all. We finished the library really quickly as it was a fairly small room and decided to go outside and thank Kwame for helping everyone over the last couple of weeks…by smothering him in painty handprints! Once Kwame had been painted, all hell broke loose; practically every volunteer got covered in paint, with the majority of us having a hand print right across our faces! After we got home the volunteers quickly packed their entire luggage up before the other July group arrived. Once they arrived the Kumasi house was absolutely heaving with volunteers with my group of 21, Kenny’s group of 22, the school group of 15 and the entirety of the Thrive Africa staff all staying their overnight before we went to Cape Coast early the next morning- it was amazing!
Thursday 25th July
We left the Kumasi house at 5am to travel the 6 hours to The Oasis Beach Resort at Cape Coast. When we arrived we all dropped our luggage off in the dorm rooms and had a group lunch outside, next to the beach, before the volunteers headed off for the Kakum National Park Canopy Walk. There were some seriously happy (and some slightly scared) faces when everyone returned, having completed the one kilometre walk which is suspended at 40m above ground! We spent the rest of the day paddling in the sea; unfortunately the sea is far too rough to swim properly at Cape Coast, but that doesn’t stop us from cooling off in the shallows, leaping around in the waves like crazy people! After dinner a lot of the 43 volunteers started chatting, drinking and dancing at the resort bar, in true July Group style!
Friday 26th July
After a rare treat of a lie-in until 10am we all stumbled out of bed to get breakfast from the resort bar/restaurant we said a sad farewell to some of the volunteers that were leaving for Accra that morning. There were lots of group photos and quite a few tears as the first few members of The Dreamteam left, as we had all grown so close over the last month and all knew that this was the beginning of the end. The rest of us spent the afternoon mourning our losses and wandering through town buying trinkets and souvenirs to take home. After dinner we, again, cracked open the vodka and proceeded to get rather merry for our last night in Ghana together. The night consisted of a lot of drinking, chatting and dancing on the bar, with most of us hitting the hay around 2am. It was an incredible night to finish on. I’m going to seriously miss these guys!
Saturday 27th July
After a final supper (brunch) and more tearful farewells with the last of my volunteers, Bright, Benji and I took two of the buses and 18 of the volunteers to Accra for their flights that evening. After we’d said goodbye to everyone who was leaving tonight Maxwell and I headed into the arrivals lounge to greet the next group of volunteers who were landing this evening. We picked up the first 10 volunteers for the August group then drove to a local hotel to stay overnight before we drive back to Kumasi first thing in the morning.