Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Waste water...why does it matter?

Cycling to work every morning never gets easier; the thick sand makes cycling more of a chore, which is made even harder in the presence of the hot rising sun and the dry, dusty air. When we finally meet the smooth track of the main road it then becomes an obstacle course of giant potholes and steering around the many people and bicycles coming our way.

While I struggle to cycle the relatively short distance from my home to the office, I see women carrying huge basins of water on their heads, walking swiftly without spilling a drop, all the while their babies sleep soundly, tied to their backs. How far is she having to carry that water? How often does she have to do this? And how in the world is she carrying it all without spilling it?!

Local women walking back from fetching water.
They have to travel quite far with the heavy containers. 

It is currently the dry season in Ghana, otherwise known as Harmattan, and the shortage of water in the area means many pumps are running dry and some local taps have even been turned off.  This is the first time in my life that I have been excited about the thought of rain.

In a climate like this, it is hard to believe that water covers 70.9% of the Earth’s surface. Of this, 97% of water on Earth is salt water, whilst water found in lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, swamps, etc. accounts for only 0.3% of the worlds fresh water. The rest is trapped in glaciers on in the ground-too far down for most of the water pumps in Savelugu to reach.

Broken water pump in one of our communities, the area is
not well maintained and is a long walk from the community.

All the communities that we work with here in Savelugu have ongoing problems with their water sources. The bore holes and pumps they have installed are easily damaged, and not so easily repaired. Some communities even find that their source of ‘drinking water’ soon becomes salty. These unreliable sources of water keep the community member alive in many ways; the water is not just for drinking, but is also used during rice production, for making soap and throughout the processes of producing shea butter.

These same communities are advised to irrigate their land by recycling their waste water, to use their water sensibly and not to take advantage of their limited supply. So why don’t we all do that at home? Why don’t we value the water we have as much as they are expected to? In many countries around the world people complain about regular rainfall, and don’t think twice about their easy access to clean drinking water. If we all started valuing water a bit more, then maybe we could improve the availability of clean water for more people around the world.

Dam in Savelugu where many people fetch water for washing, cooking and drinking

748 million people still do not have access to an improved source of drinking water, and some 1.8 billion people in the world continue to drink water that is contaminated with faeces. 2.5 billion people do not have use of an improved sanitation facility. Maybe these all just look like some random statistics that don’t affect you, but if you were one of these millions and billions of people who relied on unsafe wastewater to drink, clean and cook with, maybe you would think twice about how you use the water available to you.

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly designated the date of March 22nd as the first World Water Day. This day is not just for awareness raising on water issues, but should also be a day we celebrate the water we have. Today is a day to be thankful, not only for the water sources around us, but also the fact that this incredibly versatile substance keeps our human bodies alive! Water is one of the most common substances on this earth, and continues to be one of the most vital. It is a tremendously valuable resource, one we are very guilty of squandering and polluting prodigiously.

By 2030 The United Nations aims to have reached all 17 of their sustainability goals, one of which is to ensure access and clean water and sanitation for all people. Despite the high percentage of wastewater in the world, there is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this! As impossible as it seems, there has been improvement in water quality globally; between 1990-2015, the proportion of the global population using an improved drinking water source has increased by 15%. This goes to show that we can make positive change to the way we use water, if we can get more people to realise how valuable water is to sustaining all life on this Earth.

Our office door decorated with our Water Day posters! 

Written by Rachel Morgan

 (sources: UN.org, UN World Water Day; EPA Water Sense; EPA Water, treehugger.com)

Thursday, 16 March 2017

The Northern Tree

    This tree is not just a tree; it is a source of income for many people. The value of this tree in Northern Ghana is superior, for this reason most communities have put a ban on the cutting down of this tree to signify its importance. Its fruit is a very nutritious nut and after eating this fruit the seed is not thrown away this is because it contains an important commodity that needs to be extracted for Shea butter. This tree is called the Shea tree which in the Northern language is called the ‘Taan Tia’. Shea butter is a traditional butter mostly found in West Africa, it’s been used for many centuries         
Shea nut tree

Today, we take a look at Shea butter processing as one of the income generation activities that our income generation groups are into, their challenges and the returns they gain from it.
        Shea butter is extracted from Shea nuts. The nuts are mostly picked by women during the raining season, between the periods of August to October.
The fresh fruits are boiled and allowed to dry, they then crush it to remove the kernel from the hard outer shell. The crushed nuts are then pounded to smaller particles using a local mortar and pestle. They then fry the pounded nuts. The nuts are then grinded into Shea paste. Water is then added to the paste and mixed by hand until the butter suspends on top of the water. The butter is washed continuously until it becomes white. The raw butter is then boiled until it becomes pure Shea butter. The pure Shea better is then scooped out levering the residue. The hot Shea butter is then allowed to cool and solidified before it is sent to the market.
Rahama and Louis stirring shea butter with Madama Habibata
Madame Habibata scooping out shea butter
      A woman in the Shea butter business said they sometimes get bitten by snakes and stung by scorpions in the bush when they go to pick the nuts. She has been in the Shea butter business over ten years now and it has been her main source of income, however she says getting ready market for her product has been a major challenge, because it takes her a long time to sell her products. This makes it difficult to save money to increase her production capacity. She will like to join a co-operative in order to promote her business. The North has so many potential cash crops that when these crops are utilized to its fullness, they would have greatly helped in the reduction of poverty in the three Northern regions. The Shea fruit is used for making soap, as a lubricant for vehicles and other heavy duty machines and also used for cooking. Shea nut is used in almost every household in the Northern part of Ghana. 

The three Northern regions are the poorest in the country, however, surprising the usage of Shea products has spread far and wide nationally and globally. It is however surprising that a community with a very important cash crop as the Shea tree is wallowing in poverty. This can be attributed to behavioural attitudes of the people and some government policies that are not so favourable to the economic fortunes of the North. Shea butter is mixed with chocolate to give it that smooth taste in the mouth. Around 95 percent of all Shea products are used by companies such as NestlĂ© and The Hershey Company as a substitute for cocoa butter, to create the melt-in-your-mouth texture and clean snap consumers associate with good chocolate (the Chronicle news paper, August 19, 2015). 

The market for Shea butter has doubled in the past 10 years, according to the Global Shea Alliance, which is based in Ghana’s capital, Accra. That demand has sent the price of unrefined Shea butter soaring, from around $900 a metric tonne before the year 2000, to an average of $2000 over the past three years. Last year, after a bad harvest, prices reached a high of $4000 a tonne as demand outstripped supply (the chronicle news paper, August 19, 2015).  

Adamu is a 65-year old woman from Sagnarigu Dungu, a community in Ghana’s Northern Region. She has been working with the Sangnarigu Women’s Shea Butter Group for 12 years. After getting married, she began producing Shea butter on her own. "I used to make about GHC 6.OO (US$3.00) a month, but now I earn approximately GHC 50.00 (US$25.00) a month", she said, during emergencies, she goes to sell some Shea butter at the local market. This has drastically reduced her borrowing and improved savings (UNDP, Success story from undp.org).

Shea butter
The Shea butter processing venture is an economic activity that can boost the local economy of the North and this Northern tree has over the years survived the harsh weather conditions of northern Ghana. The Shea butter produced is not only highly valuable, but is a core ingredient to local life in Northern Ghana, not only for the global consumers but also for the Ghanaian people that benefit from this wonderful and natural tree.                                     

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

#BeBoldForChange : Team Savelugu Celebrating Women

The banana seller near our office
For 104 years, International Women’s Day has been celebrated on March 8th. This day is not just about working towards gender equality, it’s also a time to recognise the achievements and contributions of women all around the world. When in the UK we talk about successful women, we usually think of politicians, CEOs and celebrities. While women in Ghana do achieve in these areas, being here has made me think about other ways in which women can be successful and how narrow my concept of a businesswoman has been.

A businesswoman isn’t always someone in a crisp suit who heads board meetings. The woman who comes by our office with a basket of cloth on her head is a businesswoman, as is the woman at the stall where we buy yam and beans for lunch. Independent businesswomen are a key part of the economy of Savelugu; we see them at the market and all around the town, selling fruit, noodles, rice, shea butter and so on. Businesses don’t have to involve more than one person or be formally structured to be significant. The informal entrepreneurship I have observed in rural Ghanaian women is very different to the businesses I encounter at home in the UK.

Despite its vital importance to society, stereotypically ‘feminine’ work, such as childcare and food preparation, (which is of course not always done by women) is often not valued as highly as it should be. With translation help from my fellow volunteer Rahama, I spoke to a woman who sells bananas near our office (photo right)

For six years, she has been selling bananas that her sister brings from Sunyani, the capital of the Brong-Ahafo Region. She spoke about how difficult it can be for her to make a profit.

Women all over the world, especially in less equal societies, face the challenge of dealing with multiple economic and domestic expectations. This balancing act isn’t always just metaphorical; it is a common sight here to see women carrying their wares on their heads and their babies on their backs. 
A local yam seller: another example of an independent businesswoman
We recognise and appreciate the work done by women; mothers, sisters, workers, carers, friends, leaders and all the other endless roles and standards that women uphold. We wanted to illustrate just how much gratitude we have for all the women worldwide and their forgotten and ignored pains and struggles that without which the world wouldn’t function in the same way. As a team, we concluded that for International Women’s Day-we must make it big!

Simone preparing for the march
For the day of the 8th, we as a team organised a march with the local community in Savelugu. To enlarge the crowd and ensure the event was successful we decided to liaise with Savelugu senior high school and collaborated with them so we were all to march on the day. At 9am we arrived at the school. It was more than what any of us could have anticipated, the students were all prepared and revved up for our march, and to increase the spirits (and noise) they brought along their band of drums.

The experience was amazing and exhilarating, as us volunteers marched alongside students and community people, all united as one for International Women’s Day. There was singing, chanting, clapping and most importantly, dancing. Our presence through the streets of Savelugu was something else, and with other locals along the roadside dancing cheering and joining in, we were definitely being noticed.

After the march, we thanked everyone who took part, and a speech was given to the students about the importance of the actual day. We made sure that the message of International Women’s Day hadn’t been lost or forgotten through all the fun we had been having during the march. Ending on the quote by Mr James Aggrey, ‘if you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate the whole nation’, which all the school children knew!

It was a really empowering movement on a whole and I honestly couldn’t have pictured things to have gone any smoother- it exceeded all our expectations. International Women’s Day is important, but it is also important that we don’t overlook the roles carried out by women, and that we learn to appreciate them more in our everyday lives.
Team Watermelon walking through Savelugu with local students

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

"Ab-what? Abstain!"

Team member Louis, from Upper East Ghana, talking to the
students of Savelugu Senior High 
Issues of sexual and reproductive health have become a global concern, this is a result of the low education of youth in respect to sexual health education. In Ghana, sexual health has until recent times not received much attention from the public, even in our educational institutions. This has led to high incidences of sexual health related issues, especially among the youth in the country.
What then is sexual reproductive health? Sexual reproductive health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system. It implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life, the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when, and how often to do so.

Louis at the Senior High School
In Ghana, perspectives on sexual reproductive health provides the latest peer-reviewed policy, relevant research and analysis on sexual reproductive health on teenage pregnancy risk, contraceptives and others.
The lack of understanding of contraceptives and safe sex is widespread throughout the country, due to the low education of the youth in respect to sexual health. Contraceptives are therefore an agent or device intended to prevent conception. Modern contraceptives use is uncommon, with more than one third of women reported ever using abstinence, condoms, injectable and pills were the most commonly reported modern methods ever used. How can one maintain sexual and reproductive health? People need access to accurate information and acceptable contraceptives method of their choice. Many organisations such as the UNDP/UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO, WORLD BANK and others have issued new selected contraceptives recommendations for use. On the 14 December 2016, this publication was one of WHO’s evidence based guidance documents to support and strengthen national contraceptives/family planning programmes.
Teenage pregnancy is another great factor that has become a global issue in the country, this is as a result of the poor education of the youth in respect to sexual health. In Ghana, teenage pregnancy has not received much attention from the public and even in our educational institutions. Teenage pregnancy is a pregnancy in female age between 13-19 which is understood to occur in a girl who hasn’t completed her core education, secondary school, or no marketable skills. All these issues arise due to lack of parental care, broken homes, peer influence, financial difficulties etc. In Ghana, this issue rises every day and young girls are victims of this. There is not any curriculum in the senior high level to educate this young girls on how to prevent themselves from this social act. Teenage pregnancy has led to numerous abortion in the country were many lives has been lost. Abortion rates drop in more developing countries but fail to improve in developing countries.

Team Savelugu after their presentation at the school
In comparison, 15-24-year old’s in the UK experience around two thirds of all STI diagnosed within medical clinics. Similar to Ghana, this is due to the lack of sexual health education in schools. The government aims to improve sexual health and wellbeing to the whole population, and providing a lasting education plan that focuses completely on the sexual and reproductive health. To do this, there must be a reduction on inequalities and growth of sexual health outcomes such as, building an honest and open culture where everyone can make informed and responsible choices about relationships and sex. Also, recognise that sexual ill health can affect all parts of society. Comparatively to the Ghanaian government, the UK have focused more on sexual health matters, and from April 2013, the commissioning of sexual health services changed. Significant progress has already been made in improving sexual health. Teenage pregnancy rates have fallen to their lowest levels since records began. Access to services have been improved through the expansion and integration of service delivery outside of specialist services, particularly in the common and general practice. Comparing the difference of sexual health education from the UK to Ghana shows a significant gap, everyone must work together to achieve the global ambition to improve sexual and reproductive health and make a real difference to the lives of others.
On the 12 of May 2016, new estimates, published today in the lancet, indicate that the induced abortion rates have declined significantly in develop countries between 1990 and 2014 but not in developing countries such as Ghana. Many organisations are putting on much effort to help curb this problem. Mr Nuuri-Teg a sexual educator advises the youth especially girls to try as much as possible to seek information on sexual related issues to avoid teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS.

Overall, much attention needs to be put on to help curb this sexual and reproductive issues in the country.  The government can create a platform for young girls in the remote villages to be educated on their sexual and reproductive health and also on how to abstain from them.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Savelugu's Top 6

So, team Savelugu are now half way through their placement; we’ve all had some great experiences over the last 6 weeks. Two of our amazing team members, Hannah, from Scotland, and Shirley, from the central region in Ghana, are here to tell you their top 3 moments of what’s gone on in Savelugu so far! Hope you all enjoy!


Hannah with her host brother and sister,
Kobby and Grace 
1. For me, one of the best things about Savelugu is all the children. Being so far away from home in an entirely different culture, it’s no wonder that sometimes I do get a little bit lonely. The thing that  makes this easiest to deal with is the kids; especially my younger host brother and sister. Kobby, 7, and Grace, 3, are always so happy to see  me when I come home from work. We spend evenings talking about my home, their home, and  playing traditional Ghanaian games. Their excitement is such a pick me up!

      2. One other thing that I love about here in Savelugu is the food. I am incredibly fussy back home, but coming here has widened my taste  palette. My host mum has been brilliant about catering to my likes and dislikes, and I look forward to dinner every night! I’ve tried many new traditional Ghanaian foods, such as TZ, fufu and banku. Although they are not to my tastes, I am glad I've tried things that I wouldn’t usually get back home.

3.    3. Finally, one other thing I love about living in Savelugu is living with my counterpart, Sylvia. She is from the Volta region in Ghana, and sometimes I don’t know what I would do without her. Whether it’s getting sandy stains out my white t-shirts, or getting rid of cockroaches and lizards from our washroom, she does it all without even blinking an eye. We wash our clothes once every weekend, and we use this time to talk about each other’s home lives; whether that be about religion, jobs or the future. Living with Sylvia has been amazing, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next half of the placement brings.

Hannah, Shauna and Sylvia at mid term in February 

S   Shirley:
Shirley at Savelugu Senior High School giving a talk on
sexual health 

I came on placement with high hopes and this is the 6th week and I have not regretted joining ICS. These are some of my best experiences on placement so far;

1. One of my very best experiences and times I look up to on this placement is coming back from work to meet my host brothers and sisters all hearty and ready to ask me how my day went. Also, later in the evenings on most days, helping my host mothers to cook supper. This experience has rather been an eye opener for me because I have had the opportunity to learn new culinary skills and learn more about my host family’s culture. This is absolutely my home away from home!

2. Placement is all about working and helping the vulnerable in the society. So, it gladdened my heart when my teammates and I met with women from the various communities we are working in and sensitized them on the need to take very good care of their water sources so that their produce will be of good quality hence bring them more income which will better their lives. There was a resource person from World Vision who also reiterated the need to practice the maintenance culture so that whatever water source they have will last long for the future generation. It was a great time with the women as they all welcomed the idea of water sustainability and were ever ready now to make the most out of their water resources.
Rachel, Shirley and Sylvia at the water
sensitization for our communities 
3. Six weeks into placement has been both fun and educational. As part of event days on the ICS calendar, International Day of Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness was celebrated at the Savelugu Senior High School and that was a very successful event held. There were several talks on teenage pregnancy, the use of contraception and sexually transmitted infections. Since we were talking to young adults, more emphasis was laid on the need to abstain from premarital sex which can hamper their education. Statistics were given on the rate of teenage pregnancy, use of contraceptives and STI’s across Northern Ghana. There also was a drama session to crown the whole activity on that day.  The feedback was awesome which indicated that the education given on that day will linger on these youth’s mind and will help them in their daily living. Thanks to the wonderful teamwork done by every member of our team. 

These are some of the best moment so far - we look forward to seeing what the rest of the placement brings!! :)

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Dancing for the Chief and speaking out on radio, just another week for team Savelugu!

In the week following Monday 6th February, team Savelugu had a lot planned, from watching a chief become enskinned, having their first of the two live radio shows and visiting a local school. The week was full of planning and preparation, and it led to three successful events. Simone and Sylvia have explained these events through their joint blog for this week- enjoy!

 Simone: Cycling up to ‘Might FM’ was the first challenge of many on Thursday morning, the uphill ride left us all breathless as we all pulled up outside the large, pale green building. Stood in the middle of an open spaced area, just off the side of the road, the radio centre was unlike most buildings around; and we all took in the fact that within half an hour we would be live on radio. Stepping into the room the aircon hit me, and I felt as though I had stepped into a large fridge, because in comparison to the 38-degree heat outside- it was pretty cold. Never-the-less, I felt grateful to have been given the privilege to have a 30-min live radio slot- an experience that is completely new to me, and something that I possibly may never do again.

After going live and being introduced by the host, Mr Yaro, we all got the chance to personally introduce ourselves as individuals and say where we come from. We split our team into two groups, one of which did the radio show today, and the next will do it in some weeks to come, so as the first team, we had to ensure we gave Cohort 6 the best first impression possible. Throughout the sit-in, we got the chance to inform the audience about our project, ranging from information regarding ICS as a whole, NFED- our partners, and the work both us, Cohort 6, and previous cohorts have done. We spoke about the community women we work with, and the main challenges and issues that they as cooperatives face.
We as a team, along with Mr Yaro, discussed a variety of topics, for example; the mentality of the community women. This was an interesting point, as often volunteers are thought to simply parade through a deprived area throwing cash at people, but we spoke about this point and made it clear that our role here is purely to guide and facilitate movement towards more sustainable income. These topics are vitally important, and with our Dagbanli speaker translating, we were hopefully able to get a number of important issues across to the whole audience. All in all, it was a highly successful trip, and all 5 of us who took part thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Sylvia: On the 8th of February 2017, the fantastic cohort of Savelugu NFED-ICS had the greatest opportunity to the Yoo Naa’s palace to have a real experience on how the culture of enskinment was performed in the Northern Region. It was a great and a blessed day for the UKV’s and some of the ICV’s because that was their first time of witnessing such a wonderful and great feast.

Before the cohort arrived at the chief palace a lot of people were already there some dancing and some also with their local guns, waiting for the over-lord, and the new chief. In a few minutes the new chief arrived with his elders of the community, as they were also warmly welcomed and took their sit, the over-lord was highly welcomed too with his elders where some were at his back and others in front of him, which shows that they were all protecting and guiding him. As the king step out of the royal palace to the playing ground everybody from the royal palace to the bowed down before him, which I was amazed of because I do see all this in movies but this time it was real. A lot of praises where made to the king through singing and drumming.

After, the over-lord took his seat, the rites then started. The elders brought the new chief to be enskinned. The over -lord prays; he asked the good lord to give him knowledge, wisdom and understanding to rule his kingdom very well. When he finished praying then he wears a new smock and hat then he is enskinned as a chief of his community. The drummers then drum for the new chief to dance.

After the enskinment finished, some money was collected from the people and replaced by a cola-nut which means the chief has been accepted by the community. When all this is done the over -lord blessed the people and went back to his palace. Then the new chief goes back to his community to continue the feast there. Before the king could leave the palace ground Simone, a UKV, and I were invited to dance for the king - I was  so amazed  by it, and confused because I didn’t know how to dance. Simone went first to exhibit her style of dancing and after that I also went out to show mine. Some of dances were; Gonje, Jara, Kombong waa, Naagbegu. It was a great experience with the people, chiefs and the over-lord who was so, so excited to see us around. When everything was successfully over the lovely and energetic volunteers, both the UKV’s and ICV’s, exhibit their dancing styles and Rachel our UK team leader danced melodically
Dancing for the chief

Monday, 6 February 2017

The Great Environment of Savelugu

Hello everyone! We’ve been in Savelugu for over three weeks now. Here we all (UKVs and ICVs) experience a very different environment to where we’ve come from and what we’re used to.  We’ve had the great pleasure of adapting to many new sights, sounds, smells, and sensations. Through this experience, we’ve learnt many new things. Here, Rahama and Beth share their thoughts on the environment of Savelugu.
The main Savelugu mosque

What I can see here is different from what I have been seeing back at my place. In Tamale, where I am from, people normally use motorbikes, cars and Yellow-Yellows for travels. That makes it look quite different from Savelugu. Walking of children to school is less common in my town because parents send their children to school by motorbikes, some with cars and others put them in Yellow-Yellows to school. Some women in Tamale sometimes carry their children on their backs to school.
Here in Savelugu, I can see children mostly walking to school, people using a Motorking for travelling and that looks differently from my home town. I can also see people always on donkeys, sometimes with water, and women always carrying water on their heads to their places. It has been a good sight for me.
Trees around Savelugu

What I can also feel about the environment of Savelugu is that the weather there looks a little bit different from where I am from. The weather here is good for me being able to sleep well in the night as compared to my home. In the night here, the weather is somehow cool as compared to Tamale and it has given me more and suitable rest in the night, even though it is somehow hot in the afternoon.

Here I can also feel that people are fluent in speaking Dagbani. It is good for me because that is my language. To my UKV friends it has been a difficult task for them, not understanding it, but they always try to speak the greetings. It is just a few things that they cannot understand yet, but I am sure by the end of the three months they will be able to do something.

The sound of Savelugu too is strange. I can hear mostly children calling my friends from the UK ‘Silminga’, asking them for toffee. It is now becoming fun for them but at first, we were all confused about their comments.

What I see: Having lived in a city all my life, it is odd for me to see animals everywhere: goats, chickens, guinea fowl, donkeys and so on… Unlike in the UK, when these animals would usually only live in farms, here they roam around the town. I quite enjoy living in a place where a pregnant goat regularly tries to wander into our office and where no one blinks an eye at having chickens outside the washroom!
Rahama and Beth

What I feel: Adjusting to the hot and dusty weather was quite difficult for me at first. When I said ‘Goodbye’ to the UK, I needed a thick winter coat, but here I am very grateful for the fan in my room and in the office! I now find it very strange to think that back in Sheffield (where I am from), it is cold, wet and cloudy, with temperatures around 5°C. Here the heat is consistently in the mid-30s degree Celsius and it has only rained once since I arrived in Ghana!

What I hear: The sounds of Savelugu are very different to back in the UK. Even just sitting in my shared room in my host home, rather than just traffic, appliances and televisions, I can usually hear goats braying, roosters crowing, music playing nearby, the call to prayer from the local mosque, my many host siblings playing, shouting or singing…
In the UK, it isn’t very common for strangers to say good morning or good afternoon each other, but here we exchange a greeting with almost everyone we pass. I like to think I’ve mastered the Dagbani greetings (Dasiba/Antire/Aniwula = Good morning/afternoon/evening), even if I don’t understand other things people say to me. When in doubt, I just smile and say ‘Naa’.
Whenever we cycle through town, the local children call out to us:“Silminga, Good morning!”. Some of the kids near my host home have even learnt some of our names, so they try to shout Beth (they can’t quite say my name though, so it sounds more like Bac). When I go back to the UK, I will definitely miss being greeted everywhere I go!

The dusty paths of Savelugu are very different to the cities we both come from