West Africa

Written by Sarindi Aryasinghe and Kali Burnell, 2014 West Africa: Global Health Program Leaders. We spent our first few days in Ghana in a small village in the Volta Region called Wli. It was at this endearing and welcoming place where we opened ourselves to each other as we were experiencing similar physical and mental challenges. Some of us played competitive sports, trained daily, and were extremely fit, while some of us haven't jogged in years. Regardless, we all hiked up the tallest waterfall in West Africa together and through the sweat, pain, and bug bites, we encouraged each other and supported one another from start to end. By the end of the hike, we were no longer a group of strangers, but 13 girls who had each others' backs.

Written by Lauren Hauszner, 2014 West Africa Grassroots Education. Living in Canada I often hear stories of slums in faraway places, stricken by poverty or affected by war. In my mind, I have created a perception of what these places look like. Starving children with bloated tummies, surrounding their pregnant mothers wrapped in brightly colored pieces of cloth. Men with guns or weapons ready to fight at any given moment. The elderly mixed in the crowd sitting around just waiting for the day to pass; waiting until they are moved back to their homes. A sense of hopelessness is painted on the faces of everyone. This is what penetrates my mind based off of what I know from home. However, visiting a community classified as a slum was a much different experience for me. On a wet and muddy day, our Grassroots Education team went to visit Old Fadama. This is the largest slum in Ghana and is home to around 80,000 people; 61,000 of which are children. Before entering the slum I had this vision in my mind of what it will be like, but not long after arriving, a much more exciting and colorful picture has replaced my own vision.

Do you have what it takes to be thrown into a mission where you must  get locals to partake in lending you crabs for crab racing pleasure, fillet a fish, or roam around the unknown market of Elmina to find the one and only fisher...