08 Aug Challenging Ourselves Mentally and Physically in Ghana
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.
Our physical challenge pales in comparison to the mental challenge we faced as a group the following night. As part of orientation, we explored issues regarding global health, voluntourism, sustainability, proper allocation of resources, “white privilege”, but more importantly, how we can dispel these common stereotypes by being conscientious and sensitive backpactivists. It was truly an eye opening experience to hear fellow volunteers’ thoughts on ‘voluntourism’; to not only contribute different ideas but challenge each other, and in turn, expand our own perspectives.
There’s much more that lies ahead and we can’t wait to share that with you!
2014 West Africa: Global Health