Mar(k): Travel, Hiking, and "Doing Good"

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

Northern Learnings

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These were the hand picked children who attended the Northern Region Youth in Journalism workshop.

The second “Youth in Journalism” workshop that we did was for the Northern Region. This was lucky for us, as we live in the Northern Region, so travel was not required. In fact, the conference facility we used was just up the road; a convenient five minute bike ride from home. As with just about everything we do in Ghana, the workshop was filled with learnings, not only for the students, but for us as well!

This time, one of the things we learnt was that it is difficult to take children out of school, when they should be in classes, as was the case with our original 3 day workshop series. This follow up workshop was done while the students were on their summer break. But this presented its own challenges. Many of the students come into major towns like Tamale during the school term, but return to their remote villages during the holidays. So it was more of an exercise in herding cats!

We finally got started around 9:30 with only 6 of the 10 students present. About an hour or so later, two more strolled in; the final two arrived by 1 pm (we wrapped up at 3 pm). Nonetheless, we were happy to eventually have a full complement of students!

Another big learning was related to the timing of Ramadan (which began a few days ago). Here in the north, about 70% of the population is Muslim. And fair enough – 7 out of the 10 students were fasting. So we needed to be sensitive about distributing water, snacks and lunch. Although the students were able to take away their lunch to eat after sunset, it was nonetheless difficult for us; although I think we felt more uncomfortable than the students did!

The lunch served was the always popular jollof rice and guinea fowl. Of the four students who ate at lunchtime, we noticed that three of them actually took some food (usually the guinea fowl) with them. When we questioned this, they advised that they were taking it home to share with brothers / sisters. Meat is highly sought after, and the fact that these kids were willing to share with their siblings was beautiful.

Although the kids may have learnt about editing skills and what it takes to be a good journalist, we learnt a lot about the importance of sharing, and how precious such opportunities like these workshops really are to the students.

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Written by Mar(k)

September 9, 2010 at 10:08 am

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