Posts Tagged With: Girls Globe

Ghana: 1 Year Reflection & New Adventures

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This month marks one year since I left for Ghana. I’ve been missing it a lot – the place, the people, the weather. Thinking back and remembering where I was at this time last year, when everything was so new. I’ve sat down a few times to write a retrospective, looking back on my time in Ghana and I can’t seem to find the words. I’m confident that they will come, they’re just not here yet, or at least they aren’t organized. I know that the experience was life changing – as cliché as that sounds. I came home older, more sure of myself and more patient than I was when I left.

It has also opened up many new doors. I started this blog as a way to keep family and friends updated about what and how I was doing in Ghana. But I was absolutely blown away when I realised that people I don’t even know from places I’ve never been were reading. For someone who never liked anyone else reading her writing – this was huge. In a lot of ways, I think that Ghana helped me to find my voice and encouraged me to use it.

Near the end of my internship I heard about a blog called Girls’ Globe through Twitter. Their aim was to raise awareness about issues impacting women and girls across the world and they were looking for bloggers. I contacted Julia the founder and soon joined the team. If you’ve been followed this blog, you know that I’m particularly passionate about gender issues; being the gender advisor for the Ghana YMCA and all. I was so excited by Julia’s vision for the blog and couldn’t see myself not being a part of the movement she was trying to start.

But there was something else that compelled me to add my voice to this women’s rights advocacy platform. Being in the field of development I find that the voices of the very women we are trying to advocate for are not given the same platform to tell their own stories as we give to others trying to tell the story for them.

As a woman of colour born in a developing country and raised in a community of strong women of colour, I feel compelled to throw my hat in the ring and contribute to this discourse on behalf of my mother, my aunts, sisters, my cousins and especially my grandmothers. I find that the struggles of girls and women in our communities aren’t given the same attention as others. So as a blogger for Girls’ Globe, I try to use our platform to talk about things that are close to my heart. I haven’t quite figured out what my physical presence as a woman of colour in this movement means, but I know that it’s significant, at least to me.

And so begins my next adventure. And as with most of my adventures, there is the possibility of travel. The Girls’ Globe team has a fantastic opportunity to attend the Women Deliver conference in Malaysia this May. It will give us (the 12 blogger team) the chance to meet each other, to network with others working to promote the rights of women and girls around the world, and to listen to some pretty high profile guest speakers. I am amazed at how life seems to always lay these fantastic opportunities along my path. I’m just doing my best to recognize and take advantage of them.

In order to go to Women Deliver, Girls’ Globe launched a fundraising campaign and we only have three days left to reach our goal of $12,000USD. Your support would mean the world to me, you can check out the campaign here.

Thank you’s & some Girls’ Globe supporters

This blog is called Collecting Stamps because I set a goal for myself to fill my passport with stamps before it expires in 2014. So far I’ve already surpassed the pages filled in my previous passport with just under a year to go. I am looking forward to the adventures that will accompany the new stamps.

I will leave you with this quote from my twitter friend Amina (aka @sheRoxLox), which is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read:

I write for all of you nomad traveller women. My Grandmama. My Mama. Me. I write for you – women who travel fearlessly with *home* on their backs. The one’s who traverse all corners of the globe meeting, touching, learning, sharing, living, loving, breathing, being. I write for all of you nomad traveller women who have given me the courage, bravery (and ability) to get up and go…to see the world. To see its colours. To taste its fruit. To breathe its air. To touch its people…because the world is much too much to be ignored by women like us, too beautiful, too big, too much for women like us. I write for all of you nomad traveller women journeying far and wide but also finding comfort and solace within. I write as much for you as I write for me. I write because I am slowly beginning to understand that *for a woman to travel can be a feminist act.* I write for the strength of our backs and for the weight of our feet. I write for global communities, movements and love spaces. I write for us all. I write for love.

You can read about her journey here

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Tearful Goodbyes

This morning, I greeted the woman who comes into my compound to sell bread and teared up at the thought that there will be no woman with a basket of bread on top of her head coming to my door in Canada (If you know where I can sign up for such a service, please let me know).  My days in Ghana are numbered and I’m a bit of a mess.  In general I’m in denial about leaving on Friday; I don’t want to think about it, but I kind of have to. For the past few weeks, every time I walk down my street and stop to talk to my neighbours I feel such sadness at having to leave them.  If you know me, you know that whenever I travel, I get attached.  Some people are attached to things, I get attached to places and people with beautiful spirits.

For all the things that drive me nuts about Ghana, Ghanaians are making this goodbye very difficult.  On my way to work, I stopped to buy waakye for breakfast and a man at the street stall recognized me from my morning jogs: “You’re the woman who runs every morning, I see you and I’m the one always here waving you on.  One morning I will come run with you small”. When I told him that I’m leaving on Friday, without hesitation he said that he would host a going away party for me tomorrow.  Then my taxi driver, who is an usher at his church, pulled out two wedding invitations and extended invites to me.

And that has been my experience with Ghanaians, so welcoming.  I don’t know if the impromptu going away party will happen, but the offer really touched me.  The same way that my co-workers’ plans for a big send-off party on Friday before my flight is incredibly touching.  Though I shouldn’t be surprised at either offer – Ghanaians love a good party.

I will write another post about reflections on leaving soon, but in the meantime, I think I have some explaining to do for not posting more often. I can only blame so much on the load shedding and lack of electricity.  Here is what I have been up to while neglecting my blog for the past few weeks (months?):

  • Still blogging! In addition to writing for Verge Magazine, I’ve started a new blogging gig for Girls’ Globe, a website dedicated to advocating for the rights of Women and Girls around the world.  I’m super excited about it and I will continue to write for them when I’m home. If you’re on Twitter, follow us @girlsglobe and like the page on facebook: facebook.com/girlsglobe.  Click here to see my profile on the website, and here to read my first post.
  • I’ve made a couple of videos since I’ve been here. Go to my YouTube channel! One is connected to my post for Girls’ Globe and the other is of two Ghanaian youth talking about what a typical day is like for them.  Quite different from how most North American teens spend their days.
  • Finishing up my work for the YMCA. I’ve accepted that this isn’t going to happen while I’m here. Things have just started really moving forward on my project in the last few weeks.  There is so much I want to get done and not enough time, so I’ve decided that some things (like a gender mainstreaming manual I’m working on) I will finish back in Canada.  Since I don’t have a job lined up, I will have the time to properly tie up loose ends.
  • On that note – I’m looking for a job! Hire me. Please. I’m fabulous; I promise 🙂 Seriously, I have been job hunting, which is a job in and of itself.  I’m hoping that my next project/adventure is just around the corner.
  • Lastly, I’ve been enjoying my time in Ghana. Seeing as much as I can, attending weddings and funerals and getting my fill of trotro rides.  I also had a photographer friend take some pictures for me to remember my time in Ghana by. Check out some of them here.

Though I’m leaving Ghana, my blog isn’t going to die just yet.  I still have a lot to write about my time here and have a few unfinished posts that I started and will post when I’m at home.

With Mexico, the former YMCA Technical School principal, just before heading to the wedding of one of the YMCA members

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