So...it's been almost a month since I've arrived in Accra.
I'm really enjoying volunteering for CEPEHRG (Centre for Pupular Education and Human Rights). Apart from teaching human rights in schools, I also help with the Interactive Theatre project and do whatever else they need, from computer training to fundraising.
Even though the NGO is not very well organised they are lovely and very open to any suggestion. I feel very lucky as some my housemates are treated really badly in their organisations. Incredible, but true.
Working here is such a different experience. It can be frustrating at times, as more often than not things don't work, people are ridiculously late, there is no electricity or water, but generally speaking I find it immensly rewarding.
I'm planning to visit the Volta region, Elmina, Cape Coast and the Ashanti region partly in the weekends and partly towards the end of my staying, as I have the last week off. It brakes my heart to leave this beautiful continent in just over a month but I am sure I'll return in the not-so-distant future.
The people here are really friendly and generous (e.g. they always share their food even if they haven't eaten for days). Unfortunately some have an inferiority complex due to centuries of domination and slavery. It's really sad.
On a more positive note though they are always happy, smiling and enthusiastic. Also really curious about us "obroni" (white people) and very keen to marry any of us :-) Dad don't worry, I always kindly decline the offer.
They combine the Christian religion (in a way closer to bigotry than spirituality, I would say) with their traditions. It is really interesting to see how superstition and Jesus go hand in hand.
Women count nothing here but things are slowly changing. More and more girls get educated and most microeconomics projects (loans to new businesses) are addressed to women, as they proved (and keep proving) to be reliable hard workers.
The women's level of self esteem is still very low as the concept of having rights is still very blurred.
This becomes pretty obvious in school. For example, during the last lesson we discussed female mutilation and I asked the school girls why they thought it was wrong. Many reasons were given but they were all related to the physical consequences of it (e.g. bleeding to death, potential infertility etc). Not a single girl thought it was a violation of their right to security and integrity. Sadly, this is because not a single girl had the feeling of owning her own body. I found this heart breaking but I also felt very privileged to be there and do something about it.
I look forward to next week as they will present the human right project they carried out in their community.
In the meantime, you can find in the photos thier really interesting comments/questions on human rights.
Will keep you posted...