An Overdue Introduction

Hello and welcome to our series of blog posts on the CBR website! Our sincere apologies for waiting until the last few weeks to release our updates. On the bright side, now that we are settled into this community and wrapping up our group and individual work, we are more able to communicate a robust message regarding our effect on this organization and the community as well as the effect this entire experience has had on us.

A brief introduction; My name is Jared (Jerry in Ghana). I am an International Development student from The University of Calgary and am completing my student internship here at Presbyterian CBR. My specific interests and talents lie in community development and results based project planning. I am partnered with two other incredibly talented student interns Jason and Lili. Jason is an International Development student who has already been to Ghana. He gained regional and experiential knowledge volunteering in Chiana and has been able to bring that knowledge and passion for the region into our work this summer. Lili is an Environmental Design student who has an amazing ability to integrate herself into the inner social dynamics of this community. The information she has gained pertaining to our work has always come from the mouths of the one’s our work is concerning. She truly has a heart for the people of Sandema as well as the greater community of Ghana’s Upper East Region.

I will briefly summarize some of the projects we have completed as well as others that we are still wrapping up. First of off we began looking into possible avenues for the construction of a hostel dedicated to the ongoing and fruitful relationship between UofC and CBR. After this we engaged the active Self Help Groups and Disabled People’s Organization with a qualitative interview session. The purpose of this interview was to inform a research paper we completed for Christoffel Blinden Mission (CBM) regarding the experiences of persons with disabilities (PWD) in their respective communities. Upon completion of this paper (that was received with great appreciation by CBM) we embarked on the project proposal that called for extended funding for CBR’s Survival Yards project. We applied results based techniques to convey a clear and concise scope and set of objectives and in the end, pooled our resources and knowledge to produce an elaborate document. Our group has also engaged the community by becoming a member of the White Pigeons, the Presbyterian church’s young adults group. Their slogan is “Service all the Way.” We have been blown away by their ability to act out their words in their own community.

With the last three weeks of our time in Sandema, Jason, Lili and I plan on completing our personal research on sustainable farming techniques, gender roles within the agricultural sector and rainwater collection (respectively). A project idea that I am looking into is a breakfast program for JSS school children. The current political situation has left a void that had been previously filled, thus effecting the overall performance of students in school. This would be a gigantic project, and further research has to be conducted concerning issues of dependency, but it still stands as a point of interest. Jason also wants to conduct meetings with various groups of CBR clients to get a more complete understanding about sanitation and health and how these two are intricately linked. Jason will also be learning about the level of first aid understanding and distributing first aid kits to households in the community after teaching them how to properly utilize the contents. Lili is using money that she has raised to help two clef pallet patients and one tumor patient through the process of reconstructive surgery at the Tamale Teaching Hospital. She is currently at the hospital in Tamale with one client awaiting surgery (which will be happening today).

Overall we have received far more from this experience than any amount we have contributed. This community has welcomed us with open arms and we hope that our presence here has strengthened UofC and CBR’s relationship as well as the UofC interns relationship with the Upper East Region of Ghana and special relationship with the community of Sandema.