From February until March, I had the privilege of travelling to Ghana for the first time, thanks to an organisation called Challenges Worldwide. They bring together young people from around the UK, Ghanaian youths and entrepreneurs from Sub-Saharan Africa to help grow businesses that generate income and achieve sustainable economic growth.
I spent a solid portion of my time in the vibrant garden city of Kumasi, where I lived with a Ghanaian host family. It was an incredible experience to meet, share and hear from many talented, diverse and passionate entrepreneurs. However, I have to say that my most memorable experiences happened when I ventured out of my comfort zone and explored all that Kumasi has to offer.
Here are 4 highlights that made my trip to Ghana unforgettable:
1. The Street food!
Street side grills and food stalls were an everyday thing in Kumasi, I often treated myself to local delicacies such as roasted plantain and the infamous ‘Kelewele’ (fried plantain coated in spices). I loved the grilled sausages, which were prepared using an authentic ‘Soya’ spice mix and served with raw onions. They were good on their own but tasted even better when washed down with a warm Club beer. The traditional Ghanaian staple foods get all the buzz, but the street food is considerably underrated and definitely worth a shout out.
2. The History.
I traveled to Ghana as part of a group of young British nationals, we worked together with Ghanaian counterparts to
support small to medium sized businesses. During the Easter holiday, we took a trip to the former European colonial capital of Cape Coast, where we visited the infamous Elmina castle. Elmina was one of the biggest slave and trade castles on the Ghanaian coastline, today it is a historical museum. We were taken on an intimate tour through the slave dungeons where we experienced what life was like for the prisoners. We learned that unsuspecting slaves were stolen from their homes, taken to the castle and held in dungeons. They were eventually sold on the Trans- Atlantic slave trade, never to return. Ghana was the first of Britain’s African colonies to gain independence, and in doing so, triggered a freedom movement that swept across the entire continent and eventually led to the fall of colonial rule in Africa. As a young group of British and Ghanaian volunteers, we found the tour emotionally powerful and oddly liberating. But speaking as a Black British -African, it was a truly humbling experience, one that I will never forget.
3. Volunteering with Challenges Worldwide.
I know I mentioned Challenges Worldwide before, but it’s worth mentioning twice. After completing university, I decided to take the next step on my journey towards greater success, by volunteering with ICS Challenges Worldwide. They support the development of small/medium sized businesses that do not have access to crucial support systems needed to help them grow. With the help of volunteers like myself, the businesses are able to improve their services, support their communities and contribute to the development of their economies. It was so much fun to meet and work with other volunteers who were eager to learn and get stuck into the Ghanaian way of life. Through this programme, I discovered a new way of life, met amazing people and got to work in one of the most exciting economies in the world. I definitely miss Team Kumasi!
If you want a great experience, CLICK HERE TO APPLY!
4. The people of Kumasi.
I mingled often with the locals during my time in Ghana, they were all so friendly and welcoming…and curious! Often people would ask me where I was from and how I ended up in Kumasi. It was all very interesting , especially because my TWI (the local language pronounced TREE) wasn’t so good. Thankfully most people spoke English as a second language, so communication wasn’t really a barrier (most of the time). I’ve managed to stay in touch with my friends in Kumasi, and for that I’m very grateful.
I feel so fortunate that I got to see and experience Ghana the way I did, and I can’t wait to go back soon!