wird verwaltet von J. Schramm (Kommunikation)
Der Freundeskreis Afrika e.V. ist ein gemeinnütziger Verein mit Sitz in Schwäbisch Hall. Er bildet einen Zusammenschluss von Menschen aus unterschiedlichen Ländern, die sich für Völkerverständigung, Gerechtigkeit und die Umsetzung der Ziele nachhaltiger Entwicklung einsetzten. In der Region Schwäbisch Hall werden durch den Verein entwicklungspolitische und kulturelle Veranstaltungen sowie Vorträge organisiert. Er bietet Bildungsveranstaltungen zu globalem Lernen und fördert Maßnahmen, die eine wirksame Hilfe für die Menschen in Afrika bedeuten.
Der Verein organisiert und begleitet Freiwilligendienste, für die er seit mehreren Jahren mit dem Qualitätssiegel Freiwilligendienste von der Agentur für Qualität in Freiwilligendiensten (Quifd) ausgezeichnet ist.
Another midterm-seminar took place in the second week of April, this time in Ghana. Once again, the eight volunteers and their mentors meet each other in Kokrobite. The program was quite versatile, apart from presenting the current state of each project and what the final goals are, different aspects about globalisation and their connection to the different volunteer projects were treated. It started with a reflection and summary of everybody’s achievements in the project. In connection hereto, experiences of the volunteers in Ghana and Togo, respectively, were described and discussed in view of everybody’s individual background. It was quite enjoyable to reflect on all the different experiences although most were shared between the volunteers. Alexander and Tobias entertained us with funny cartoons whereby the participants were reminded on past events and striking coincidences.
The second topic of the seminar was about the sustainable developmental goals (SDGs) and possible intersections with individual actions we conducted whilst being on the project. The given task was to understand each SDG and ascertain to which extend the undertaken actions of both working and living in West Africa have something in common with the respective SDG. The most obvious connection point is the contribution of each volunteer in the education of Ghanaian and Togolese pupils by assisting in school. Apart from that, connections to the SDGs ‘Health’, ‘Protection of the Environment’, ‘Food production’ etc. were discovered. With regard to that, I would like to shift to conversations about the effect of globalisation on the production and logistics of goods. At the end of last year, we, the Ghana-volunteers had a conversation while we were finishing dinner. As it was the beginning of a life period in tropical climate, we wondered about the weather. Although the dry season is about to start, it does not seem it has done yet. It rained heavily in the afternoon on that day and I felt rather cold during the previous nights. Mada explained that it has not rained as much as expected in the wet season so far. It indicates a shift of the dry season towards a later start. In relation, she mentioned the influences of this shift to the harvest. The period of harvesting was probably not going to be one of much yield. When the crops had been planted, it was too dry for them to grow sufficiently, so most plants had been burned. In a later period of regular and heavy rainfall, the plants grew high and beard many leaves but lacked any fruit. The reason might be that the crops had been destroyed due to lack of water in the first period of planting. Mada came to the conclusion that too much of everything is not well either. On another occasion, we talked about processing of goods in a global view. For example, the flesh of the mangoes is squeezed and the obtained juice is then mixed with preservatives, taste-intensifiers and tons of sugar among other additives before being sold. If people want to have mango juice they either eat the raw mango flesh to receive the juice or have to buy the manufactured juice, Mada elaborated. Often the fruits are only harvested in Ghana and then exported for further processing. Hence, the end product “juice” needs to be imported back into the country in most cases. Trying to digest these information, I sat under a palmnut tree in the early dusk, chewed plucked oranges and mangos and wondered about the absurdities of globalisation. Why should I wait for the raw fruits to be exported, processed and imported back as manufactured juice instead of enjoying the fresh fruits from their natural origin? I am very grateful to have this opportunity and know for sure that I am going to miss the fresh tropical fruits when I am back in Europe. Coming back to the midterm-seminar, we attended a talk by Mr. Mettle-Nunoo, the headmaster of the Sunbeam Foundation School in the afternoon. He delivered a talk about the influence of colonialism to the Ghanaian people and their identity. This aspect was quite interesting to learn from the perspective of a Ghanaian. He pointed out that Ghanaian inhabitants used to be and are still composed of different tribes that mangle together. These tribes had come from abroad before they settled down in Ghana and before colonialism. After colonialism, the main question for the inhabitants was about their identification. Shall they follow the culture of their former origin or adapt to the new influences which were introduced by the colonialists? Some solved this dilemma by sticking to their original culture, some others preferred the modernised style (whatever that exactly involves), whereas some inhabitants lived a mixture of both the traditional and modernised way. Problems arose in agreeing on national policies like determining a unite language. Since each tribe preferred their traditional African language in favour of the language of another tribe, English (the foreign language of the colonialists) was chosen to achieve closure. Mr. Mettle-Nunoo concluded that the Ghanaians have lost their identity because they might feel disunited due to the different cultural backgrounds of the tribes but also due to the colonialism. Hearing this, I could comprehend inter-cultural conflicts and even intra-familiar conflicts described by Mr. Mettle-Nunoo better.
In order to experience and comprehend the traditional way of living, we were invited to the home village of Armano Ofori, married to Silvia Ofori. We made this trip on the third day of the seminar. His mother is the head priest and a fetish belonging to the traditional religion. Sitting together in a circle, she introduced the principles of the traditional religion and answered every question that was risen by the audience. Mr. Mettle – Nunoo, who accompanied us, translated the explanations of the head priest and gave further explanations about certain rituals and the holy value of certain herbs and water sources which were visited later on. At the end of the trip, the head priest lead us into a fetish shrine and showed us a kind of voodoo practise to cure the issues of her tribe. It was good to learn about these traditions more or less at hand. Controversially, some of the practises were obviously not conducted in real life according to the ideas of the religion which left us a bit confounded.
The fourth day started with the topic about future visions. The mentors were interested to which extend the volunteers pursued to continue collaborating with the institutes keeping developmental-political aspects in mind. Most volunteers intend to stay in contact with the local organisations and their partners of the schools. Moreover, they are willing to report on their experiences in Germany both to relatives and friends but also at public events. This applies to me as well. I offered the school remotely assistance in promoting them and searching for a sponsor. These topics were elaborated on in more detail during a walk at the beach. In the afternoon of the same day, a neighbour nicknamed ‘King Yellow’ visited us and offered a practical workshop in colouring fabrics. He is familiar with abundant colouring techniques in Batik and Tye Dye. Everyone was given a white cotton fabric which was manipulated by a basic Tye Dye design by everyone and coloured afterwards by ‘King Yellow’. ‘King Yellow’ explained and showed other designs and explained the functions of the additional chemicals used in the colouring process among the natural colour substances. One substance was added as colour-intensifier, whereas the function of the second additive was maintenance of the applied colour. After washing and letting the coloured fabric dry, everyone was allowed to take their individual fabric. It was interesting and delightful to learn this technique.
The last day of the seminar was left to clarify and organise everybody’s personal issues in administration. The seminar was closed with a party in the evening. We celebrated at Mikenzi Beach Resort. The party was accompanied by relatives of Issah and Armano, who played the drums and encouraged us to dance. Later on, drinking games were played and dancing to European music continued till next morning. Everyone was delighted and had lots of fun. I enjoyed the seminar because it helped me to recite and organise my thoughts about the volunteer project and to place them in the right perspective. Additionally, I learned a basic design in Tye Dye, so the seminar was worth it.