Life before T

Long before T was born, I worked as a volunteer (Media Communications Officer) in a small NGO in Tamale, a town in Northern Ghana, West Africa.

This was my home:

We didn’t have much.  VSO, our organisation gave us a few essentials/furniture.  The rest we had to buy from our meager allowance.  I bought a small electric  fan, cutlery, plates a few pans and other kitchen utensils.  I also felt the need to liven up my living quarters and so bought some sarongs in cheerful yellow/orange colours and used them as curtains/table-cloth.

See that brown tie-dyed cushion covers with the turtle design? I brought it back with me to England and is now prominently displayed on our couch.

It took awhile for VSO Ghana to provide me a wardrobe (which they did with other volunteers), so I had to make do with a makeshift one – I hung my clothes on a string which I tied between two windows.  But in the end, had to keep my stuff in my suitcase because it was so dusty.

Oh my word, the dust!

Some days the dust would be so thick, the moment you finished sweeping, your floor will be covered in dust again, especially when the Harmatan came.

My house was across a mosque and at dawn, I would be awakened by the sound of prayers.  Then at lunch-time, when I heard the call to prayer, I knew it was almost time to go back to work after my break.  Then again, the sound would come in the early evening.

Of course, one cannot think of Ghana without remembering the heat.  I would welcome that kind of heat right now, even for just a day.  The kind that makes you want to take off all your clothes and no matter how much cold glasses of water you consume, your thirst is never quenched.

I remember the days felt longer and life seemed slow.  My placement was a bit of a disaster, but in spite of that, I have very fond memories of Ghana and the people there.  My Ghanaian colleagues and I (because of the lack of work), used to while away the day by talking about reggae music, Bob Marley and his life, football and about life in my country.   Of course, they were curious about where I came from and wanted to know more.  And when our secretary went on maternity leave, we all visited her at her place.  Her daughter must be in first grade right now.  It feels longer than that, way longer than that.

This post is linked-up with PODcast’s What’s The Story

Hope everyone has a lovely week ahead of them!


  1. Sara (@mumturnedmom)

    Wow, what an amazing experience that must have been. I sometimes regret never taking any time out between school/university/work/children (!) to go and really experience another culture in this way. Great post x #WhatstheStory

  2. Kate @ Did That Just Happen?

    wow! what an insight into your life! how interesting! I love it!

  3. thereadingresidence

    Wow, what an amazing experience you must have had, and so many memories. Fascinating!

  4. Caroline (Becoming a SAHM)

    Wow, that must have been such an experience! And I imagine your life feels completely different now! xx

    • Oh totally different. I sometimes forget that I actually had a career! What does that word mean again? 😉

  5. Charly Dove

    Wow what an experience Dean, such harsh conditions too when you consider what we’re used to. I love those colourful sarongs and how wonderful you’ve adopted the turtle cushions as a memento. It must have been an unforgettable time in Ghana, thank you so much for sharing with #whatsthestory. Awesome post 🙂

  6. Life in the Wylde West

    I loved reading this about your life friend. Thank you so much for sharing. I love the stories you can tell little T and the pillows you still have with you to evoke memories. So great.

    Love your friend

    • Thanks Tracie! 🙂 We tell her a lot about Ghana, especially since that’s where me and my husband met! 🙂

  7. hurrahforgin

    How amazing Dean, i would loved to have volunteered for VSO. Funnily i used to run advertising campaigns for them. xx

    • There’s still time for you, especially since you’re way younger than I ehem… am 😉 Perhaps when the little ones are older, or away at Uni or something? You and your hubby can volunteer as a married couple. Just a thought 🙂 xx

  8. Tarana Khan

    It was interesting to read about your experience in Ghana. Happy to have found you on #WhatsTheStory!

  9. The Coffee Table Years

    I love this story about your life before children. It probably feels like so long ago because your life is so totally different now. Especially because you have swapped the sweltering heat of Ghana for the damp cold of Cornwall. Well, one can only hope that spring is around the corner, right?

    • Thanks! Yes, that’s what I thought over the weekend that spring has sprung. Then today, I woke up and it looked like winter all over again. Sigh. This is England after all.

  10. Pingback: PODcast | What's The Story? | 10th March 2014

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