VSO Ghana’s 50th Anniversary National Volunteers Conference

17 07 2008

I spent Wednesday to Friday last week attending the VSO Ghana’s 50th Anniversary National Volunteers Conference. For 50 years brave (or misguided?), well meaning souls have been coming to Ghana to try to share their skills with locals. Every two years most of them get together to learn from each other, share experiences, catch up with people they haven’t seen for a while, meet new people and perhaps whinge a bit.

It would have been hard not to enjoy 3 days with over 70 positive, kind, self-confident, empathetic, pro-active, intelligent, curious (in both senses) and generally great people, especially when you’re staying in a beach side hotel with a pool (it isn’t advisable to swim in the sea off Accra) and attending an interesting workshops. VSO volunteers may be many things but they’re rarely dull and generally willing to get involved so the conference generally went with a zing, much to the credit of the volunteers who organised it.

Memorable moments include an incredible cultural evening where each of the main national groups entertained us, the Filipinos winning with a health and safety defying demonstration of traditional lantern dancing, with a woman dancing with a lit candle in a glass balanced on her head. The Brits demonstrated country dancing with a rendition of “Strip the Willow”* and a made up thing, music courtesy of a much appreciated CD Kirsteen gave me before I left. I will admit that I ended up teaching a group by the pool to “Strip the Willow” at 2am Saturday morning, apologies if we woke anyone up. The Irish demonstrated Irish dancing (which was also taught by the pool at a late hour). The Australians demonstrated drinking at a bar.

And we even got the opening ceremony (with the British High Commissioner) on national TV.


* An innocent traditional British dance that involves swinging your partner and then someone else’s in alternately down a line.




3 responses

21 07 2008

:) Glad to hear you are still getting some ceilidh action! I’m looking forward to telling the Skerryvore boys they’ve made in in Ghana!!

Sounds like you are having a great time! Any plans for a wee holiday in Blighty?

Kirsteen x

17 09 2008
letsa frank

i am glad you have help a lot of ghanaians,my problem is how to locate your organizition in ghhana.i willbe glad if you send me the address in ghana.

1 07 2009
Goodbye Ghana « Tim in Tamale

[…] Ghana coming 3rd in CAN was a bit of disappointment). I also attended VSO’s bi-annual volunteers’ conference which was a good chance to meet and discuss with other volunteers, plus a chance to Scottish dance […]

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