Graeme Acheson: Hockey Coaching and Playing Project in Ghana
What did you achieve during your coaching placement?
I achieved a lot during my trip but my main achievement was gaining a deeper cultural understanding. It’s quite an eye-opener to see the differences between the British culture and Ghanaian culture. Ghana (by African standards) is a relatively wealthy country but even so the poverty there is surprising. You can easily feel guilty about how you lead your life in Britain compared to how a Ghanaian leads their life. However, they were without a doubt the happiest people I have ever met. I guess money can’t buy you happiness!
Describe a typical day
A typical day would mean waking up at the crack of dawn! Because it was so hot indoors, we all moved our beds outside onto the roof where it was cooler. This however meant being woken up by the sun each morning or whatever local argument was happening on the street that morning! I would then have breakfast and leave for my tennis placement. Most people had placements very early in the morning or late in the afternoon in order to avoid the heat. The middle of the day was often spent exploring the city, helping out local schools or sometimes just relaxing at the accommodation with the other travellers.
What was the social life like?
The social life was amazing in Ghana. There was so much to do and so many opportunities to do it. There were lots of organized trips to local clubs and restaurants every weekend, but you were free to go elsewhere if you wanted. There was also a bar just up the road if you felt like having a quite drink with the locals in the evenings.
What were the local people and culture like?
The locals were amazingly friendly. The Ghanaians are friendly in a way that is almost unheard of in the West. They are extremely affectionate and, once you have got used to it, you can be just as friendly back. You can often end up having lengthy conversations with complete strangers in the street!
What are your top 5 things to do in Ghana?
1. Watching the Ghanaians play football – they were unbelievably talented
2. Visiting a local orphanage to help teach the kids
3. Spending time at a local football academy to meet the young stars of the future
4. Taking a ride in a tro-tro – unforgettable!
5. Trying to walk down a street without getting sold something!
Would you do it again or recommend it to others?
I would definitely do it all again! And I have already recommended it to others!