I will be spending three weeks in Ghana carrying out a program initiated by the Humanity Exchange in partnership with Adamus Resources ltd.
I have just recently attained an MA (Hons) in Philosophy and Politics at the University of Edinburgh. I am interested in pursuing photojournalism and journalism, and am at this moment most concerned with embracing the gulf of uncertainty that follows every graduation.
During my time in Ghana I will be teaching at a local school and living in Adamus residences in Esiama.
Click here to see a slideshow I made of my experience living and working in Ghana with Adamus and The Humanity Exchange.
Adamus Resources Ltd. is a mining company that has recently begun mining for gold in the Nzima district of the Western region. Mining has had a very large impact on the surrounding communities in various ways. Other than creating jobs and revenue for the local community, mining companies often displace villages and groups of people.
This clearly has a very complicated impact on the community, as the overall benefits are overridden by the cultural and social discontents which arise from the relocation process. This relocation, even in the face of fiscal compensation and the construction of new villages, is something that strikes very deep for many of the rural poor who have lived on this land for generations, and therefore difficult for Adamus to justify.
Working within a new culture in this way is very difficult, and often produces many unforeseen challenges. One such challenge Adamus encountered on this project was the village priestess who, whilst her new house was being constructed on one of the nicer pieces of land that she had finally settled on (after many negotiations and compromises), claimed that her spirits told her that she must be relocated to yet another, much nicer, plot of land, or else the village will be in danger. In this case, Adamus has no choice but to acquiesce, or else they will loose the trust of that community.
There have also been cases where, while Adamus negotiates with the chiefs of a village concerning their relocation – how much money they will give to each individuals in the community, where the houses will be built, etc. – the specified villages encounter a drastic increase in population. The logic being that whoever lives in the village to be relocated will be compensated, and have a new house built for them. Quite a desirable situation if you are not particularly attached to the place you are in.
Because of these complex social and cultural factors involved in Adamus’ work they are very determined to maintain a strong social awareness and presence. In this sense it is important to them that they give back to the community not just in the form of new houses and monetary compensation, but also in grassroots projects.
This is where the Humanity Exchange comes in.
In partnership with local schools and foundations Adamus will be supporting the Humanity Exchange to send volunteers to local schools and foundations.
My Project: The Ransom Foundation
The Ransom Foundation is located in Esiama, and has started a school (mentioned in this blog) in the community for children ages 3-7. They are in the process of building another school that will accommodate children once they outgrow the first school. By providing this other school children will be able to stay more or less in the same community and under the same care they have been since early childhood.
Most importantly, using the funds the Ransom foundation has gained from International donors, they are able to fund the daily meal and tuition of selected children whose families are unable to pay for these expenses themselves. Those worthy of such financial support are reviewed on the basis of need, and then enter an application program.
The Ransom Foundation is also in charge of running community projects such as a food bank, which delivers to eight local communities and one in the northern region. In addition the foundation also holds youth gatherings and seminars for older students who are nearing the end of junior high school.
I am the first volunteer to work with the Ransom Foundation, so it has been a bit of a learning process for everyone, however The Humanity Exchange will continue their work with them in the future on other projects if not in the nursery school where I have been.