March 8, 2009
Hello all. My name is Amy, I'm 25 and am a Voluntary Services Overseas volunteer in Ghana. I teach Elective Chemistry (pre-university level) Chemistry to Senior Secondary School students in Tumu. Tumu is the most remote town of its size in Ghana, situated 3 and 4 miles away from the nearest Ghanaian town. It is very close to the border with Burkina Faso. We are one of the last towns to be connected by a tarred road, many do not have running water and must fetch it from a standing pipe. We have electricity, although its reliability is not always certain, and at the moment a bus drivers strike is restricting our movements. It has been said that the Northern Regions are nearly 50 years behind the South and you can feel it it Tumu. We have one doctor in the hospital here which serves Tumu and the surrounding villages. We have a dam but no formal irrigation system and farming is the main source of income for the majority of people here. HIV rates are apparently rising, not falling, death before the age of 5 years old is at least at 1 in 5, maternal mortality is at least 1 in 10, and only 30% of the senior school population is female. Female genital mutilation and cutting are still widely practiced, male teachers have sex with female students and often get them working in their homes or on their farms, corporal punishment is widely practiced and rape and voilence are common but unreported. These are my challenges. What I can do to help I still haven't figured out, but there it is. Wish me luck!