Friday, 27 August 2010

Volunteer Conference- Day I

18 August 2010
The plan of volunteer conference included actual conference for one and half day and one and half day of sector meetings of the volunteers. The first day consisted of sector meetings. The VSO volunteers are working in a number of thematic goal areas. In Ghana, VSO volunteers are working on thematic areas of Education, Secured Livelihoods, Participation and Governance. There are some cross cutting themes such as Inclusion (Gender and Disability) and HIV/ AIDS which are to be covered as part of the each of goal area but there are some volunteers working exclusively in this theme as well. The volunteers were divided as per their thematic area and individual review meetings were conducted for each sector. I am a part of the secured livelihood group.
The sector meetings proved useful for cross learning and for discussion of issues related to placements. There were some discussion on Programme Area Planning and Country Strategic Planning for VSO as well. It helped to understand the overall working of VSO and relation between work of an individual volunteer and organisational level thematic area planning of VSO.
The food was very good and the menu had high continental influence as majority of the volunteers were Europeans. But they always served some Ghanaian dishes as well.
The night consisted of cultural programmes by the volunteers. Our Indian group presented the song "We shall overcome" in three different languages i.e. Hindi, Bengali and English. I individually sung a Marathi song "Hee Chal Turuturu". Though none of the audience understood any word of it, they could clap on the rhythm and many people gave feedback to me that they liked the song. There was representation of various countries such as Dutch style TV comedy show, Ugandan dance, small skits by the Australian and Filipino groups. There were some individual performances as well. It was more to do with the fun and less to do with the talent. Everybody enjoyed the show.
Then there was this trivia quiz where people were grouped and they were asked about some funny questions. Most of them had origins in the volunteer gossips. My friend Jillian had done the best job of identifying the questions and designing quiz. I was also part of the question. The question was, Which tool did Sachin use to break open a coconut? The answer is Pick axe. Once I was at Jillian's house and she had bought a coconut. But nobody knew how to break it open. I told them that I shall do it. The only thing very hard thing with which I could break it open without wasting the water inside it was a pick axe. I broke open the coconut with it. I don't know how did it look but it must have been a great comical show where I held coconut in my one hand and hit it with a pick axe in the another hand. So now the whole incidence has become a part of the gossip of Bolgatanga VSO volunteers.