Written by: Jeffrey Ajiboye

My name is Jeffrey Ajiboye, I’m 17 years old and I come from Osun state, a southwestern state of Nigeria. I am in my second year in Caleb University, Ikorodu Nigeria, what got me to Fafali was a search for experience in various NGO organisations on the web as when I was putting together my cv during the break of my first year in the university there was not much experience so to speak of in my cv pertaining to the course I was studying – International Relations.

On my way to Ghana to begin this voluntary journey

At the end of my search I settled with the Fafali Organization. While I was doing my first semester of my second year, I started exchanging mails with Selase- Chief Operating officer of Fafali and before finalising on the time I was to start my volunteer experience at Fafali I had to have a virtual interview with him and to my surprise the way he talked and acted was kind, friendly and casual completely opposite to my expectations, as in Nigeria anything work related or official is usually very formal and mostly prioritized on what level of education you’ve reached and your theoretical knowledge pertaining to what you are coming to work on. At the end he discussed the time I was to come and the period I was to stay with my parents at this time I was already on holiday and we later settled for the resumption date to be March 11th, 2024, which was to be a Monday.

In order to make it on the 11th of March I was going to fly in on the 10th of March on Sunday so I got to packing and rounding up the things I was up to in Nigeria. My flight was in the morning of the 10th of March so I got there early with my family as they dropped me off. I went through the procedures at the airport without a hitch other than some further questioning by some boarder officers due to how young I looked as I was travelling alone; the flight wasn’t a long one as it took less than one hour. Immediately I landed, I encountered my first problem in Ghana, I had forgotten the network used in Ghana wasn’t going to be the same as the one used in Nigeria and I couldn’t find a way to communicate with my boss Selase on where I was, for him to pick me up but thankfully a stranger with whom I was on the same flight with from Nigeria to Ghana informed me of the free wifi network available at the airport for citizens and visitors to use which I connected to and was able to successfully contact my boss- Selase.

After leaving the airport I and Selassie took an Uber ride of 20 -30mins to the Fafali office which is in Kisseman (west land) where I would be working for the duration of my stay at Ghana, I met the founder of Fafali organization, Mr. Raymond Amezado, who gave me a warm and casual welcome after which Selase showed me the hostel in which I was going to stay. After settling of the payment and having settled in, Selase left for a meeting and later came to check on me in the night then we got some basic necessities I needed, reminded me of the time I needed to be the at the office and the route to take to the office from my apartment.

A selfie with a colleague of mine (Gabriel) during a period at the office

The next day it was time for me to go to Fafali Organization. In anticipation of my first day I woke up early, had my bath and got prepared; I got to Fafali around 20 mins before the official resumption time which is 9AM, when I got there I met a future colleague of mine at the time – Ivy, I sat at my designated spot and waited for everyone to resume; before 9:00AM everyone was in and at 9:00AM we had a short devotion which we continued to have every morning, after that we had the brief of the following week plus what we are to achieve for the week. Later that morning, I had an orientation of the NGO with a fellow volunteer and the CEO running the orientation in which I learnt a lot about the Fafali Organization’s history, later that afternoon I had a brief session with Selase where he explained my roles and the ins and outs of what I am to do. The atmosphere of the office was foreign to me at first because I was misplaced not knowing what to do (everyone working on their laptops so seriously on their various tasks and I had none).

My colleagues and I

On the following days I got to know my colleagues I’ll be working with, got myself familiarized with the routines, learnt of the various simple every day words the Ghanaians use to interact in the society, also got to know the kids in the various projects as even though I signed up to work in the administrative sector of the ball & brain projects I still get to visit other projects in my free time. Upon my coming to Fafali I was kind of nervous you know, like I wasn’t going to meet up to expectations even though it’s not my first time working in a formal environment I still felt that pressure as there were going to be volunteers from other countries as well. Now, this was my first time encountering this type of situation; during and after the Covid-19 situation many workers started to work from home, my mom was in that category of people and when she’s working at home in the library sometimes I just go there and I watch what she’s doing, how she attends meetings after meetings, doing recordings and calculations on the excel sheets makes presentations and sends multiple emails and those things I see shaped my definition of how administrative work should be or is expected to look like and I ask myself if I am up to the task and even though I know she’s been working for years and has a lot of experience and its not a plausible thing to compare ourselves I couldn’t help but still check myself if I am capable but when I came to Fafali all the expectations I thought they are going to have of me vanished like smoke from my mind when I started working there.

In Fafali there is no pressure whatsoever, anything you don’t know you ask anyone and they’ll teach you in fact you can apply to be a part of one of the projects in Fafali knowing fully well that you don’t have the skill set for that project but they wouldn’t mind and when you’ve spent some time in that project or perhaps your duration of stay is over many set of skills you didn’t have when entering the organisation you would have and be able to take back when you are leaving. I have learnt various skills or improved in various skills during my stay here, in Fafali the team is like a family we bond together, we bring ideas to the table and present it to the team and then we deliberate on it and see if it would work, Fafali is not a one man show or a dictatorship organisation.

During one of the training sessions of the Fafali Ball & Brain session

In Fafali, I participate in the Ball and Brain project on Tuesdays – Fridays which acts as my main project and I attend the art project on Monday, I also went to other programs like the Golf special program and the female football project that trains every Saturdays. My boss at the ball & brain project, Randy, takes me through what I have to do with the reports I write, he reviews and I make the necessary changes; he is a coach and loves what he does. He is in charge of all sporting activities and sporting sectors operated here at Fafali, personally if I were to describe the first week in Fafali I would say it was a hectic but enjoyable week, but after that week I got pretty used to the schedule so it wasn’t as tiring anymore.

Left (Senyo Sosu – CEO of the Fafali Organization), Middle (Afi Amezado – Best Female Junior Golfer in West Africa) right (Myself) at the premises of the Achimota Golf Club

Apart from work my social life during my stay in Ghana has been nice, calm and cool. I have tried some new delicacies with my colleagues and learnt some of their traditions, greetings and communications from my colleagues. I have been fortunate to find a worthwhile friendship with them, I am left amazed at the talent various kids I work with display in their projects, I wake up every morning and look forward to what I will be working on and in anticipation of the various tasks I’ll go through today with the other volunteers at Fafali.

Here I am with students from the Fafali Happy Arts Project

My experience at Fafali has been great so far and I look forward to the achievements that will be associated with Fafali in the near future and I encourage people of all backgrounds and nationalities, in all walks of life to participate or take Fafali as an example to recreate a version of Fafali to provide opportunity for the kids in our society.

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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