Wednesday, 7 December 2016


Even though the process seemed like a rigorous one to begin with, one couldn’t help but realise it was an equipping process for a journey I would never have imagined. From ‘slides’ in a hall to an almost four hour journey to Sirigu never seemed easy but ended up to be the best journey ever embarked on.
It was an already achieved mission of PEACE I assert. Arriving in the same compound with people from many different backgrounds and starting a training session with everybody immediately even without getting to know one another better, only required peaceful coexistence to make it a success.  Nothing can be considered a peaceful course than getting along with people from different backgrounds in groups throughout the orientation sessions and finally travelling together to a new destination with understanding prevailing.

As a team leader, I have gone through these processes more than two times. It can be quite frustrating to have been part of the Team Leader ICO (In Country Training), going through ICO with two teams of two different cohorts and as well travelling to placement (Sirigu) to begin work in a completely new environment where everyone is expected to get along with people of the community irrespective of educational background, wealth and or status. Fortunately, no body fell for the frustration but focused on the mission to be achieved thanks to peaceful coexistence.

Madam Melani Kasise ; founder of Sirigu Women’s Organisation for Pottery and Art (SWOPA) couldn’t have found PEACE any better than given back to society what society gave to her. Coming up with SWOPA especially with her retirement benefit in 1997 is an issue worth detailing another time as she used SWOPA to empower the women of Sirigu and beyond. This helped bring women of Sirigu together day in day out to exhibit their art and craft skill in order to make a living.
But if it wasn’t for SWOPA, I wouldn’t find myself in a community as serene as Sirigu; 40 km north of the Upper East Regional capital (Bolgatanga). A community where I find hospitality a habit and not an act besides the indigenous art and craft designs as well as basket weaving and pottery making skills possessed by its people.

‘Bilika’ (morning greetings) to ‘Zaanori’ (evening greetings), you would always find somebody saying ‘wuntenga’ (afternoon greetings) or ‘tomaa’ (because your work is appreciated). Made up of 5 sub communities, they see one another as one people. Where else could one seek ‘PEACE’ but from the love of your own people? They knew none of us from anywhere but treated us equally with love and acceptance everywhere.
‘Challenge yourself to change the world’ a slogan of International Citizen Service has changed many lives towards finding peace. Appreciating the lives and situation of people so new to you and doing your best to change their situation for the better is a bold step towards the PEACE we seek with each day passing.

International Service provided an avenue for us to use understanding to achieve PEACE. A JOURNEY OF PEACE AND FOR PEACE couldn’t have been achieved any better than volunteering with International Service Ghana. There couldn’t have been a better way to tell our people how possible peace is than the noble act of bringing people from different parts of the world to work together towards achieving a common goal. People see the flow of cooperation among us volunteers irrespective of our individual differences and can’t think further than realising its only PEACE that can make it possible. Volunteering with International Service Ghana is a pure manifestation of Martin Luther King’s saying “if we are to have peace on earth…our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective”.
As far as our work with International Service Ghana is concerned, we cannot be oblivious of the fact that Ghana is going to the polls come December 2016 and it becomes a part of every ones responsibility to preach peace for it would have been impossible to stay and or work in Ghana without PEACE.
It is for this reason we must remember that even though WE MET IN DIFFERENT WAYS, WE ACCEPTED ONE ANOTHER THE SAME WAY thanks to International Service. This I hope will guide us throughout our journey in preaching peace. 


Yussif Andani Alhassan

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