The first day of orientation with the whole team together; a synopsis of the plan

Since I (Shevawn) am not in the thick of all that is going on in Ghana this year, but am intimately acquainted with how a typical orientation goes on our trips, John and I thought that in addition to his in-country updates this year I would fill in some details. So, here is a brief summary of what the first day of Orientation will look like for Ghana Discovery 2010:

Because we have only 8 days in which to prepare our participants to live and thrive in their partnerships dispersed all over the country, we have developed an experiential Orientation that is pretty much designed to push them into the deep end before they have time to build up any fears. 8-) So, 8 hours from now when they wake up, they will spend the morning in sessions that are both instruction and brainstorming/dialogue (which can be kind of interesting the first couple of days as they all struggle to understand each other's different accents) The subjects the team will talk about include:

Their fears
Recognizing how they can use the resources around them
Exploring ways they can develop their critical inquiry skills
Identifying cross cultural living skills they need to develop

We also get them started on a system of setting personal goals each day, meeting with one of their leaders daily for encouragement, advice...and prayer 8-) Then we send them out of their first expedition; they break into groups and are told to catch a Tro-Tro (a form of public transportation in Ghana) to Asanka Local Chop Bar where we will all meet to eat a Ghanaian lunch together. After lunch, they will then go out in these same groups and purchase some groceries for their team breakfasts before returning to the guest house.

In the evening, after a dinner prepared by the guest house staff, (which is often western food, so both cultures will have an opportunity to stretch some food wise the first day) the team will explore Cross Cultural communication in a fun and relaxed way. We break them up into small groups of Ghanaians only and Ex-pats only, and we give them scenarios to act out. Here's one scenario example: As you are preparing enough dinner for yourself only, two acquaintances show up to visit you. The acquaintances stay, and you are getting hungry. What happened? The contrasts between how the Ex-pats deal with the various situations we give them in their cultural context and the Ghanaians in their culture creates a springboard for us to unearth and discuss some cultural issues both sides are likely to encounter in a light hearted way.

After that, the Ex-pats are very tired and ready for bed.....and the leaders as well!


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