I'm Going to Africa! #CUinAfrica

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Guys, I am going to Africa! As many of you know I work in the world of finance, and if you follow me on social media you know that I work for a cooperative called Servus Credit Union.  I have worked in the CU system for over nine year, and this year Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) has given me an opportunity to go to Africa to volunteer in credit unions and their local communities.

CCA is a not-for-profit co-operative which establishes and strengthens co-operatives, credit unions and community-based organizations to reduce poverty, build sustainable livelihoods and improve civil society in less developed countries. Cooperative system and values were a huge part of my upbringing in Bosnia, and moving to Canada I looked for an opportunity to work in an environment where my values and belief would align. Over last nice years, I’ve built my career in a variety of roles and branches at Servus Credit Union. Getting the opportunity to be part of the CCA’s Ghana Coaching Program aligns with my values, gives me a chance to give back and hopefully make a little difference along the way.
 I have traveled a lot, but this feels different and now sitting down writing this I cannot described how excited I am that I get to be a part of something as great as this.  
We received our assignments and list of places we will be visiting, so I spend hours researching and getting to know as much as I can about places we will be visiting. CCA has years of experience doing this so they send us a lot of information. I am a fairly organized person (sometimes!) so I started packing like a ten days ago, just so I don't forget anything.
This has been a learning experience for me - for example turns out, traditionally women in Ghana do not wear pants - so excuse me while I go shopping and start re-packing.
Three big things I learned about preparing to go volunteer/work in Africa:
Go to a travel health clinic: get your shots, prescriptions, the good bug spray and advice from professionals on does and don'ts.
Mosquito/Bug repellants are not all created equal. You need a higher deet percentage or a number than you do here at home.
Malaria drugs are also not all created equal. Invest in the good/more expensive ones with less side effects. I have heard horror stories about people taking certain types of malaria prevention drugs causing  hash side effects including hallucinations.
Over the next 3 weeks I will be sharing my adventures in Ghana both on here and across my social media. You can also flow along by checking #CUinAfrica on Twitter and Instagram.
Have you been to Africa? Do you have any tips or suggestions? I would love to hear from you.