Mahama Ibn Halid, from the city of Tamale in Ghana, is 30 years old. He got the opportunity to be part of an exchange programme between the Netherlands and Ghana, so he volunteered immediately. He wanted to visit Europe for many years; a dream come true!
Last year, Ibn met two Dutch Scouts –Simone van Eijk and Jorien Homan– in Ghana. As a real host, Ibn showed them around to see more of Ghana and Ibn also invited them to his own place. They visited many local Scouting groups and spent time in several national parks. During this week Ibn found out that they were looking for Ghanaian Scouts, Scouts that wanted to visit the Netherlands for a couple of weeks as part of the Partnership Nederland-Ghana. He found this very interesting and wanted to volunteer himself! And he did. Luckily Ibn already had a passport, which made it easier to take part. Unfortunately, his companion was not able to join him at the last moment due to paperwork.
Now, Ibn has 62 days to gain Scouting experience in the Netherlands. The first six days were amazing: “What a huge airport, what nice people and what a lot of food!”. Before Ibn came to the Netherlands he had never crossed the Ghanaian borders and that whilst his English is perfect! He registered for a passport about five years ago, as he hoped to make his dream come true and visit Europe someday. And he did! So, Ibn is eager to learn a lot now that he has gotten this opportunity.
At home, Ibn is a fire fighter. However, trained as a primary school teacher. One of the things he hopes to accomplish is to visit a Dutch fire station. He wants to see and learn how Dutch fire fighters fight fires and see what kind of techniques they apply. It is clear, he wants to learn a lot in his 62-day journey in the Netherlands.
Ibn at the TED Camporee
The TED Camporee took place in Ommen, from 29 July till 5 August. So Ibn was very lucky to be part of this huge international event at Gilwell Ada’s Hoeve. He was able to help the camp staff with the daily activities onsite. He helped with the water supply during the warm summer days and took part at some activities like archery. And now he trains archery himself to the younger Scouts. He also visited the international market at Gilwell Ada’s Hoeve during the TED Camporee. Ibn is impressed with the large amount of Scouts (red. 2,450): “Such a large, international group of Scouting members all together, you will not see in Ghana. In Ghana Scouting is only for children. They often come together after school time, three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and fridayds.”
Ibn has been a member of the Ghana Scout Association since he was 8 years old. Nowadays, he represents the Northern Region of Ghana as a secretary. In this position he has to take care of the communication activities like write English letters, arrange meetings and write minutes.
We are finalising our interview. For Ibn it is cold – a common winter evening. But for us, it is a lovely summer day with over 25 degrees. Ghana vs. the Netherlands – a huge difference in so many aspects.
Ibn will visit the campsite in Baarn next. Where he will see and learn other things. He is hoping for a Home Hospitality in the Netherlands. He would love to spend some days exploring the Netherlands with natives. He has till 1 October, then he will fly back to Ghana.