Polly Boucherat - Advocate for Africa (Gold Award)

I was lucky enough to visit Ghana in October 2009 along with my parents. Our trip lasted 10 days and sparked from the idea that we would spend 3 days in Kokrobite having djembe drumming lessons for my Mum’s birthday present. I was extremely excited but also apprehensive about the prospect of going to Ghana as I had always seen Africa as somewhere miles away that I would never experience first-hand.  
I really didn’t know what to expect from Ghana; all I really knew of Africa as a whole was a naïve preconception that I had built up from media images. All my expectations were turned upside down and I was surprised by the wide range of circumstances within the country. It was my first experience of seeing real poverty; this gave me a huge culture shock and it sounds cliché, but made me feel grateful for what I’ve got. I learnt so many things about the country that I would never have found out if I had not been there in person.
Our visit was also a great opportunity to visit Wembury Primary School’s partner school, Greater Heights School in Sekondi Takoradi, and strengthen the understanding between the schools. It was a direct insight into the lives of certain young Ghanaian people and how their education differed from my own.
Being part of the Link, in April 2010 we were a Host Home for Simms Golo, an artist, as part of the Ghana Xchange and I learnt even more from him. He gave me an insight into the roles of men, women and children within their families and society, which helped to put our own practices into perspective
In July 2010 I worked alongside Jill Bailey and Elaine Budd during Ghana Week for my work experience. During the week I was one of 3 young people that gave a presentation about our experiences in Ghana to around 40 members of the Probus Club. The aim was to raise awareness of the Link and to let the members of the Probus club know that Ghana Week was happening in their city, encouraging them to get involved. I also helped set up the exhibition in the Roland Levinsky Building, showcasing many of the Link’s achievements and welcoming distinguished visitors from Ghana.
My work experience helped me build confidence in meeting new people and giving presentations. It also triggered new ideas about possible career options. Overall, the Link has encouraged me to get involved with things outside of my comfort zone and at the age of 17 I feel privileged to have already been to Ghana and I plan to return in the future. I am proud to become an Advocate for Africa and look forward to continuing being involved in any future opportunities through the Link.
Receiving my Certificate from the Plymouth Ghana Link Chair Arnet Donkin