Erina Alejo, Wli Todzi Community Connection’s Visitors Program Participant, Fall 2013
My brief but fulfilling experience of being hosted by a family and communicating with the greater Wli Todzi community taught me greatly about the village being at the cusp of tradition and change. Through living and sharing meals with Uncle John, Yaw and Sarah’s extended family in their compound, interviewing the Wli Todzi Togbe (chief) and attending a meeting among Wli Todzi elders, I learned about the villagers’ lifestyles and challenges of living atop Agumatsa mountain and the need for access to health care local to the mountaintop. I am grateful for the Wli Todzi community’s immersive reception of visitors like me. I believe RUDC’s culturally sensitive and genuine efforts in rebuilding the abandoned clinic site at Wli Todzi will help the community in its transition into incorporating the social, technological and economic changes happening all across Ghana while maintaining its rich culture and tradition. ”
Ethan Miska – University of California, Santa Cruz Student
“RUDC’s Ghana Clinic Project is great. It’s all about people helping people. I loved working with people who have no illusions about the challenges of international aid work yet also have the vigor, creativity, and resolve to overcome these challenges, and being part of this over the course of six months volunteering with RUDC has been an energizing experience. I have been involved in planning several fundraisers to cover the clinic’s construction costs, and it was gratifying to see these funds put directly into effect with the raising of the clinic’s roof structure. The construction phase being well under way, the RUDC crew is well aware that creating a functional health clinic involves much more than just getting a building set up, and is acting upon this reality accordingly. I wouldn’t be able to find a more effective combination of idealism, realism, careful planning, and action.”
Sarah – Central Michigan University Student
From young to old, people in Wlitodzi are incredibly warm and welcoming. I found myself responding to the Ewe word for ‘welcome’ nearly everywhere I turned. The challenging, yet visually stunning climb to get to the village, is such a powerful way to begin a stay. It is such a unique opportunity to be able to live in such a beautifully simple way. When does one really have a chance to live in this setting in the modern, industrialized world? It is in circumstances such as these where one can step back, removed, and really appreciate life. What is particularly remarkable about Wlitodzi is how peaceful and incredibly safe the community is. I never felt uncomfortable having belongings (including an expensive camera and audio recorder) unlocked and have never felt so safe around a group of human beings in my life. As a musician, I really enjoyed seeing music and dance in a traditional, rootsy setting, and was able to have two different drumming lessons. In addition, after having traditional Ghanaian dishes in multiple cities and restaurants, I must testify that this is some of the best food I have had during my stay in Ghana, and frequently miss it. Overall, the breath taking scenery, gracious and hospitable people, and the rare opportunity to live and experience life with a tribal community in West Africa make this an unforgettable and life changing trip that is a must for any traveler.
Hannah – Tulane University Student
The hike to Wli Todzi was incredibly strenuous for someone who does not hike, but the beauty of the scenery and my time in the village was well worth the struggle. I have never felt so instantly welcome in a new place. My experience in Wli Todzi one of the most amazing, positive experiences I have ever had. From the food, to the activities, and the hospitality of my home stay family. I could not have asked for a more wonderful time. I have traveled quite a bit in Africa and I have never had a truly African experience like this. I can’t wait to struggle up the mountain to see the family, the waterfalls, and the caves once again.
Eliza Milio – University of California Student
My brief visit to Wli Todzi opened my eyes to a completely different view of Ghana that I had yet to experience while living in Accra. Hiking the mountain path to and from the village really put into perspective the struggle that this village is facing to procure and maintain necessary amenities for comfortable daily life. The village people- specifically Auntie Charlotte, Monsieur Jean, the tour guides and the small boys- truly everyone we met, were beyond friendly and hospitable. The accommodations exceeded expectations. Housing was super comfortable, and after Auntie Charlotte’s cooking fufu and banku have taken on a whole new level. The three days I was there were mostly spent absorbing the atmosphere of village life- a healthy combination of work and relaxation- as well as exploring the village and nearby sites. We spent some time visiting the unfinished health clinic as well as the areas dedicated for schooling which displayed the potent reality of some of the problems Rise Up: Wli Todzi seeks to ameliorate. We also did the day hike to the upper Aguamatsu falls which, although strenuous, was absolutely worth the incredible, purifying experience of swimming beneath the massive falls (not to mention snacking on the freshest pineapples and bananas I’ve ever tasted along the way). I could go on for hours about their amazing church service, the dancing and drumming, and everything else I saw, but I’ll conclude by saying that there is no doubt in my mind that I will return to the village before my stay in Ghana is over.
Disclaimer: Although Rise Up Development Collective helped to start the Wli Todzi Community Connection Visitor’s Program, we have willingly relinquished any control of the program to Yaw Nutsugah of Wli Todzi. We do not account for any of the finances of the program, have no part in decision- making related to the program, and accept no liability or responsibility for actions of program personnel, or on the part of participants, including physical and emotional injuries that may be incurred by participants while participating in the program. We do have the utmost faith in the director, Yaw Nutsugah, to manage the program. However, we do not accept liability for his actions or the actions of personnel under his direction. Rise Up Development Collective provides hosting for Yaw Nutsugah for the purposes of marketing the program in recognition of our desire to see his program succeed, however, this does not imply any active participation in the visitor’s program on the part of Rise Up Development Collective and its participants, past, present or future, or any member of Empowerment Works, Inc., our fiscal sponsor. Please enjoy the Wli Todzi Community Connection Visitor’s Program. We wish the best of luck to Yaw and the program.