The Song of Navrongo


Author of this post:

CBS Volunteer 2017 Julia



Each place has its own sounds that belong to it. In my home in Munich I got used to hear the toilet flush of my neighbors or the sound of the train that passes by irregularly. At night or in the metro people would lower their voice not to disturb anybody (at least most of the times) and the loudest thing you may here is the arriving train or bus at the station. Generally, I sometimes feel like you must try to make as little noise as possible in Germany because each sound is considered unnecessary.  Public space is supposed to be calm and quiet.

Not so in Navrongo! Here the people really live in the streets, their everyday live takes place in the lanes and places of the city. Together with the pigs, goats, chicken, sheep and cows everybody makes his own contribution to the sound of the village.


Usually the “song of Navrongo” starts at five or six in the morning. The mosque will start calling for prayers while a pig or some goats pass by grunting and bleating next to your window. Students start walking to school and their singing might wake you up. In the house where I live, pigeons live in the roof and their cooing starts just when the first light comes up.

The whole day long you can hear goats, pigs, chicken, pigeons, cows… in the street. They may come up to my office window looking for food or walk along the street just like everybody else. At the same time, there are the people of course. Since many of the offices or shops are outside you can hear their music and chatter. Next to the school there are many sewers. Their sound of the sewing machines gets accompanied by African music or old European songs. Just last weekend I heart all the hits from backstreet boys in a village close to Navrongo! For me it is wonderful to always have music around wherever you are walking and you can see what happens in the ordinary live of the working-class people.

Most of the noise comes from the vehicles passing wherever they fit. Especially on marked days, big trucks may try to pass small streets and you can see the motor bikes roaring in between. For safety reasons, many people honk whenever they want to pass another vehicle or just try to greet somebody. You can imagine, that I sometimes have to stop my class and wait for a truck to pass or I would have to scream at my students.

In the night, Geckos end the song with their clicking voices in every house.

Of course, my German ears where not used to all these sounds at the same time at the beginning – even though they got a lot of practice during my stay in Mexiko! Now I sometimes even enjoy it. It makes it easier to wake up in the morning, when you hear everybody else being awake. You kind of know your neighbors better, you know the music they like, the television shows they watch and it feels like everybody lives a little bit closer together then in my home town.



About the author:

Julia has a bachelor degree in social anthropology and volunteered at CBS from January till March 2017. During her stay she taught ICT to the students at CBS and provided computer courses to other interested people. She was also in charge of the Internet Café, attended customers and helped with the administrative work.

The CBS blog is written by staff members, volunteers and by CBS students. The various authors write about courses and activities at CBS as well as about daily life, the culture of Navrongo and their intercultural experiences and travel adventures.

The purpose of the blog is to provide an insight into daily life at CBS and in Navrongo to future volunteers, to families and friends of volunteers and to supporters of CBS / SFS.

To support CBS, you can click here.

For more information about volunteering at CBS, you can click here. Currently, there are no vacancies for volunteers, but should you be interested in volunteering with us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! (hello (at) sonofoundation . org)









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