Ghana

uVolunteer

It was a great month working with a local football team and local college sporting teams such as track and field, basketball, badminton, table tennis and volleyball. Since the West African Poly games are coming up, I was very busy volunteering with various teams.

At the college, it was track and field qualifications for the West African Poly games. Most of the athletes competed in bare feet, socks, and a few pairs of shoes. Kofi, the 20 year old man who represented the IT students, won the 1,600 meter race by running it bare foot and still managed to break the school record held for 15 years.

As a volunteer, it took long days to help prepare the field for the event. We had to measure, chalk the lanes for the runners, pick up and move large rocks, dig a large hole for the long and triple jump. The best part about getting the long and triple jump pit ready was going to a local saw mill with other Ghanaians and bringing the saw dust back on our bicycles. The day of the event was filled with hundreds of people from the local community, and the local college. The telecom company MTN, sponsored the event by giving the winners of each event shirts, trophies, and hats. A very memorable event that I will never forget!

I really appreciate UVolunteer for being organized and providing the volunteers with such a nice environment to live in. Great showers, kitchen, food, staff and a clean house with comfortable beds. Koforidua is surrounded by mountains, so it's a great place to have weekends off. It's close to waterfalls, hiking in the mountains, bicycle riding, local villages,and easy access to festivals in the Eastern Region. Only a quick ride to Accra to see any major attractions in Ghana's capital city.

I really enjoyed the Ghana experience.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Dec 10, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

uVolunteer

Ghana was the most eye opening experience I have ever encountered in my life. Upon arriving, I was not quite sure what to expect, but I knew I would not be living a posh life. I was not prepared to have everything I had grown accustomed too in the states taken away from me, but I settled in quickly. I often times found myself looking around in awe that I was in Ghana and how the people lived.

The little things added up in Ghana and they were always a result of someone wanting to help in one way or another, and that is what I will remember about my experience, the people.

Despite the amount of poverty here, I can say with confidence that Ghanians are the most genuinely nice people I have ever been around in my life. I almost wanted to ask the first few people I spoke to what they wanted because they acted like a salesman, but they were just truly being friendly. After going to the crazy market, experiencing the upbeat style of church, and eating some Ghaninan food it was time for me to start my project.

My project involved teaching 15-18 year old girls how to play basketball. The game of basketball is rare in Ghana, and most do not have access to a court or ball. The first day I started teaching the girls I thought I was starting from the basics, but I did not realize they had never even seen a basketball before. Names such as Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson were completely foreign and the concept of dribbling had not previously been taught.
My goal was to keep it fun. As soon as the girls started to show any signs of being bored, I just let them play even if it meant breaking a few rules. The first week was very entertaining and I enjoyed watching the girls' progress in their knowledge and ability of the game. In order to help my teaching process, I taught the girls in a classroom setting in the mornings to help explain how to play the game and show them a few skills. In the afternoon we would walk about 15 minutes away to play at a local court. I had a lot of fun teaching the girls and made some good friends along the way.

Outside of teaching at the local school, I got to know a lot of people in Ghana. uVolunteer got me plugged into the community with some great people and I was able to branch out from there. The hearts of Ghanians are genuine and everybody wanted to know my story. uVolunteer did a great job making sure I experienced the culture here and setting me up with people to take me around town. I got to go to a local church, experience the food market, walk around the clothes market, eat all kinds of Ghanian food, go to local night life spots, experience the national park, walk with elephants, see monkeys steal people's breakfast, wash clothes by hand, and be chased by 50 Ghanian kids hoping to take a basketball from me.

Every day on the way to class I would walk by the kids school and hear the word 'obrony' (white man!) about 50 times. At first I did not know what to do, but all I had to do was smile and wave as if I was some sort of celebrity. The kids' faces light up and some just want wave at you. The little things added up in Ghana and they were always a result of someone wanting to help in one way or another, and that is what I will remember about my experience, the people.

I would recommend the uVolunteer program to anybody and suggest you join because it will be one of the most important experiences you will ever encounter. Be thankful for your current life, but know that you can never be truly thankful unless you live in a poor town.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Dec 4, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

A girl I used to go to school with randomly messaged me about halfway through my trip; she said shed seen my Facebook posts and always wanted to do something similar, she was asking for advice.. So I told her what I tell everyone, and weirdly I even said it to myself before I left: "I don't totally regret going through a company first time, but I will never do it again".

I was placed at GREEN from June - October 2014. I was at scarlet a couple if weeks but it was badly run and when Eddie offered I could switch back to my original colour I jumped.

"Yes the food is fine" "the lightbulb is broken" "we're putting up mosquito nets" ~ oh the memories of "meetings"... Respect the staff, they're epic people with that true Ghana-heart to help .. But my biggest tip? DON'T BE AFRAID TO DO LIFE YOURSELF

IVHQ is mostly what you make it, which is good.. That's a good life lesson. & i used it to get me to Ghana- a country I am now completely in love with.. The staff (to me at least) were good, lovely people and I'm very grateful for the things they did for me and the laughs we had.. But if nothing else travelling with a company taught me how I can travel without them.. Which is also a good thing. I learned I'm a traveller, not a thrown-into-a-house-of-people-not-native & just replacing another face before someone replaces mine.

Don't get me wrong; the kids are great kids and there's a few that truly touched my heart and their fingerprints will stay there forever, but I mean honestly give it a year and it's nobodies single fault but you're just another obroni. & you can be amazing or average, it is up to you.. Which is good.

Before I got my program, I read sometimes you get put with a local family and sometimes in a "volunteer house" .. I remember thinking how I so wanted the latter. I met some great people, but I wouldn't do it again in a hurry.. (I don't need to be surrounded by people in a country for six weeks constantly dragging the "group" to the expensive western style restaurants cus they totally craved pasta.... Example; 40cedi on their pasta, 1.50 on my banku & peanut soup... Uhhh.. I know what id buy first given the choice again!)

I've actually got 6 weeks left that I paid for.. (Btw once you live in country you will feel you overpaid but I knew that going in) so I am hoping to use them.. But I'm just gonna use it as my base in all honesty.. I made some amazing friends the times I did wander off, and I'm desperate to proper-travel north (you're always near the capital which is nice cus I love Accra but not as helpful for travelling)

Evans, Eddie & Mina (greens cook) were all great helps and friends during my 18 weeks.. & for every "fault" of Ghana (as with ALL countries !!) I fell in love with something else ten times more.

If you want to go to Ghana, go. If you want to go via IVHQ - do. For what it is, it works.. Just know that once you find your feet and balls you can do it a lot cheaper & for me at least, you'll get a much more "truly-traveller" experience !

Get connected, get involved, don't watch the clock ever & have the patience of an azonto-dancing-saint... You're gonna love it :)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Dec 3, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
6

Comments

Thanks for sharing your feedback from your time volunteering in Ghana. It is great to hear that through volunteering with IVHQ you have now gained the confidence to travel abroad independently.

uVolunteer

Arriving in Ghana for my volunteer trip to work in an orphanage, I learned one thing right away, never expect things to go the way you had intended. This is an important lesson in life, and has always been very hard for me. So on the first day right away I was challenged with things not going the way I had imagined them to go.
Give the children all the love I can, teach them as much as I can, communicate in the best way that I can and show up and be there for the children in the time I had dedicated to them. By the third day volunteering at the orphanage I really started to see the small difference I was making and the bonding that was occurring between the children and me. Many of the children yearned to be held and loved and sometimes that was the best thing I could do for them, was just to hold them. As each day passed the children really began to attach to me and were calling me by name and always swarming around me like a school of fish.
One memorable moment I remember is when I was trying to teach the children about gentle touch, and patting or rubbing the shoulder to get my attention, instead of hitting or pulling aggressively. This was a hard lesson for them, as in their culture they are used to rough handling and gentle touch does not really exist. As I explained to them how to do it, and that I like it better than being pulled on very hardly, they really understood and started helping each other out by reminding each other and demonstrating it on me. It was really sweet to see how one girl showed another one what a " gentle touch" was and how quickly she responded and started doing it that way.
Overall my experience at the orphanage was truly wonderful, and I would not trade it for anything, despite its challenges and obstacles. It was an experience I put myself into and I think it has made me a stronger, more adaptable person because of it. I am glad to have been able to share something with the children and hope that the time I spent with them will leave some kind of impression or memory in there minds to carry with them for the rest of there lives. Ghana is an amazing country, rich with culture, flavor and excitement. There was never a dull moment in Ghana and my time here has enriched my life in a very positive way.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Dec 1, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
9

uVolunteer

The age that I am and where I live, were two reasons why I had never thought of volunteering in an African country.
I had an exciting week because things were so different compare to our country that I could not believe what I saw.
The first week was a bit of orientation to the projects we were about to do. I had an exciting week because things were so different compare to our country that I could not believe what I saw, such as how people worked at the market or the condition of the roads and taxis or "trotros".The second week was more normal because we had got used to some things in the country.
Working at the orphanage was amazing; the summer camp was successful, well organized and above all, the children were so nice and polite, they made our stay in Ghana much more pleasant, and always made us come home and feel happy for the work we had done that day.I thought of this trip as a challenge or an adventure, and I did not know what would or could happen. But fortunately everything went well and, for me, it has been so far the most rewarding experience I've ever had-certainly one to be repeated

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Dec 1, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

I was lucky enough to volunteer in Ghana for 3 weeks. I was involved in the turquoise programme (medical), which also allowed me to help with the children at the orphanage we stayed at. My trip to ghana was one that can only be described as amazing. I learnt so much about the amazing culture that ghana has, each day I learnt something from the people and children I was involved with. The ivhq staff were an amazing support and teaching aid ( they helped teach us some ghanian words....Awkwaba), Mr Seth who runs the orphanage is an unbelievable man than shows only greatness for what can be achieved when able to. This experience has only left me wanting to do more for people and enabled me to know I can do so. While I was there I was involved in a local clinic, it was there we were able to work with the Chief, maternity unit and general concerns such as malaria and sickness. The staff there were lovely, couldn't do more to make us feel welcome and show us the way in which they work. With working with Mr Seth and the local clinic we were able to achieve a free screening clinic for children for malaria, this was truely an amazing experience to be involved in. The turquoise programme also allows us to work with an orphanage known as Beckys House. The children there are children that have left a print on my heart and will never be forgotten. From teaching me how to dance Azonto style, to the way they cook there food. The children there have the biggest hearts that only make you open your heart more. My time in ghana was one that was truely great and has left me wanting to return, the turquoise programme is an amazing programme to be involved in.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Nov 28, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

Thanks for sharing your experience volunteering in Ghana with IVHQ. It’s great to read that you felt looked after and welcomed by our local time and placement staff. Your time in Ghana sounds truly special and we hope to see you on another IVHQ program soon.

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

I spent 6 weeks volunteering in Ghana, Africa with International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ) at the beginning of this year and it changed my life forever. It was an absolutely amazing experience and I owe it all to the ease of the program getting me prepared for the trip, picking me up from the airport, transitioning us from arriving in Ghana to our program placement, and all throughout the length of my stay I saw an IVHQ employee at least once a week if not more who just came to check up on us and see how we were doing. IVHQ really cares about their volunteers and their experience. I had the misfortune to end up in the hospital for a few days due to an infection and my IVHQ placement guide was by my side within hours, he came to sit with me, to see how I was doing, communicated with my family back home, they really care about your wellbeing and safety. I felt so comfortable volunteering with IVHQ and extremely cared for and protected. I fell in love with the amazing children I got to spend my 6 weeks in Africa with and I long for the day that I can see their sweet faces again. I highly recommend IVHQ volunteering!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Nov 14, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your volunteer experience in Ghana with IVHQ. It is great to read your review and we are glad to hear that the care you received from IVHQ while in Ghana was what you expected. We hope to have you volunteer with us again in the future.

Cross-Cultural Solutions

I spent one week in Hohoe, Ghana with Cross Cultural Solutions. This was one of the most amazing and memorable experiences of my life. I was picked up by the in country director and was able to talk to him the whole way to the home base. He shared with my information about Ghana and the Volta Region, which is where I was stationed. Upon arriving at the home base I was greeted with a hot meal and a bedroom ready for me and my belongings. While in Hohoe, I felt so welcomed by the staff and within the first day felt like part of the family. My placement was at a local private school and I chose to work with Junior High School students. The experience and relationship that I made with the students was something I will never forget. The staff at the school was so welcoming and enjoyed my being there. The town of Hohoe itself is such a great place. I never felt unsafe walking around and everyone was extremely friendly. While most people speak English, they would say various phrases to me in Ewe to help me learn and were happy to correct me if I stumbled with my wording. The children were also excited when I tried to speak Ewe to them and would laugh and correct me when I messed up. The cultural excursions were very fun and memorable. Atsu, the house manager, spent most of the time with us while on excursions and knew very much about each location and was able to answer any questions and also give his input. Leaving my class on the last day was a very emotional day for me and also leaving Ghana altogether was very hard. I plan to make another trip to Hohoe in the next few months to be re-united with my Ghanian family!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Oct 11, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Alliance for African Women Initiative (AFAWI)

My four week experience volunteering at AFAWI was short but sweet. I gained a surprisingly large amount of experience and knowledge despite only being there for a month, and I believe my ability to do so is reflective of the quality and efficiency of AFAWI, and how it works with its volunteers.

Despite never having officially worked in microfinance before, I was immediately given a lot of trust and responsibility upon arriving at AFAWI. Volunteers who were already there showed me a lot of support and my ability to quickly become acquainted with the work that was being carried out, definitely enhanced my overall experience. Furthermore, I was able to work directly with local people and coordinate, exactly where money and resources were directed. This, I believe, was one of the huge benefits of working within a grassroots NGO, and a fantastic way for anyone interested in the field of development to gain a strong insight into what the field involves.

Although the work itself was extremely challenging at times, the support I got from fellow volunteers and Philip, was excellent, and helped me to achieve my goals with my fellow team members.

Not only did the work I was involved in greatly enhance my experience at AFAWI, but the friendly, family-like atmosphere made my time there unforgettable. I was cooked traditional Ghanaian meals every day, and working and living with Ghanaians gave me a strong insight into the culture, which I do not believe I could have gained at any other NGO. As a foreigner, I was granted the chance to become a part of this unique lifestyle, and the ability to always feel accepted and appreciated made my summer an unforgettable experience.

Overall, I would strongly recommend anyone interested in development, to look into volunteering with AFAWI. Their volunteering times are flexible and span all year round, and there is a wide range of projects to get involved in. The great thing about AFAWI is that you do not have to be an 'expert' in the field to feel like you can make a difference. You just need to be enthusiastic, open minded and ready to learn. From this, as I did, you can have an amazing experience.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Oct 11, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
8
Value:
8

Cross-Cultural Solutions

This was an amazing experience that I will be doing again. Upon arrival the staff were very welcoming and they immediately treated me like family. I felt very safe at all times and had no problems getting around town or to excursions. The excursions were great! We visited a waterfall, climbed to the second tallest mountain in Ghana, visited local farms, and more! I was placed to volunteer in a local private school and I loved all the children. They welcome you with open arms and love to see you everytime you come. I will miss their smiles! I have made great friends on this trip with the staff because they are so much and make it fun for you. Do not be afraid of anything here, it is very safe and everyone is very friendly and welcoming to visitiors. The community loves visitors! I would recommend this program to everyone because it is something you will enjoy throughout! Go to Ghana!! I loved it and will return!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Oct 9, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
8

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