My time with Original Volunteers in Ghana was easily the best few weeks of my life, everything ran smoothly, I met some wonderful people both locals and other volunteers and every day was a new adventure.
First of all I was a little nervous about walking out of the airport into a strange place not really knowing what to expect, but straight away I saw a guy with a big Original Volunteers sign and my name written with it, so I walked over and he explained in good English who he was, showed me his ID and off we went onto a 3 or 4 hour journey into the Hills of Kwahu. It was late when I arrived and the other volunteers were sleeping so after a very warm welcome from 3 more staff members we called it a night. In the morning the other new volunteers and I were given a proper welcome, all the information we need was given and they answered all our questions, we spent the rest of the day getting shown around the local area, gathering supplies, mainly drinking water and snacks.
The next day is when the volunteering began, the days usually begin with a meeting where we all discuss what we will be doing and what we want to achieve. We had a good mix of teachers and builders so we split into our groups and headed off to work. We spent the first couple of weeks building a new class room for a small community in which the school was falling to pieces. As a volunteer builder you don’t need to bring anything special or have any special skills but it is hard work.
I did some teaching at a school called Sunrise where I met so many lovely children and teachers, it was an amazing experience. I had no teaching experience and no idea what to expect. The children have a curriculum but there’s no need to stick to it, the subjects are up to you within reason of course. I taught lessons on planets, simple maths and some simple English lessons. If you plan on teaching for your whole trip I’d recommend thinking of some lesson plans before hand and take any equipment you might need. Most of the schools have little or no equipment so taking stationary is a good idea.
Usually weekends are free time so we travelled to various places around the country, The first place we went was Mole National Park, it was amazing, we stayed in a hotel in the middle of the park surrounded by all kinds of animals, we saw elephants every day and every kind of monkey imaginable, the only crime I saw in Ghana was a Baboon stealing my Hobnobs.
There is also a nice pool and well stocked bar, friendly staff and quite nice rooms.
My other favourite place is Kokrobite, a small beach front community with a few hotels and a very nice atmosphere, this is the place to come to unwind, there Is a western owned hotel called Big Millies, they organise beach parties with bars, live music, Bon Fires and nice food.
Another great place to visit is Cape Coast, we spent two days there and visited the old Slave Castle which was very interesting and taught me a lot. The next day we visited Kakum National park where we had a mini jungle trek followed by the Canopy walk which is a 350 M walkway suspended high in the trees, I highly recommend this as it gave a unique perspective of the rain forest.
There is so much more to do in Ghana it’s impossible to fit it all into one trip but whatever you do you will love it.
I was so sad to leave Ghana I have been back once already and I will going again next year, I genuinely recommend Original volunteers, they are cheap, supportive and reliable.