Project Location: Volta Ghana
Program Dates: September 15-December 10
Volunteered: Orphanage Program
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Tags: ghana, volta, Volta Ghana
“Thanks so much for all your help setting me up with my three months spent in Ghana, with ABV. It was a really great experience-I loved the kids and got to meet so many other interesting travels, as well as see some different parts of Ghana. Now I’m home-all safe and sound after quite the long flight (with delays and missed connecting flight), unfortunately without my luggage (which I’m crossing my fingers will be found since there’s tons of gifts and mementos bought in Africa). Thanks again.
-Sarah M. Borup
I was surprised that….
The children were so self-sufficient. Two year olds washing their own cups and bowls, 6 year olds washing their own laundry. Of course volunteers help in so many ways, but the kids had so many responsibilities for their age.
The most difficult thing I experienced was…
The toughness of the culture. While everyone loves and cares for each other so deeply, they still much teach lessons and punish when children do bad things. The punishments, which include caning (aka hitting with a thin stick) can seem so harsh at times that you can’t stand to be around it, but as a volunteer should already understand, you’re entering someone else’s culture and not going to impose your own ways.
My best received lesson…
Be patient. In Africa, the concept of time is so different. People could be an hour late for something and it goes unnoticed! This happens especially in the hospital system. If a child ever has to visit the hospital, expect to set aside about 5 hours for waiting to be seen by a doctor. When a doctor finally does see you-don’t expect too much examination. Chances are if you have a temperature you’re getting malaria medication.
Tip for future volunteers… (Clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc)
Don’t pack any white clothing-it will get dirty from all of the dirt roads and the kids constantly touching you! Make sure you know what’s considered appropriate for the culture. Nothing more than an inch above the knee is okay. As far as donations, don’t go overboard on material things. While arts and crafts and toys are fun for the kids, they really won’t be much help if there isn’t enough money to keep the kids eating, in school, and healthy!
Personal Paragraph (Testimonial)
My time spent in Africa was wonderful in so many ways. I had the chance to share my love and knowledge with a group of amazing children who had so much to offer. I was able to meet so many other interesting and inspiring travelers. I not only visited Ghana for three months, but really began to understand the culture, become accustomed to the way of life, and feel as if Kpando was a home to me. Overall, through my work in the home and community, the travels I did throughout the country, and the relationships I established, I feel as if I have not changed as a person, but grown and added to my life experience, as well as have ignited a spark for travel and work such as this for the future.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?