Imagine yourself, you’re on the way to your volunteer work site, sitting in a Tro-Tro among dazzling, colourful textiles, oppressing heat and very chatty Ghanaians. You realize that the small public bus is designed to take only half of today’s passengers. The mixture of Ghana’s national languages English and Twi results in a Pidgin, forming into an African music for your ears. The road you take from Accra to Ho winds through stunning landscapes and past buzzing markets. The traffic is insane and goats and monkeys suddenly pop in front of the bus. Africa is almost as you had imagined, almost.
As a volunteer you will experience the welcoming Ghanaian culture in a more close-up, intensive way than you would as a usual tourist. You will embrace the Mañana-Mañana mentality quicker than you think. This journey to Africa will teach you, what is truly needed (or not needed) to live a happy life.
Want to discover Africa? Start in Ghana!
When coming to Africa for the first time, many young volunteers choose Ghana as their first destination.
Ghana is believed to be one of the safest places on the African continent. It used to be a British colonial state and therefore is seen as the poster country and democracy in west Africa. Furthermore, Ghanaians are very religious people and the majority of the population wouldn’t even consider threatening foreigners. Of course, safety requires you to follow certain rules such as avoiding going out at night or exposing your iPod or other expensive belongings on the streets. At the same time, Ghana offers easy access to the African tradition and lifestyle. Over 250 different dialects are spoken by more than 100 different ethnic groups, all living peacefully together. If you are just beginning your discovery of Africa, start in Ghana.
Motivated volunteers will find many different volunteer opportunities where they can support efforts to bridge gaps between the rich and poor or to combat discrimination faced by African women, spreading a common understanding of human rights.
Volunteer responsibilities involve activities like:
- teaching English
- teaching other subjects
- offering your help as a care volunteer in homes for children
- assisting doctors and medical teams in small local clinics or public hospitals.
- helping locals with different building projects (if you are physically fit)
Many hands make light work
Depending on your volunteer project you will be accommodated in a volunteer house with shared community living or with a local family. Both opportunities have their benefits. After your day as a volunteer you can discover Ho and Accra with your fellow volunteers, or you can spend time with your host parents and siblings, a great opportunity to immerge into African culture.
No matter which kind of accommodation you choose, both are intended to integrate you into the team of volunteers and locals. Always remember, that your volunteer stay is no individual undertaking. You will live and work together with others in a team sharing the same vision, following the same mission. A good teamwork is the perfect breeding for a sustainable and positive effect.
"If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." African proverb
The construction of a small children home in Kasoa, close to Ghana's capital shows the positive effect team work can have. A handful of international volunteers and locals have been building the foundation walls for a new children shelter within a few weeks only. Of course, it wasn't always easy to work under a scorching sun and a naturally and culturally different environment. See you two of the construction volunteer Matthias and Christopher experienced a typical day of a construction volunteer.