Volunteering in a hospital in Ghana
Verena always knew that she wants to study medicine one day. This is why she decided to volunteer in a hospital in Ghana for 6 weeks, after she finished high school. There she got the opportunity to gain some first insight into the world of medicine. She also increased her desire to study medicine and to help other people.
Let's go to Ghana!
My journey to Ghana started on the 1st of July. I had awaited this moment for a long time and finally it became reality! I was planning on studying medicine in October, which is why I had a couple of weeks time after finishing school in June. Since I had always been interested in foreign countries, different people and travelling in general I decided to volunteer in a hospital in Ghana for 6 weeks.
The life with my Host Family
Arriving in my host family's house in Ho was a pleasant surprise. I had a very spacious room and the whole house was connected to electricity and running water. Still, clothes were hand-wahsed in the garden and I had to get used to the open air “bucket shower” at first, but it was really no problem at all and actually quite charming. ;-) I got along with my host sister immediately, we often sat in the kitchen talking while she was preparing typical Ghanaian dishes, such as Fufu and Banku. This way, I learnt a lot about the life in Ghana. She also showed me how to find my way through the bustling market, where you can find literally anything ranging from fresh fish to toothbrushes.
My tasks in the hospital
During the week, I worked in the Volta Regional Hospital from the mornings until the afternoon. I got to see different wards (for example the emergency room, general medicine, gynecology, operation), so I learnt incredibly much. It was especially touching to be able to witness a natural birth. In the operating room I was allowed to watch during different operations and the doctors and nurses were always happy to explain to me what was going on.
In general, it was amazing to talk to the people in Ghana, who were always very friendly and open towards me. This is how I learnt a lot about the work in a Ghanaian hospital, but also about their culture and their lives. Language wise I had no trouble, because pretty much everyone in Ghana knows how to speak English. In the beginning, I had to get used to the strong Ghanaian accent, but even this seemed natural after a while.
My local coordinator was also very kind, I could always consult him when I had questions or minor problems. He also introduced me to a group of Spanish volunteers living in the student house. We went on many weekend trips together with other volunteers from the US.
We went for example to the beautiful Wli waterfalls and fed monkeys in the monkey sanctuary with bananas from our hands. Climbing Mount Adaklu in the blazing African sun was exhausting, however the amazing view on the surrounding landscape made it all worth it. Especially beautiful were my days in Cape Coast. The sea and the huge waves impressed me a lot and I decided that Kakum national park was one of my favourite places in Ghana. There are seven interconnected rope bridges in between the rainforest trees, about 40 meters high!
Conclusion: an unforgettable time, which I wouldn't ever want to miss!
Another interesting experience was the trip to my host sister's relatives, who live in a small village. The people were so kind and welcoming! Even though they are very poor, they immediately prepared food for me. It fascinated me to see their way of life, which takes place mainly outside – even the cooking pit is located in front of the hut. All in all, I had an amazing time in Ghana. Everything is so different from Germany and you need to experience it to understand it! The people are very friendly, everyone is interested in you, want to become your friend and are happy about everything. I learnt so much, not only in the hospital but from everyone around me. The time in the hospital only increased my wish to study medicine. It was an unforgettable time, which I wouldn't ever want to miss!