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Tourism in Ghana – A volunteer’s experience

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I had just recently returned form my second trip to Ghana to volunteer with  “Volunteer in Africa”,  My friend and I worked at an orphanage there closely connected with the organization, and it occurred to me just how lucky we were to have had this experience.

The organization is highly professional and does a very good job in selecting host families and make sure to take good care of you during your stay. I was very impressed with how the stay was organized from pick-ups, host families and so on. The organization is local, which is a big plus. Also, the founder and leader of the organization is a local man, Eben Mensah,  who is very honest and who has a lot of drive. The first time I was there, I quickly realized that Eben is a very unique man with the kind of strength and caring that is really one of a kind.

This organization is not known by any funding sources and when I was there I tried to change this by contacting some funding sources for help. All were either unable or unwilling to help. I started wondering how many places there are like this in Africa and the third world in general, that simply survive somehow under the radar without any outside help. As amazing and life-changing an experience it was for me being there, it also left me with an incredible feeling of helplessness when It became clear that the future of this wonderful organization is uncertain

The one thought that really bothers me the most is how the media portrays certain people as heroes and worthy of fame when nothing could be further from the truth and meanwhile countless people in the third world like Eben Mensah never get any recognition for doing the kind of work that is really changing the world for the better, even if it is just their small corner of it.

Ghana as is a very open and friendly country which makes it very easy to travel. People are friendly and very helpful. It is an almost hassle free zone which we found very nice. On the other hand, depending on where you go, it can also be your 15 minutes of fame, as kids want to say hello to you everywhere – we found it charming and a nice way of getting in touch with different people 🙂

We were placed with a family outside a smaller town (40,000 inhabitants) to the north of Accra working at an orphanage and school. Staying with the family was a big success. We met some very interesting people and there was always someone to talk to at the house. Besides from the family, the family also consist of 6-7 young men in the age 20-25, who are staying at the house or coming everyday to help our host mother. Most of the young men are in college and they have intelligent and very interesting perspectives on their community and life in general. We had some very rewarding conversations with them, and we became part of the family in the sense that they were bringing us everywhere. For example we participated in their sons wedding and in all the preparation to the wedding, which was at least as fun as the wedding itself.

Working at the orphanage was a fun and rewarding experience. The kids love to meet new people and want to be around you all the time. Some of the elder kids are ok in English, but otherwise most of the kids only know some basics. Therefore, most of the communication is through playing, singing and just being together.

Everywhere we got challenged on how good we were getting in the local languages, which is good, because it meant that we were quickly catching up on some basics. You can get almost everything that you need. A good thing though is to bring a sunscreen from home. This is very difficult to find in Ghana .

Ghana is definitely an easy country to travel and you will quickly get to know people there. Guide books call Ghana ‘ Africa for beginners’ and I think that is true. I have been to Zimbabwe and South Africa before this trip, and I would say that Ghana is safe and you will feel welcome everywhere.

The food that we were eating was in general very good. They use a lot of fish that is smoked and some meat and poultry for delicious palm soups and stews, peanut soups and stews, light Soups, egg-plant stews and green leafy stews. These are usually served with rice, yams, ripe or unripe plantains, fufu, Kenkey, banku etc. Ghana is blessed with many varieties of delicious foods.

We spent the last week traveling along the coastline to see more of the country. It is very easy and I perceive it as a very safe place. There are many things to see and experience.

For anyone who is even considering volunteering on a project in Africa , “Volunteer in Africa ” would be a great place. You will absolutely feel welcome here and highly appreciated as I was for the two times I have been there. I cannot express how much this organization has changed me, and my outlook on life. I can highly recommend a stay in Ghana as a volunteer with “Volunteer in Africa “. We had a brilliant time and are talking of going back in a year or two.

Source: Travel Blackboard

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