Volunteers

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Charlotte Constable – Ghana

Names of staff involved in your programme: 

Rebecca and Fred Frempong, Dominic Nyarko, Florence, Appiah Boateng-Yaw

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What members of staff do you remember the most?
I remember Dominic the most as he was often partaking in our social activities, and our point of help if we needed it. Florence was also a friendly and familiar face around the house and Appiah was helpful when organising our activities.

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What were your impressions of the accommodation?
I thought the accommodation was generally spacious, although the kitchen became quite crowded and was in need of a new oven! I was grateful for the nets over the windows. I was pleased that I had a room with my friends.

Why did you want to volunteer?
I wanted to challenge myself by doing something I was afraid to. I also thought it would be a great experience while I was young and not committed to a full-time job. I had also heard good things about another project from one of the friends I went with; I had admiration for her courage and confidence, and wanted to try volunteering for myself.

What did you do for fun?
We travelled on weekends, visiting the beaches and rainforests of the Cape Coast, and partying at Big Millie’s Backyard in Kokrobite. Me and a few friends also visited Lake Bosomtwe for a relaxing break, which was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. I also really enjoyed visiting two waterfalls and the bead market. In the evenings we usually played cards and board games or spent time at Fred’s bar.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
I think the larger of the two waterfalls was my most enjoyable experience; I loved swimming in it. Sharing a room with nine people at Big Millie’s was a laugh, not to mention eating dinner on a hotel roof in a power cut at the Cape Coast! And seeing Lake Bosomtwe for the first time was something special. It was completely silent and still, and there was a rainbow in the distance.

Who did you make friends with?
I made friends with everyone in my house, and around half the volunteers from the other house, usually through having house parties. I was closer to those I arrived with as we shared more journeys, projects and meals together.

What were the names of the best places to hang out and socialise?
Fred’s bar was a great place to socialise and meet other volunteers. It provided us with somewhere to go in the evenings, and was local enough that a taxi fare was cheap.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers? Please explain why.
I would consider another project with Original Volunteers, as the company was great, the projects was fun, there were great places to travel to, and the overall feel was relaxed. I loved Ghana, but I probably wouldn’t return, simply because I want to broaden my horizons by travelling to new places.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
I would recommend the Ghana project and have done so, explaining that it offers a great first-time project as the feel is relaxed, and that Ghana is considered one of the safest and friendliest African countries. It certainly lived up to that.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
I would suggest they bring cereal bars and chocolate bars from home, and herbs for cooking with. Uncle Ben’s rice bags were a lovely treat. Also I brought a curry in a bag, and stir-in pasta sauces – these made for delicious dinners and a change from rice. Also: a torch, clothes they don’t mind getting ruined, knee-length shorts, trainers/walking boots, a strong roomy backpack, a mini travel pillow, plenty of mosquito repellent containing minimum 50% deet, a pop-up mosquito net for their bed, loads of baby wipes, a pack of cards, and a few books or magazines to read. For the school projects I would recommend bringing the basics as a minimum – pencils, rubbers, sharpeners, exercise books. Then colouring, coloured card/paper, crayons, coloured chalk, stickers, face paint, and handwriting books as extras.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
I would suggest bringing all of the above! I would recommend bringing cash instead of travellers’ cheques or a card, as the cheques are near impossible to change, and ATM machines often break. Keeping cash stored in different safe places is a good idea. Also I would recommend taking a phone to put their Ghanaian Sim card in, making sure it is unlocked first; and knowing where your torch is, for power cuts!