Charles Wilson Ghana
A volunteer interested in building finds new skills in teaching and reflects on his experience…
I travelled to Ghana on my own and after the long taxi journey i arrived at the house to be greeted by the volunteers lining the steps up to the house. Over the month i was there i alternated between teaching and building each week and going on little expeditions at the weekends with the other volunteers.
With the teaching i primarily helped with classes of young children around 7 or 8 at a variety of schools. Alongside another volunteer, Scott, i was given the responsibility of teaching maths, science and english with the subjects being taught out of a book, however we came up with new and fun ways to teach the children the subject matter which i thoroughly enjoyed. Break time was always a time to play football with the boys (who were far better than me!) and sit with the other volunteers recollecting how the days teaching went and sharing ideas.
For the building i worked with the volunteers and locals to build walls for a small local school, starting from scratch. We made the bricks on site which was exhausting work but very rewarding when i saw them being put into place. Whilst at the school i was given the task to clear a patch of ground of roots and large rocks in order to produce a safe space where the children could play outside (the rest of the site being pretty wild). At another school i helped render the walls in a new classroom which had been erected by previous volunteers which involved learning how to render and to look after the tools.
Throughout the volunteer project i had to to adapt to the new climate, the Ghanaian sun being a large factor when working outdoors and to the new culture which i quickly became very fond. I found the idea of teaching my most daunting challenge, as originally i had planned to only build, the thought of standing in front of a large class of restless children and teaching them a subject off the cuff was big challenge. I hope they learnt what i was teaching and after my month in Ghana i feel i am a lot more comfortable speaking in front of crowds and presenting ideas to them. I also learnt new construction skills and local techniques which were particularly interesting to me as a student of architecture.
I had the most amazing time on the volunteer project and found it very rewarding. I met some great people who showed me where to eat, the daily routine and other bits of information which i would later pass on to the new arrivals just as they had. Some of whom i am still in contact with today.