As an 18 year old girl, it wasn’t easy to convince my parents to let me volunteer abroad. Their main concerns being cost, my accommodation and ultimately my safety. Everything changed once we stumbled on uVolunteer. The staff were amazingly quick at answering all my many questions, usually within a few hours I’d received a reply. They were very patient and helpful throughout the whole process.
The enrollment was very easy although there were multiple steps in doing so. After filling out the questionnaire, some questions about myself and my interests accompanied with a few I was enrolled.
My biggest fear as I hoped from Canada was that no one would be there to pick me up once I arrived in Ghana but sure enough, Annette, the Volunteer Coordinator, was there greeting me with a sign that had my name on it.
Orientation went very smoothly, I wasn’t faced with the cultural shock I had prepared myself for. As we walked to town, Annette showed me along with 2 other volunteers the important locations such as the bank, some restaurants, money exchange desk and where I could buy food. That Sunday we also visited Boti Falls, Umbrella Rock and Akaa Falls. Although , it was quite the hike to see these sights they were incredible and worth the while. Looking back on my time spent here in Ghana, those must have been my favourite sights that I’ seen.
The accommodation was amazing and many other volunteers through other organisations were jealous. To start of, the dorm was in a safe location in Koforidua. It also had running water(most of the time), electricity, wifi, a good sleeping arrangement and all the neccesities in the kitchen. Although it was a bit far from the Orphanage, taxi and trotro ride was immerging yourself in the Ghanaian experience.
During most of my weekends in Ghana, I was lucky enough to travel aroud and see what incredible country it really is. My second weekend, the two other volunteers and I travelled to Cape Coast where we visited Kakum National Park, the Elmina Castle and a monkey sanctuary. Cape Coast is probably my favourite city here in Ghana.
I also visited Kokrobite on my lost weekend. Although I was travelling alone at this time, I always felt safe and easily made friends. I suggest Big Miley’s Backyard for their amazing cultural night and reggae night.
For the past few years I have been wanting to do a volunteer vacation to immerse myself in a different culture as well as help out with a community in need. The desire to travel, explore and discover new things has always intreged me. Doing so while obtain a new perspective and appreciation for everything I am fortunate to have was definitly a part of the learning process.
For future volunteers, I suggest coming to Ghana with an open mind. Y-there are soo many things that are different from back home like the food, the culture and unfortunately the smell. As long as you’re open-minded about trying and doing new things your trip in the Ghana will be one to remember.
In addition, I suggest planning trips to do an the weekend, the dorm can get a little quiet over the weekends, so do research because there are so many great things to see!
The last tip I would have for any volunteer is the duration of the stay, seeing as it was my first time ever travelling alone and Africa, one month was perfect amount of time for me although I didn’t want to leave when my time came. So far first time volunteers, 4 to 6 weeks is my recommended duration.
All in all, my travels to Ghana were amazing! The people, the culture and the country were all incredible and I’d recommend it to anyone. Although nothing was as I imagined, it was still an awesome learning experince that has allowed me to learn more about myself and grow as a person. I will forever cherish the people I have met, the kids at the Orphanage and the memories I have made along this astounding journey. Thank uVolunteer.