The last three weeks here in Koforidua, Ghana have been amazing. I certainly stepped outside of my comfort zone by coming on this adventure, but am so glad I did.
The program I participated in was set up specifically for me as there was not an established “Teaching IT” program in Ghana. I am so grateful to uVolunteer for taking the time to do this as I really wanted to come to Africa, wanted to stay in a dorm, but dorm accommodations are only available in the Ghana, Costa Rica, and Thailand.
The children at my school, Ghana Secondary School of Koforidua, are so wonderful. They are respectful, thoughtful, always have a smile to share, want to know your name, where are you from, etc. They made me feel welcome. That is also true of the staff at the headmasters and the teachers. I can’t deny there are a few troublemakers during class, but overall the students here are very well-behaved.
I saw some of the negative effects on the students educations caused by shortage of supplies. Students are not able to spend much time on the computers since there is only 1 lab and well over a thousand students at the school.
In addition, the students sometimes do not have books or the materials used by the teachers are out of date.
Thankfully, the government provided the computers in the 1 working computing lab and software such as Microsoft Encarta, MS Office 2007, and Windows 7 is available. The WHO also provided software to instruct the children about fitness and health subjects.
I enjoyed staying in the town of Koforidua. The trip I took by taxi up to the hill overlooking the town was a wonderful experience. I would have liked to go a few other nearby sights, but the experiences and sights I was able to fit in during my limited time here have been wonderful. The people here are very friendly, wonderful to talk to, and don’t pressure you to buy things as much as in other cities like Accra and Cape Coast.
I visited Cape Coast with Katie, another volunteer, where we relaxed on the beach Elimina Bay Resort. I highly recommend this hotel. We also toured the Cape Coast Castle and there we saw the dungeons where thousands of slaves were kept before the slave trade ended in the 1800s. What a humbling, amazing experience.
During my stay in Ghana, I also visited the orphanage. Walking off the tro-tro, we were met by a bunch of excited children running towards us yelling “Madam! Madam!” and other greetings. This was a wonderful experience. I so loved seeing the children and am happy for the time I spent with them.
The uVolunteer organization is great, especially the local volunteer coordinators and staff. I am so grateful to them for their support and would go on another volunteer vacation with this organization again.
I also plan to come to Africa again, something I never really thought I’d say. This experience has opened my eyes to the reality of what Africa is.
This does not match what you see on TV in the US and therefore many people are misinformed about what Africa is really like. I know there is a lot more for me to know about Africa, but I am grateful for what I did learn, and I plan to share this with others when I return home.
My thoughts about what Africa would be like are quite a bit different from what I’ve seen in Ghana. I’m so glad I was able to experience it to for myself and am excited to share my experience with people back in the US.