Katie Parkinson - General Care Projects in Ghana
My college organised the trip to Ghana, and me and a few of my friends decided that we would like to go. The cost of the trip would mean that we would have to raise some of the money ourselves; we did this by doing cake sales in our school, car washes, bag packing in supermarkets and a sponsored bike ride.
By the time we were on the way to Ghana we were all so excited, I didn’t really know what to expect, I was just looking forward to helping people who lived in a third world country. As soon as we got to Ghana we were welcomed by everyone, including Anthony who looked after us for the 2 weeks we were in Ghana and Gifty who was our host mother.
On our first night about fifty children were outside Gifty’s house shouting to us because they could see us eating our dinner, they wanted us to come and play. So we took out a football and a few Frisbees to them. It was amazing to see how happy these children got by a soft football and a couple of Frisbees. If we had taken these to children in England then some would have probably ignored us and gone back to their computers, televisions or games consoles.
Our main work in Ghana was to paint Hope Academy School which we would be painting, but we also did care work in Kumasi orphanage and SOS orphanage. I didn’t know what any of these places would look like or how the children would be. We first went to Hope Academy School and it was nothing like I thought it would be. It was extremely basic, and needed some serious paint work. If the school had been in England then it wouldn’t have been allowed but Anthony told us that this school was a private one in Ghana and that the children had to pay everyday so that they could learn.
The school was only small, we had to paint the inside and the outside and then the walls outside of the school, and it took us 9 days in total to complete. Once we had finished we ‘gave the school back’ to the students and teachers and everybody seemed so appreciative of what we had done and it made me feel really great and it was lovely to see how happy the children were with the finished school. It did look much better once we had finished it, and we also donated things that we had brought like pens, pencils and colouring books and again everybody seemed so grateful that we had done this.
Going to Kumasi orphanage was probably the most moving experience of the trip, the conditions that the children were in, and that there were so many aged from babies to teenagers was shocking. Again though, all of the children there were so lovely, and when we took them toys and colours and books they all looked so happy, but didn’t understand how to share or play together because they hadn’t experienced it before.
Whilst in Ghana we went to Cape Coast which was a four hour drive away from Kumasi. Going to Cape Coast was like a holiday within our stay in Ghana. Whilst there we visited a slave museum, which was interesting. We also went to the beach and a pool. Whilst in Cape Coast we went on a canopy walk where we walked over bridges in a rainforest. This experience was amazing, but very scary especially when the bridges would shake!
Going to Ghana was easily the most amazing experience of my life; it was so great to see that we were making a difference to people who really needed our help. Everybody who was there working for Projects Abroad was so lovely, and helpful and after only being in Ghana for three days, it felt like we had been there forever as everyone had made us feel so welcome. I would love to go back in a few years, or to do more volunteer work with Projects Abroad. Thank you so much for the opportunity.
This volunteer story may include references to working in or with orphanages. Find out more about Projects Abroad's current approach to volunteering in orphanages and our focus on community-based care for children.