Sarah Foley - General Care Projects in Ghana
On arrival in Ghana everything seemed so surreal, I was suddenly in the middle of crowds of people and being an 'obruni' (white person!) I felt like I was the centre of attention when all I wanted to do was hide! However, within my first few days in Accra I slowly started to get used to all the attention and learnt that Ghanaians are some of the friendliest people and are so interested just to talk to you.
When I started my placement I was in the nursery at Osu Children's Home. The kids were so gorgeous, with an age range of anything from just born to about 2 years old, which at times was heart-breaking to think that these kids had no parents to care for them, but with myself and other volunteers around them they were never left alone! The staff were also always playing and singing with the kids and they had the biggest smiles I have ever seen!
I later moved onto work within the school and helped a teacher with a class of 16 3-5 year olds. They were extremely lively and seemed more interested in sleeping, playing or just jumping all over me!! But it was very rewarding when the kids got used to me and would come to me for help or would want to keep showing me something they had learnt to say or write which I had taught them.
After work I often arranged to take some of the kids on a few trips to the zoo and the beach and we were able to arrange for the bus driver at the home to take all those that had not been to the beach before, which was so much fun! It was great to see them having such a good time.
Obviously, the majority of my time in Accra was spent at my placement, but outside of this there was also so much going on - there was never a dull moment. Even walking down the street was often entertaining in itself, from having kids follow you to refusing many marriage proposals! Most nights all the volunteers would also meet up which was nice to relax for a while and chat to people that were having the same experiences as you.
There's no doubt that it takes time to get used to the Ghanian culture but after this I felt very welcomed and made many friends who I had to go and say hello to each day! Ghana is an exciting and friendly place to do a volunteer placement and would I love to go back again sometime.
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.