MEGAN HARPER (BLACKFOOT, IDAHO, USA)
I traveled to Ghana, with my friend Megan Harper, January 12 to February 12, 2010. The experience and memories I had while I was in Africa will never be forgotten. It has always been my dream to travel to Africa and work in an orphanage. After discussing plans with Megan (my counterpart), we started researching different volunteer programs that were credible and reliable.
I still remember the phone call.
“So Mads, remember how we both said we wanted to go work in an orphanage someday?”
“Want to go in January?”
My Ghana experience didn’t start when I walked off the airplane, it started 6 months ago. The preparation, both physically and mentally, of leaving my life behind and completely immersing myself in another culture for a month is not a change that happens quickly or easily. But what an amazing and worthwhile change it is. We, Madison Bradshaw and myself, started doing research on the internet of different organizations that will send you to orphanages. Global-Cultural Solution (GCS) was one of the first ones that came up on list. We narrowed it down to several promising organizations. But when I did more looking into different countries in Africa, I felt Ghana would be the best. I am glad we made the RIGHT decision to travel with GCS as our organization.
I love Ghana. I love the people and how friendly they are. I love the small and different villages. I love the weather. I love some of the food. I love the pace at which things move. I love GCS and how helpful and caring they are. But mainly, I love the Drifting Angels Orphanage in Tsito. As we were told by GCS, “The work is paramount”.
Our project was Education & Orphanage; we were assigned to the Drifting Angels Orphanage. I didn’t really know what to expect from the orphanage-what our living accommodations would be like, etc. Things were very great for us. We were given wonderful living accommodations, and were able to be with the caring and loving people. It is truly outstanding how generous and hospitable they were to us. We taught a kindergarten class that ranged from age three to age eight. The teaching was a little difficult as there was a bit of language barrier and schooling is very different from that in America. But the children are simply amazing. They really do try to understand us, follow our directions, and do the work we assign them. That is one thing I have noticed about all of the children in the orphanage, they are so obedient. We were also able to go to the older children`s school and just observe, it was very interesting to see how different teaching is when you do not have many resources. We also helped the children with their chores and played games with them when they returned home from school. It is so humbling and rewarding to work alongside them. They are very hard workers and responsible. I just love them.
The other big part of this trip is Ghana itself. The culture here is very different from my own. It’s great though. People everywhere we go are so friendly. They always tell us we are welcome.”They always want to shake our hands or be our friends. They also move at a very slow pace, and things are very relaxed. They also eat a lot! The food was probably the only difficult thing for me about coming on this trip. Just such a different taste to everything, but I knew it was coming. And my tastes have changed. The weather was also a big difference, where I live there is currently 2 feet of snow, but the warmth is amazing and the body becomes adjusted.
GCS was very good to us from the very start. They were waiting for us at the airport and had a hotel ready for us. They gave us orientation for a day which was very helpful. They made sure we would have everything we need. They got things all set up with the orphanage before we arrived. They constantly kept in touch with us throughout our stay to make sure we were safe, healthy, and happy. They really made this trip so much easier and better.
My Ghana experience here has been a very good one. I am so thankful that I was able to come here and experience such new thing. I`m so glad GCS was the organization we decided to go with, they took very good care of us, and we always knew we were in good hands. I hope to be able to continue helping the orphanage in future, and possible return one day. I know it`s totally cliché but, I can honestly say Ghana has me forever changed.
…Please request for my contact and I will be glad to share more with you!