MADISON BRADSHAW (BREWSTER, WA, 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. We did a lot of searching on the internet before we decided to apply with GCS. We really liked the mission statement and values GCS had to offer as well as the cheap cost and efficient communication they presented. We applied to work in an orphanage in Ghana and right away GCS started sending news letters and e-mails to answer any questions we had. Right from the beginning I was very impressed with the way GCS handled their communication and their organization with the program.
We were greeted at the airport and from there taken care of every step of the way. Megan and I had orientation for a day and learned so much more about GCS, the African Culture, what to expect, and which orphanage we would be volunteering our time and energy at.
Once we arrived at the orphanage we were again taken care of very well through the wonderful hospitality of Mamah, Joshua, Thompson and the workers at Drifting Angels Orphanage in Tsito. Megan and I taught Kindergarten at the orphanage each day and loved being with the children as we helped them with their education. We taught English, Math, Science, Art, and Spelling to the children. I feel that through the month we were there, the children learned so much and improved in their education and learning. It was so rewarding seeing the light in their eyes as they learned and seeing their brains turning as they learned concepts like “adding zero”, “sounds of letters”, drawing pictures of themselves” and so on.
Megan and I fit right in while we were in Ghana. I wore some traditional Ghanaian clothing, Megan braided her hair, and we did things like carry water and fire wood on our heads, helped prepare meals, bathed the children, went to church, and helped the children with their homework. We truly immersed ourselves in the culture. We learned many different foods like fufu, banku, okro soup, palm nut oil, plantain, etc. We learned the system of the tro-tro, and seemed to be “welcome” by everyone we met! I will never forget the Ghanaian hospitality and kindness of everyone around me.
I was very impressed with the way GCS still stayed aware and concerned with Megan and I, even after we arrived in the orphanage. They called us many times asking how everything was and making sure we were comfortable and feeling good. Desmond came to the orphanage one time and watched Megan and I teach. Everytime we would come to Ho, we would see one of the members of GCS and personal to each of the volunteers. They were willing to help in any way they could which made me feel calm, comfortable about my surroundings and even more willing to work hard and contribute financially to their course.
While Megan and I were at the Drifting Angels Orphanage, we were able to pay for the water and light bills which were many months behind in paying. We were also able to pay for the small things like shoes for the girls, school fees for the children, a school uniform for one of the girls and library cards. We tried to help in any way we could and plan on continuing financially once we are back home.
I will never forget my experience in Ghana. It was truly unforgettable and I will always keep a prayer in my heart for the children at the orphanage. I love teaching the kindergartners and learning from them as well. I developed a love for the African culture and for the people. While Megan and I were here in Ghana we also learned different Ewe phrases and games that the children taught us. I would like to thank the GCS Team for allowing me this experience, and the wonderful hospitality and kindness you showed. I highly recommend you to my friends and family. I also thank the people at the orphanage that took such good care of Megan and I as we lived there. We hope to reciprocate the love you showed us. God Bless! …Please request for my contact and I will be glad to share more with you!