EVELYN STIENLET (HERVELEE, BELGIUM)
As soon as I decided to work as a volunteer in West Africa, I started browsing on the net. I found a few organizations in Ghana where I could volunteer in a social/educational project. Finally, it was a link to GCS website is what made me to choose for them and not for other organization; “why should you choose us?” was the link. After a few practical questions about the program, the fee and the period…I decided to go for it. Three weeks wasn’t long but I’m sure this is just an occasion to taste of Ghana and its culture.
GCS is an enthusiastic young team which assists every volunteer with their positive thinking (in case you are not convinced yet). Let me call them realistic idealists. They really care about their volunteers. A few visits during the whole period and several phone calls a week are just a few examples. They are indeed very supportive to ensuring a successful volunteering in Ghana.
It was a combination of social and educational work. Or more concrete, staying and working in an orphanage and organizing holiday classes for these children. The holiday classes were completely new for me and the children. It demanded a lot of creativity of me and adaption of children, learning during a holiday period. The teaching materials I used were some big plastic pictures about basic topics: the human body, hygiene, rooms of the house, clothes and colours. These pictures I used in combination with the black board and chalk. I also found some useful teaching topics in my Bradt Guide about Ghana: the ways to greet people during the day in Ewe, English and French (as they live close to Togo).
The class started at nine in the morning until noon. On market days, there was no class. The school which belongs to Godwin Amway Orphanage (where I worked) has classrooms which are nothing to write about. The classrooms are nothing but a few benches, blackboards and chalks. The holiday classes were mainly organized under a few palm trees which are very good due to hot weather conditions. But at the same time this open classroom means there are an endless amount of distractions and very difficult for the kids to stay concentrated. There are so many interesting things to observe. The average class counted 14 kids but the group was a very heterogeneous in age and level of English.
Apart from teaching, we learned some games and songs from each other. We also did some arts and crafts together (something completely new for them) and we made pancakes together in the evening. They showed me the market in the town (Kpetoe) and guided me when I needed something. In fact, we were the whole day together from teeth brushing in the morning until watching Ghanaian & Nigerian movies in the evening.
Future Plans and Hopes:
Becoming a caretaker of one of the children was my first idea. But how should I choose one out of them. They are all my favourites. Again, this is something I plan doing in the future as a caretaker of an orphan or a needy kid from Godwin Amway Orphanage. I will definitely spread the word and put my personal Ghana-experience on several websites, so every interested person can read it and contact me and GCS.
…Please request for my contact and I will be glad to share more with you!