Lina's Report From the Street Children Project in Ghana
"Volunteering in Childcare in Accra"
The arrival in Accra
It was the middle of the night when I landed at the airport in Accra. A member of the RGV team in Ghana collected me from the airport and took me to the student house, where I shared a room with 7 other volunteers. The following two days were spent getting to know the area. The RGV team gave a group of us who had just arrived a tour of the city and showed us some of the main attractions. We also got an insight into the history and culture of Ghana along with some helpful tips.
After completing the welcome orientation, I moved from the student house to stay with a host family, Mama Mina. At first I was sad to leave the other volunteers I had met at the student house, but I shared a room with two other girls and Mama Mina had a huge garden where we could sit and relax together. The food Mama Mina would prepare for us was delicious too. The nice thing about staying with Mama Mina, was that other young people from Ghana also lived here. I enjoyed making friends with local people who were around the same age as me, learn about the Ghanian lifestyle and hang out together of an evening and weekend. We also had the opportunity to accompany Mama Mina twice to a party. It was really interesting, for example, to celebrate a birthday in Ghana.
The work in the street children project
I was working directly with Mama Mina at the street children project, my job was to look after the children, help prepare food, feed them and assist with their education and activities. During my time working on the project there were nice and sad moments, but overall I found the whole experience extremely rewarding and an amazing experience. The street children project involves working with a mixture of age groups, at the time I was working on the project, there were just over 20 children aged from two to eight years. The kids don’t have many toys, but it was nice to see how creative they are when it comes to playing and having fun. Every day there was a morning circle where people prayed, sang and danced. After breakfast, the older children had classroom based lessons. Often, the challenge was to keep the children engaged in the lessons and activities and making sure they’re all taking part in the tasks.
Excursions and weekend trips
My working hours were mornings from Monday to Thursday so I had plenty of time to explore the different regions in Ghana. During the week, I would spend my afternoon and evenings at the beach with other volunteers, visiting colorful markets, shopping in a mall or just enjoying the sun in the garden. Accra is a very big city, quite modern and always busy. It's pretty easy to travel by bus and if you’re unsure of where you’re going, locals are always happy to help. On our first weekend we went for a strenuous but beautiful hike through the green landscape of the Volta region to waterfalls. Another weekend we drove to a nice beach, visited a former slave castle and learned a lot about the interesting history of Ghana. I also visited a national park in the north of Ghana where I saw elephants, monkeys, antelopes and warthogs in the wild. We stayed in simple huts without running water in the middle of nowhere. Before I traveled to Ghana, I would have never imagined I could do without so much, but somehow it was quite interesting to see how little you need to get by!
Before my trip to Ghana started, I had a lot of doubts and was nervous. After just the first week I realised there was nothing to worry about as I had so much support from the RGV team and other volunteers. In Ghana, the biggest lesson I learned was to appreciate the smallest things and that I can get along with so little. There was also often water loss, but a bucket shower is a funny experience and not as bad as you imagine! I was there for four weeks and time flew by. It was long enough to gain a lot of experiences, but I was sad to leave. I will keep the people, the nature, the everyday life in Ghana and all the other things that I experienced there, in good memory.
Lina's report from the Street Children Project in Ghana, by Lina F. October 2018