Over summer, I spent 2 weeks volunteering in Ghana with PMGY on the orphanage programme. It was honestly the best thing I have ever done! It is absolutely amazing. Before I left for Ghana, I had contacted two other volunteers who were travelling to Ghana on the same day as me, and we ended up meeting at Heathrow Airport and seating next to each other on the plane. PMGY had created a Facebook group, which allowed all the volunteers to ask questions and find other people who would be out in Ghana at the same time. I found this very helpful. When we arrived at the airport, two members of the local team were there to meet us. They were both very welcoming and friendly. That evening we stayed in a hotel in Accra before travelling to Kumasi by coach the next day. The drive took around 5 hours but this gave you time to get to know all the volunteers and the local team.
The volunteer house is lovely. There is lots of space, each bedroom sleeps 6. This allows you to get to know the people you are sharing with well. There is a big living room and a nice kitchen and dining room. Having all the volunteers living together allows everyone to become friends very quickly.
The next day you have an orientation day where you get to experience the amazing culture Ghana has. It also allows you to see how kind and welcoming the Ghanaians are. The majority of the locals speak a little bit of English as well as the local language of Twi. Back at the house the guy will teach you a little bit of Twi and you will have an African drumming and dancing lesson.
The next day we started our volunteering. At first it was hard because you don’t know what they expect you to do, but as the week goes on you soon learn. The orphanage is very eye opening but also fun, the children are great and very energetic. The mothers are great as well. At first they seem rather unfriendly towards you but remember to introduce yourself, offer to help and tell them what you are planning on doing before just doing it and they will open up to you. I am sure most people would be the same; they have new people coming in regularly to help them do their job. These people have been working there for years so just make sure you respect them and appreciate that their job is hard work. You work alongside the staff to assist in teaching the children and the daily running of the orphanage. It was an amazing experience and the work was incredibly rewarding.
I also spent two afternoons working in the hospital. It was a very interesting experience. Obviously they are tremendously different from Western hospitals. I spent a few hours in immunisations, however this does get a little repetitive after a while. All the staff in this ward of the hospital are very busy so they don’t have much time to talk to you. I then spent a few hours in X-ray. The people who work in this ward are very friendly. As they have fewer patients they have more time to explain everything to you and show you how everything is done. I also spend a few hours in A&E and the ENT wards. Overall I enjoyed spending two afternoons in the hospital, I found it very informative and helpful.
At the weekend we went to Mole National Park, where you get to go on two safaris and hopefully see elephants. You also stop off at a beautiful waterfall to go for a swim and go to a monkey sanctuary. Although it was a long drive there it was definitely worth it as it was an incredible experience, and I would definitely recommend going.
In the evenings the guys would come back to the house to see you and find out how your day went, we usually ended up watching films or playing card games. Another man also stayed in the house all the time. He was very friendly and funny. He would; go to Internet cafes with you or go to get some money out with you, he was very helpful. There was never a point where I felt scared or worried about being alone in a new country. There was always lots of support from all the local team, who I miss lots!
Overall I would highly recommend travelling to Ghana with PMGY, they are a fantastic company! I really hope I can go back soon.