I spent two weeks in Accra, Ghana during the month of April. It was the first time I was traveling to Africa and I was nervous because I had no idea what it was going to be like. Projects Abroad helped me a lot before my trip, sending me e-mails with tips of things I should take with me, and answering all my questions, even the silly ones.
I got there on a Saturday night, around eleven and my first surprise was the warm weather! I knew it was going to be hot, but not that hot. It felt amazing! One of my favorite things out of that trip was the amazing weather. A driver picked me up and took me to my house. He was very nice and talked the whole way about things I should see, places I should visit and former volunteers. I was so excited! When I got to my house, I met the other volunteers who were all girls around my age. Along the trip, we became friends and I had so much fun with them!
During my first week, I worked at a school. It was a school for the neighborhood children, who had no money to go to the public schools that all the other children go to. I asked the other volunteer who worked with me at the school if it was expensive and she said it was around 15 dollars per year. 15 dollars per year!
The teaching I had to do was very simple, basic math and basic english. I loved doing it, and the kids were so sweet, they made it all worth it! on my last day at the school they had a dancing competition and it was so much fun watching them dance. I also met this girl, Abigail, who I fell in love with. I still think about her everyday, and wish more than anything I could bring her to live with me. I gave the kids all my stuffed animals, and they were so happy! It felt nice to give them what was once was so special to me, and see that priceless look on their faces. I worked for around three hours everyday, usually starting at 9 and ending at noon. Tuesday and Thursday I had the option of staying for long and helping with various activities the school offered after classes.
The second week I worked at an orphanage. I could choose how many hours I worked each day, and I usually stayed around 5-6 hours each day.It was sad to see all those kids without parents, without families, and it was hard to imagine how they felt. Amazingly enough though, they were always smiling, always laughing. That good energy that they had changed me, made me realized how petty our society is, how we are always complaining when we have everything. That was my favorite thing about Ghana, a country without luxury, without extra comfort, but with a population that is always smiling, always happy, always ready to wave when you walk by and sing and dance. I think everyone could learn with them.
It was an amazing experience, and it was only possible because of Projects Abroad and how organized and caring they are. They made me feel relaxed and safe during my stay. I recommend them to anyone who is thinking of taking a gap year, or having an experience abroad!