I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Ghana with Youth Challenge International. From the wonderful YCI staff, to the warm and friendly Ghanaian people we got to work with, in addition to a strong team of volunteers and the feeling that we were accomplishing meaningful goals, it was truly an amazing experience.
The staff was incredible throughout the project, from preparing us ahead of time, to in-country support, to post-project engagement. In-country, we were given enough guidance to feel supported, but had freedom to be flexible with our project. In the end, our group of 4 created our own goals and felt that we were doing what was most effective for our time there. For example, we proposed and organized a "Women and Leadership" conference for International Women's Day that celebrated powerful women leaders in the community and focused on certain women's issues that we felt needed to be discussed. So, while the staff was 100% there for us, we felt like we were in charge of the direction of our project.
What also made the experience so memorable, was getting to know the community members and working with dedicated and passionate local volunteers and leaders. We got to learn so much about a fascinating culture and experienced the Ghanaian warmth in every situation. For example, going to church on Sundays was boatloads of music and dancing (even for the non-religious!), and the celebrations of a funeral is something to be remembered.
In the end, although I ended up learning lots about international development, educational strategies, and community building initiatives, I learned the most about myself and was able to re-define important values and make some great friends along the way!