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Volunteering with children in Ghana, West Africa
Volunteering with children in Ghana, West Africa
Volunteering with children in Ghana, West Africa
Volunteering with children in Ghana, West Africa

A day in the life of a PWA volunteer

Date Posted: 15/04/2014

Read on to hear about my days volunteering with Partner West Africa

With the volunteer guest house situated so close to the long sandy beach, I begin as many days as I can with a morning run. Sometimes Chillie - the Partner West Africa (PWA) Volunteer Coordinator - comes with me in his secondary role as ‘PWA Volunteer Fitness Coach', and sometimes other volunteers come with me or sometimes I go alone. Whoever does come, we leave our flip-flops at a beachside bar owned by Johnson, a good friend of Chillie, then we run bare foot on the firmer sand by the shore. It's a great way to start the day, dodging the local fisherman's ropes before cooling down with a swim.

 

On Wednesdays and Thursdays, I work with an under 13s football team based about a 10 minute walk away on a dustbowl of a park in Kokrobite. This isn't until 4pm though, as the children have school to attend, so I have a while to keep myself busy. One option I have is to help Momma Felicia and the other teachers in the PWA nursery that is based in the PWA compound. This is great fun, the children are very funny and they will give you a group hug every time you step outside. A few days after I arrived, I made the mistake of lifting one of the kids up so they could reach a tree branch. They now all see this as a compulsory daily activity, regardless of how warm it might be in the garden!

 

The main project I spend time on away from football coaching is helping put together individual profiles of the nursery children. These profiles are designed to make it easier for PWA to know the health conditions, needs and basic information of the children, while also helping give information for the child sponsorship packages PWA pursues from donors. I transfer information from paper to computer, write bios on the children based on their personalities and home lives, and speak to the nursery teachers to gather important information on each child. Although this might not seem like much fun to most volunteers, I work with a much smaller, less organised African charity based in the UK which also has a child sponsorship program. Having discussed different options on how to use my time away from coaching with Matt, the Partner West Africa Director, when I arrived, the opportunity to work on a well organised child sponsorship program was ideal for me to gain experience to take back to the smaller charity (which PWA encouraged me to do).

 

Once it is time for football coaching, I walk up to the park to arrive with time to spare before 4pm. Then, at roughly 4pm, I take the team for an hour session. The kids take it very seriously and are very respectful, but they are good fun and like to have a laugh as well. I make sure the sessions are based on fun drills that will also, hopefully, improve their ability. I'm also keen to show them different drills and games while the team's full-time coach looks on, so he can copy and adjust the drills in the future. Depending on how many players from the u15 and u17 teams come to training, I might take their session for an hour as well. They are even more serious, so I try to give them more tactical drills and games that they can transfer to matches. 

 

Once everything is done for the day, evenings are for relaxing. Occasionally Chillie, Peter the caretaker and I will walk in to Kokrobite and watch football at a bar, otherwise I will socialise with the other volunteers. On weeknights there is traditional Ghanaian food prepared by the lovely cook, Grace. At the weekends, there are several restaurants available as well as bars for a bit of socialising!

Author: Matt - PWA Volunteer

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