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Do ethical volunteering in Ghana, West Africa and read a few books while you're here

A Book for Every Mood

Date Posted: 20/09/2018

While there are plenty of ‘outside’ activities for you to do in the evenings and weekends, but many volunteers enjoy having time to read a few books while they stay with us here in Ghana.

While there are plenty of ‘outside’ activities for you to do in the evenings and weekends, but many volunteers enjoy having time to read a few books while they stay with us here in Ghana. We’ve got a bookcase crammed full of books, from international development textbooks and biographies of African countries and leaders to fictional novels for adults and children’s stories. There’s something for everyone and every mood. Here’s just a few that volunteers have read recently.

 

The Shackled Continent by Robert Guest

Africa is the only continent to have grown poorer over the past three decades. Why? Robert Guest's fascinating book seeks to diagnose the sickness that continues to hobble Africa's development. Using reportage, first-hand experience and economic insight, Robert Guest takes us to the roots of the problems. Two fifths of African nations are at war, AIDS has lowered life expectancy to as young as forty and investment is almost impossible as houses that could be used as collateral do not formally belong to their owners. Most shocking of all is the evidence that the billions of dollars of aid, given to Africa has had little perceptible effect on the poor. The Shackled Continent offers insightful, and occasionally controversial, explanations for this state of affairs. In this magnificent and engaging book, Robert Guest provides an invigorating history and an inspired commentary on the enigma of modern Africa

 

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The unforgettable, heart-breaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, caught in the tragic sweep of history, The Kite Runner transports readers to Afghanistan at a tense and crucial moment of change and destruction. A powerful story of friendship, it is also about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

 

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Wild Wood seems a terrifying place to Mole, until he finds it's full of friends - Kind, sleepy Badger; brave and lively Ratty; and the irresponsible Mr Toad, famous for his wealth and his car smashes. But there are also the sinister weasels and stoats, and they capture Toad Hall when Mr Toad is in jail. How will he escape? And can the friends fight together to save Toad Hall?

 

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Fifteen-year-old Kambili and her older brother Jaja lead a privileged life in Enugu, Nigeria. They live in a beautiful house, with a caring family, and attend an exclusive missionary school. They're completely shielded from the troubles of the world. Yet, as Kambili reveals in her tender-voiced account, things are less perfect than they appear. Although her Papa is generous and well respected, he is fanatically religious and tyrannical at home—a home that is silent and suffocating. As the country begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili and Jaja are sent to their aunt, a university professor outside the city, where they discover a life beyond the confines of their father’s authority. Books cram the shelves, curry and nutmeg permeate the air, and their cousins’ laughter rings throughout the house. When they return home, tensions within the family escalate, and Kambili must find the strength to keep her loved ones together. Purple Hibiscus is an exquisite novel about the emotional turmoil of adolescence, the powerful bonds of family, and the bright promise of freedom.

 

Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson conclusively show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it). Korea, to take just one of their fascinating examples, is a remarkably homogeneous nation, yet the people of North Korea are among the poorest on earth while their brothers and sisters in South Korea are among the richest. The south forged a society that created incentives, rewarded innovation, and allowed everyone to participate in economic opportunities.

Based on fifteen years of original research, Acemoglu and Robinson marshall extraordinary historical evidence from the Roman Empire, the Mayan city-states, medieval Venice, the Soviet Union, Latin America, England, Europe, the United States, and Africa to build a new theory of political economy with great relevance for the big questions of today.

 

Gazing at the Stars by Eva Slonim

In March 1939, seven-year-old Eva Weiss’s innocence was shattered by Germany’s invasion of her homeland, Slovakia. Over the next five years, as the Nazi persecution of Europe’s Jews gathered momentum, Eva’s parents were forced to send their children into hiding, but she and her sister Marta could not avoid capture.
In this remarkable memoir, Eva recounts her experiences at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. There, she witnessed countless horrors and was herself subjected to torture, extreme deprivation, and medical experimentation at the hands of the notorious Dr Josef Mengele. When the Soviet army liberated the survivors of Auschwitz early in 1945, Eva and Marta faced a new challenge: crossing war-torn Europe to be reunited with their family. 

Narrated with the heart-breaking innocence of a young girl and the wisdom of a woman of eighty-three, Gazing at the Stars is a record of survival in the face of unimaginable evil. It is the culmination of Eva Slonim’s lifelong commitment to educating the world about the Holocaust, and to keeping alive the memory of the many who perished.

 

George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl

George is alone in the house with Grandma. The most horrid, grizzly old grunion of a grandma ever. She needs something stronger than her usual medicine to cure her grouchiness. A special grandma medicine, a remedy for everything. And George knows just what to put into it. Grandma's in for the surprise of her life—and so is George, when he sees the results of his mixture!

 

Dinner with Mugabe by Heidi Holland

With plunging life expectancy, soaring inflation, and unemployment, repression, and starvation fuelling a mass exodus, Zimbabwe is a nation in crisis. Its president, Robert Mugabe-once lauded for his heroics as a guerrilla leader who fought against white-minority rule in the 1960s- is now seen as the man who ruined the country and cast shame on the African conti­nent. Beginning with a dinner shared with Mugabe the freedom fight­er and ending in a searching interview with Mugabe as Zimbabwe's president more than thirty years later, Heidi Holland's incisive and timely investigation charts Mugabe's gradual self- destruction and probes the mystery of Africa's loyalty to one of its worst dictators.

 

While you’re here take a look at our volunteer programmes to see how our charity can use your knowledge and skills to help us achieve our aims. We offer ethical volunteering placements in a variety of disciplines from child health and education to gender equality and school partnership projects, and tailor each placement to make the most of your specific talents.

 

Author: Sophie - PWA Volunteer Manager

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