A Partner West Africa Testimonial
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Volunteer in Ghana on the Malaria prevention programme

Rachel's First Week Volunteering

Programme Completed: Malaria Prevention Programme (MPP)

Date Posted: 12/10/2018

In the first week as a volunteer with Partner West Africa (PWA) in Ghana there is plenty of new experiences to absorb and take in. This can be settling into the volunteer’s house, travelling for the first time on the local transport and eating your first Ghanaian dish for dinner. I am going to give a brief insight into what my first week in Ghana looked like.

In the first week as a volunteer with Partner West Africa (PWA) in Ghana there is plenty of new experiences to absorb and take in. This can be settling into the volunteer’s house, travelling for the first time on the local transport and eating your first Ghanaian dish for dinner. I am going to give a brief insight into what my first week in Ghana looked like.

My friend Freya and I arrived late Sunday night into Accra and after 3 flights (plus a stop in Lome, Togo) there was not much to do except have a quick tour of the house before rolling under the mosquito net for a good nights sleep.

The next morning transport, money and a food was on the agenda as we began our induction to life as a volunteer in Ghana. This gave us a chance to take out some Ghanaian cedi and stock up on lunchtime food and snacks for the next few weeks at the supermarket. Two shared taxis and several trotros later we had money in our pockets, food for our lunch, a SIM for our phones and had successfully navigated the local transport (the reality was that we followed Sophie, PWA’s Volunteer Manager as she navigated the local transport and talked us through it all). The afternoon came with a tour of Kokrobite, our village home for the next 5 weeks, and a drink down by the beach at a popular beach bar, Big Milly’s, to round off our first day in Ghana.

On Tuesday we got to observe the work already being undertaken by PWA as we attended House of Grace, a school for deaf children. Lydia, a volunteer specialising in nutrition, was leading a lesson where the children were producing a recipe book to be sent to their partner school in the UK [House of Grace are partnered with a school in the UK as part of PWA’s International Schools Partnership Programme]. This was an incredibly insightful experience and gave us an opportunity to understand the basis of school over here and the positive impact PWA volunteers were having by setting up links with other schools. I can also say that I learnt of more foods from Ghana in one 45 minute lesson than I could ever have imagined!

Wednesday was an opportunity to learn of some of the cultural beliefs and practices of Ghana to allow us to understand and appreciate the country we were living in better. Thursday and Friday, involved more observing of workshops led by Lydia and Sophie. There was another trip to House of Grace but also to Sunbeam School in Kokrobite where PWA is working with a local Girl guide group to educate the girls at the school about menstrual health. This was another great opportunity to see a workshop in action and provide ideas of how we would construct our own malaria education workshops in the coming weeks.

The weekend was here before we knew it and a short journey to a local private beach, Bojo beach, to chill and drink coconuts was a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon after a busy first week. An evening at the famous Reggae night at Big Milly’s and Sunday afternoon in Accra at a cocktail festival and the week was done. I am still debating whether it was the longest week or the shortest week but many new foods were tried, music heard, people met and we were feeling settled into life in Ghana ready to get stuck into our volunteering on the malaria prevention programme over the next month.

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