A Partner West Africa Testimonial
Testimonial 94 of 102
PWA Volunteer Emma working on child education projects in Ghana, West Africa

Emma - UK

Programme Completed: New - The PWA Daycare & Nursery Centre

Date Posted: 29/05/2014

Coming to volunteer with Partner West Africa (PWA) was the first time I would have visited Africa but also the first time I would have been away from home for a long period of time. Making the decision to volunteer with PWA has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. The highlight, up to now at least, has been meeting the children. To think that these children are from such underprivileged circumstances, they really are the happiest and most loving children I have ever known. They are very, very special.

"Coming to volunteer with Partner West Africa (PWA) was the first time I would have visited Africa but also the first time I would have been away from home for a long period of time. Of course I had my doubts before I came thinking 'what will the PWA team be like?', 'is Ghana safe for me to travel within?' and most of all 'will I enjoy it?'.

One of the first experiences I had as a volunteer in Africa was travelling by tro-tro. These are Ghanaian mini-buses that can carry over 20 people. In the midday sun and traffic they can get very hot! And some of the tro-tros look like they are on their last legs but a lot of journeys can be highly amusing! I would recommend travelling by tro-tro (they are very cheap!).

One thing that took me a lot of getting used to was the food. Although I knew the food would be different to what I am used to back home, I didn't know quite how different. It seems everything here has spice added to, and quite a lot of spice at that! Although after the first week I had gotten used to it. Locals also eat most dishes using their hands... I have tried this but, because the local dishes are often soups and stews, I have found that it is wiser for me to stick to a spoon! When you can manage to eat with your hands... you will love it!

Visiting the markets is great. The locals are very busy and, as a foreigner, you get quite a lot of attention. Be prepared to be called 'Obruni' (white person) but remember this is as people are happy and interested to see you. Whenever I buy anything from the markets I always ask the PWA Volunteer Coordinator Chillie for guidance... Chillie is always there to make sure we get a good deal. Likewise, it's very helpful to have Chillie around when we are travelling around Ghana as he knows the country very well and takes us to all the best places (thanks Chillie!).

I would advise female volunteers to prepare for the 'not so shy' approach taken by many Ghanaian men to flirtation. It does not take much for a Ghanaian to think their luck might be in! Although they are quite forward, once you have said you are not interested, they will leave you alone.

During your volunteer placement you will get the chance to visit a number of different regions and areas. I have just visited Kumasi which is the capital city of the Ashanti Region of Ghana. It was very interesting to learn about the Ashanti Kingdom, the richest Kingdom in Ghana. We also visited 'Bonwire' where the famous Ghanaian Kente cloth originates from. In the markets there, you can buy local textiles and materials that a local seamstress will turn in to 'made to measure' clothes for you. Being a fan of the colourful patterns, if Chillie wouldn't have dragged me away, I would have bought the entire market!

For my volunteer placement I working a lot of the time in the PWA Daycare and Nursery Centre with young, local children. PWA in partnership with Mama Felicia manage the nursery. I have loved every second of it! The children are an absolute pleasure to be around. They arrive at the PWA compound early each morning and I will join them for their 8am assembly. The kids all come over and give me a lovely greeting with the biggest smiles each day. They hug at my legs and they all want to be picked up for a cuddle. No matter how many times of day you greet them, you will always get this warm reception.

Since working in the nursery I have been teaching different things including the chance to share some of the things that I was taught as a child (like different nursery rhymes, songs, games, and arts and crafts). I have also got the children making their own name tags... as there are over 80 children who attend the nursery it's hard to remember all their names! Mama Felicia has taught me a lot about the children, their backgrounds and how to communicate with them in Ga, as this is the local tribal language. A few days into working with the nursery I was asked to take a class. I felt very nervous as I hadn't taught before. It turns out that I had no reason to be as the children were so keen to learn and excited at the concept of learning something new. It is nice to see how happy the children are when they learn and develop new skills. I now take different classes within the nursery on a daily basis to help out the other nursery teachers. During the time I have been teaching the children, I have seen improvements in their work and English language. It is so very rewarding to see. Also being able to speak basic Ga is helpful as I can understand and control the classes a lot better!

I am now half way through my volunteer placement with PWA and have had some brilliant experiences so far. There have been things I have loved about Ghana, and some things that I haven't. One of the things I like is how friendly the people are. They cannot do enough for you. They invite you into their home and treat you like one of the family. They are just genuinely nice people without expecting anything in return. One of the things that I don't like is littering. Without established waste collection or treatment facilities, there is often a lot of litter in the streets. Ghana could be so much cleaner if waste was better managed.

Making the decision to volunteer with PWA has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. The highlight, up to now at least, has been meeting the children. To think that these children are from such underprivileged circumstances, they really are the happiest and most loving children I have ever known. They are very, very special.  

I have 5 weeks left here volunteering with Partner West Africa and I am looking forward to the many new and exciting experiences I know are coming!"

 

 

How can you help?
  • If you would like to also volunteer at the PWA Daycare and Nursery Centre, please click here.
  • If you would like to volunteer or partner with PWA on any of our other projects or programmes, please click here.
  • If you would like to make a donation, of any amount, on a one-off or monthly basis, to the PWA Daycare and Nursery Centre, please click here.
  • If you would like to make a general donation, either on a one-off or monthly basis to our charity, please click on one of the three 'Donation Payment Methods' boxes below. 
  • If you would like to support our charity in any other way - for example by donating goods like children's clothes or materials like mosquito nets, or helping us promote our charity through social media or identifying like-minded potential partners - please download the 'How you can support  us' Brief which is located in the introduction text of our Donate Page here.
  • Or, finally, if you would like to talk to our team about any other issue regarding our charity, our projects, or our volunteering & partnership opportunities, please click here.

Thank you

Donation Payment Methods

CharityCheckout

Charity Checkout accepts all major debit and credit cards and allows you to make one-off or monthly donations that will be used to support our charity in general, so if you would like to donate to a specific appeal, or become a sponsor of our Daycare & Nursery Centre, please follow the donation information provided within those specific appeals. All donations to PWA are regulated by the UK Charities Commission and in line with our Terms & Conditions. Thank you.

JustGiving

JustGiving is a great fundraising site for friends of our charity who would like to set up their own fundraising pages, alllowing your friends and family to donate towards your specific project, aims or objectives with PWA. If you set up a JustGiving fundraising page, you describe your story and reasons for supporting PWA & your donors can link through to PWA's JustGiving page to learn about our charity & its work. All donations are regulated by the UK Charities Commission and made in line with our Terms & Conditions. Thank you.

Direct Bank-to-Bank Transfers

PWA banks with the Co-operative Bank, UK, the leading bank for charitable organisations. If you are a UK or international bank account holder, donations can be made quickly & simply online. You can also use this method to make one-off donations or to set up monthly donations to our charity. Please contact us to request our bank account details to set up a bank transfer. All donations made to PWA are regulated by the UK Charities Commission & made in-line with our Terms & Conditions. Thank you.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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