A Partner West Africa Testimonial
Testimonial 31 of 102
International volunteering in IT training
International volunteering in IT training
School partnerships in Ghana: use your skills to work with children and young people
Volunteer with vulnerable children in Ghana, West Africa
Engage children in cultural exchange projects in Ghana, West Africa
Volunteer in development work in Ghana, West Africa

Victor - Germany

Programme Completed: Multidisciplinary Volunteering Programmes

Date Posted: 06/05/2017

Hello, my name is Victor Garcia and I am 28 years old. I am a Telecommunication Engineer, currently working in Germany...As an engineer my main task here was to install and configure the laptops that Partner West Africa had received from donations in the UK...if you are looking for a volunteer project and have no idea where to go, come to Partner West Africa in Ghana?...you will not regret it.

Hello, my name is Victor Garcia and I am 28 years old. I am a Telecommunication Engineer, currently working in Germany. After some years of dark and cold winters there, I decided I needed to recharge energy with some sun and warm weather, and I thought the best way of doing it was going south to Africa. At the same time, the idea of spending a couple of months volunteering seemed quite appealing to me, as it was an experience I hadn’t had before, and I expected to learn much more about the people and culture of a country by living and working on it than just passing as a mere tourist.

I have to admit that Ghana and Partner West Africa (PWA) were quite random decisions. After contacting different NGOs, the great perspectives that Sophie [PWA Volunteer Manager] presented me and the idea of going to a country complete unknown to me (I had to check a couple of times on Google Maps to know where was it exactly) were attractive. After three months here I just can’t thank Sophie enough for her patience and kindness during all the pre-trip process and for answering all my questions. I will never regret having come here.

It was not only my first time in Ghana but also my first time in Africa. I had no idea what to expect. The only thing I had quite clear was that there would be hordes of mosquitoes waiting for me. What I found when I arrived, apart from the warm (and not only metaphorically) welcome of the PWA staff members, was a lot of music, colour, noise, smiles, smells and, in general, sensations that I hadn’t seen anywhere else before. And all of them were fantastic.

As an engineer my main task here was to install and configure the laptops that PWA had received from donations in the UK. Apart from that, I helped in the creation of a digital data base to store the data of the nursery students. That was the part of my work here which involved more technical and “sitting in from of a computer the whole day” capabilities. Another part of my IT activities here, and much more interesting, was to train the PWA local staff to use the laptops, so they can increase their working capabilities. I had never been before in the position of preparing some training as a teacher, and it was obviously a challenge for me. Detailing all the steps involved in, for example, printing a document, can be a bit tedious, and I was afraid that so much information could overwhelm my future students. Luckily, they proved to be really smart and quick learners and today they can create and print documents, surf the internet to look for nursery materials or create a shopping list with Microsoft Excel. Or at least they should be able to do all of that...

I managed to finish my IT activities reasonably quickly, so I could collaborate with other programmes and projects. On one side I helped with the Schools Partnership Programmes, going to Child Craft Academy in Oshieye [the village close to PWA] and to St Peter’s High School in Opeikuma [a village in the central region of Ghana] and working with the students. The experience was awesome, the children and school staff were really welcoming and eager to work and help during the whole process. It was extraordinarily easy and incredibly satisfying to work with them. Of course this is something I could have never done in my daily work in Germany.

The other project I collaborated with was the Malaria Prevention Programme. I was lucky that during my stay here another volunteer came to carry out activities with this programme and I could help the PWA staff with the malaria screening sessions that they carried out in Tuba, a community nearby. Especially entertaining were the two days that we spent doing a screening in a school in that community. I think the children enjoyed having us around. If someone had told me a couple of months ago that I would help out as a nurse assistant I wouldn’t have believed it.

Apart from the work with the NGO, spending three months in Ghana, living and moving around, has been a very interesting and enriching experience. Even though they may not be the most comfortable means of transport (the space for the legs between seats could be the wet dream of a Ryanair planes designer), I will miss moving around in a tro tro [shared public transport, similar to a small bus]. I will of course miss the kindness of the people and how eager they are to help whenever you need it. Even though Accra would not be the city of my dreams, to walk around the markets among the noise, the smell and the offers from the sellers is a fabulous experience. Apart from that, Accra has some small pearls which are a bit hidden and difficult to reach but, with a bit of effort and research, you could be really surprised by them.

As said, I will miss the people from PWA, I will miss Kokrobite, I will miss Accra and I will miss Ghana. I just hope I don’t have to miss them too long and can come back someday soon!

So if you are looking for a volunteer project and have no idea where to go, come to PWA in Ghana. If you are looking for volunteering projects in Africa, come to PWA in Ghana. If you want to volunteer with health care or children education related projects, come to PWA in Ghana. And if you are not in any of those categories, come to PWA in Ghana as well. You will not regret it.

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