We arrived after 34hrs of travel, exhausted but eager to see where we were staying. We met with our coordinators at the airport after walking past them and had a little panic attack. They took us to the accommodation house in Accra where we stayed for one night before orientation where we got to meet other volunteers that were going to different areas of Ghana for their placement. Majority of the people were from USA with a few from UK, AUS and NZ.
We left the next day on our 'Green' program for Achiase which is a small village about 2hrs (depending on traffic) to get to from Accra. As we pulled into the Orphanage complex the children were waiting for us cheering and wanting to get into the bus while we were trying to get out. They were very excited and eager to help us with our bags and beds that were strapped to the van (Tro-Tro). We got to meet the other volunteers who had been at the program for a few months. We then met with our cook who feeds us breakfast lunch and dinner everyday and keeps us healthy! We felt very overwhelmed on our first night there and were wondering what we had got ourselves in for.
After being here now for over a week, we have come to know all the children’s names and have become friends with the other volunteers and we are really enjoying the experience. It is completely different from any other place we have been before. There is no structure here and it's all very random and laid back. The people are very friendly and have looked after us.
Swedru is our closest town with internet and it's a 70pesewas (40cent) taxi ride into town where the taxi driver will pull up along the way to fill the rest of the taxi with more passengers so it is a full car. Very different to home where you pay if there is only one person in the taxi, it is a set fair per person here.
We have become very attached to the children and they have really started to warm to us. Jamie and I have picked our favorites which we said we wouldn’t but it happens! Agnes and Patrick have been the two we spend most of our time with, as they want to be around us all the time. Most of the children have a brother or sister or cousin or aunt that is in the Orphanage with them, so they aren’t alone which is nice. We tutor the children every evening on school nights to help them further with their studies. They really enjoy it as we give them stickers for a job well done so they usually finish their work.
We went with the other volunteers to a disabled school/home in a village about half an hour away to play with the children and spent the night there. The children were extremely excited to see us, as they thought we weren’t coming as we arrived late. It was an amazing experience to see how happy and healthy the children were and how they have helped take care of each other. The coordinator Joe (Ghanaian) and his wife (American) have really set up a comfortable place for the children to feel proud to live and learn at. They don’t have very many volunteers, so they struggle to find enough finances as they have to pay for staff to help care for the children.
We went to the beach at Winneba for a day trip which was really nice and clean compared to the rest of the area surrounding it. The locals come to chat to you as they don’t get to see many westerners. When you walk around, many of the local children and adults yell out their word for tourist “Obruni” and want to wave to you. The children always want to touch our skin and hair because it is so foreign to them and some just stare in amazement.
We have been to Accra a few times and we really enjoy coming back to our small village it’s not hectic and crowded like the city is.
We are looking forward to this weekend as we are travelling to Buswa, a small beach town about four hours away.
We are both enjoying our time here, wish we could stay longer than just this month.