A Travellerspoint blog



I retired in July 2005 and within a few weeks realised that something was missing from my life. Having worked since leaving school at 15 except for a short period of unemployment I soon found out I was missing the daily challenges of life and work colleges, so what could I do about it? Over a period of time I had heard about voluntary work so I thought it was worth looking into. But where do I start? The internet, after a few rejections because of my age (some organisations say you are too old at 55) I found a non government organisations (N G O) that took volunteers of all ages in a variety of occupations and trades and after contacting them and paying for my food, accommodation, innoculations and flight I was on my way to Ghana West Africa.
After leaving Manchester airport and a flight change in Italy I arrived in Accra 10 hours later on the 7th January 2006 at 10.30pm to start 3 months of voluntary work. I was met at the airport and taken to a hotel by Yaw a local Ghanaian who worked for the N G O and was told I would be collected at 8 o’clock to start the journey east. After a sleepless night because of the heat I was wondering what I had let myself in for, after a cool shower it was time for breakfast where I met 2 other volunteers Natalie and Sue who had arrived earlier than me, we were soon chatting and were all feeling the same. At 8 o’clock we were ready and waiting for Yaw, At 9 with no sign of our transport and a little concerned Natalie asked the hotel manager for help to which he replied Yaw will be here you must work on Ghanaian time. We soon found out what Ghanaian time is, it’s sometime between the time given and the time it happens. When Yaw arrived at 9.30 his mini bus was loaded with our belongings and off we went to collect more volunteers at another hotel. All together there were 16 of us on our way to a village called Way, (pronounced Woe) the journey took over two hours on the worst roads I have ever travelled on and in a bus that the scrap yard would have rejected, but we got there safe and sound just in time for lunch. After lunch we were shown our accommodation. At 2 o’clock our first meeting where we introduced to the N G O staff and told about our placements, and given other useful information about the area and how we can get about, we were then shown the various tracks to the beach and main road. After that it was dinner at 6 and getting to know each other, by 9 o’clock everyone was in bed.
Monday 9th January breakfast between 6 and 8, at 9 o’clock further orientation and a lesson on the local language of words we would need to know until lunch. After lunch there was more information about our placements and how to get there travailing on the local Tro Tro an experience never to be forgotten.
Tuesday the first day, my placement was at Emmanuel school where I was shown round the school a half built contraction with a roof of coconut tree and old bits of plastic sheeting that had seen better days. I started as a teacher’s aid and after 2 weeks was teaching English and maths on my own due to the shortage of teachers.

The class I was teaching had an age range from 6 to 14 year olds with very little or no knowledge of written English and I found this hard going when trying to explain what various words meant. On the days that it rained the school had to close, so I decided that when I returned home I would raise the money to improve the school.
Within 3 months I had enough for a new roof and walls so in September I returned and with the help of the teachers the improvements were done and another two classroom were added. Although not the best school it is now open all the time.

I have now found a new lease in life and with the work I have done in Ghana I have found it so rewarding that my next project is to raise £20000 to build a medical centre in the village of Bomigo.

This village has one school with six classrooms and only three teachers to teach over 200 pupils. There are over 400 children of school age living in the village.

About Bomigo village, it is situated on an island in a landlocked lagoon; there is no electric or fresh water supply. The population of about 2000 have no medical facilities and have to travel to the main land to see a doctor which consists of a 20 minute walk down a dirt track 10 minute canoe crossing then a 25 minute drive (if they can get a car) to the main road

Retirement is not the end but another start to a new and fulfilling
Through hands-on service, volunteers are given the opportunity to choose from various placements where their skills can be effective.

Some of the placement options are:

Working in hospitals, clinics and health centres
Working with individuals with HIV/AIDS
Teaching in schools and training centres
Working with women groups and small businesses
Working with the physically challenged
Social workers

We are looking for people from all walks of life from18 years to with the will to work in their placement for 4 hours a day 5 days a week.
For more information e. mail theyoungshallgrow@msn.com or visit www.beehive.thisisgrimsby.co.uk and follow the link charities then the young shall grow

Posted by barrie_sax 10:37 Comments (0)

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