Volontärsbericht von Alexandra Werner

Volontärsbericht von Alexandra Werner

Truth be told, I still cannot believe how refreshing it was to escape the grey and cold Swiss winter, diving into a complete different reality – far away from stress and everyday worries – into the colourful world of Ghana and meeting the most friendly people I could have ever imagined. If you want to free your mind or gain new perspectives, overcome your (eurocentristic) views or if you just need a break from your everyday life, go and visit Ghana!

When you travel to Tamale by bus as I did, you will be impressed, how nature but also culture changes the more north you go. Accra and Tamale are two completely different places. To give you just one example: In Accra people will call you Obruni (means white person), while in Tamale they will use the Dagbani word Seleminga, which is such a cute word. I always felt flattered when people called me Seleminga.

On my first day at Kpawumo, I was encircled by joyful children, they wanted me to take thousands of pictures… After my arrival I had to visit the chief and answer his questions in Dagbani. But don’t worry, everything has been translated to me and I was told how to behave. The chief is the king of the village and everyone shows him great respect.

Let me tell you something about Ghanaian time: do not expect punctuality or efficiency, you will only be dissapointed! But let’s look at it in a positive way: you won’t ever see anyone stressed or in a rush. That gives you the perfect feeling of holidays even though you are actually working.

As I am a primary teacher, the teaching part was nothing new to me. But of course it was sometimes a challenge to teach all the subjects in English. Luckily I had my phone with me and although the internet is sometimes very slow in the village, it normally works so that you can look up some specific words. So make sure you get a Ghanaian SIM card before you start working (it only costs something like one Euro). The challenging part was that I had to find out by myself (or with little help from the kids) what to teach or where to continue. And to be honest, I had the impression, that they already finished the whole book in some subjects, so sometimes I just decided to do something else… I have been lucky, in Accra I met a woman from Kenya who sold teaching books written by a female Kenyan author. Since I was impressed by that book I bought a few copies. So I used that book in Kpawumo. I also went to a local book store and bought some children’s books. It’s always great to support local writers. As well for the kids it is very good to read stories about Ghanaian life with caracters they can easily identify with. So if you want to do something good for the school, don’t bring books from your home country (they are too heavy anyway). Go and by local books instead.

After some time I started singing with the whole school in the morning. The children really liked that! So if you know any song or a litte dance or anything else you can do with them, they will be so happy 😉 If you want to be well prepared, don’t hesitate to bring material such as games, paper, pencils or colours, because that is what’s sometimes lacking. Also they are always happy to get new clothes. So whatever you may bring along, they will be grateful for it!
If you are flexible in planning your stay, consider that the first week after holidays is maybe not the best option to start with. Because there is normally not much school going on. Although I must admit it is somehow nice to get to know the teachers and the kids in such a casual atmospere. But to be honest, I was always expecting something more to happen. That’s the reason why I felt a little bit disapointed by the end of the first week. In the second week though I started teaching. It was a very small class and the kids were really nice. Basically you are free to try out whatever you like. Most of the time I was alone with the children, but I’m sure if you’d ask the teacher to come and help or support you, he or she would do so. You can also ask the teachers if you could visit their classes to see their teaching styles. Compared to what we are used to from our Western School System, the teachers may seem very slow-paced. Don’t hesitate to be a good example and go ahead teaching after break even though they just started eating… Notice that they are open for all kinds of new methods or projects, so the most important thing is: Don’t be shy, ask questions and be self-initiated. If you do so, your horizon will be expanding and you will have such a great experience and a lot of stories to tell back home.

Volontärsbericht von Paul Jonas Radeck

Volontärsbericht von Paul Jonas Radeck

Dieser Bericht ist nur auf englisch verfügbar

Volunteer essay by Paul Jonas Radeck

I finally finished school in spring 2018. As a lot of students I hadn’t any plans or ideas for
what I could do after finishing my last semester of my A-Level. I was totally clueless until
Markus, a Friend of mine, asked me to volunteer in a foreign country. He suggested Ghana
an absolutely different place and culture I was kind of scared of. He told me about the
Kpawumo Primary School where I can teach children some subjects.

First I had some issues deciding if I should travel or not. I have never traveled alone.
Especially that far away. That was absolutely unbelievable for me in the first place. I only
saw some pictures of the country and never knew how it actually is there. The
atmosphere, the people and the different values and standards. Personally it was the right
time in my life to do this kind of trip. Of course I was scared and I did not know what to
aspect. Nevertheless I thought a lot about it and finally agreed to fly to Ghana and be a
teacher for round about a month.

After having a long and exhausting flight I got to see my host family for the first time ever.
For the next five and a half weeks I lived with the family of Mr. Shamsudeen and his wife. A
very friendly and kind family I really enjoyed to live with. Very lovable children that
accepted me as I am. It felt like a real home. It was very comfortable and I felt really
good. All in all a very nice family with a very good atmosphere.

To get to my actual challenge and job for the weeks, school started for me as a teacher. I
teached a lot of subjects I did not have any problems with. It was absolutely makeable
even though I had to speak fluent englsih all the time. It was a little bit hard to get into
the language but after some days i totally got used to it and it was easier to have
conversations with people and to explain things to students. The children I teached in the
classes I had were very friendly and nice. Most admirable that they were so open. They
talked a lot and we had funny and enjoyable conversations. Even though I was a little bit
overwhelmed because they jumped around me, asked for my name , touched me and took
my hand the whole time I got used to it and had´nt any problems after a short time. I can
not believe that I will miss this some day after my whole jouney. That´s crazy. Another
positive point that speaks for the Kpawumo Primary School is the atmosphere in general is
very good and comfortable. All the teachers were so nice, kind, friendly and good
educated. I really enjoyed to work with them. Plus we had a lot of fun and made jokes
together. That really brightened up my day. The most important thing is that I really liked
to go to school everyday. I think that is a fact that speaks for a wonderful time in Ghana
and that it was worth it.

If I take a look at the people, I admire how they are so happy without having so many
materialistics in their world. They do not have so much money or a are rich in any point.
They where so happy with their life they are living in. In my view that is the key of pure
happiness. Be happy however everything lookes like. If you are happy and satisfied with
your life, you will spread positivty. Nothing in the world can take that from you. In my case
I felt those vibes and learned so much. It is all about having a strong family tie and to
enjoy the little things that matter only to you.

When I look back at my time as volunteer in Ghana I can definetly say that I have learned
so many life lessons that have a big impact on my life. Until today. Lastly I can say this trip
was absolutley worth it. If you do not know what you want to do after school, go and
travel to get some experience in different cultures. Learn and make experience for life.
This organisation is a great opportunity to do something different.

All I can say is, do not be shy to do something special in life. Make memories like I did.                                                                              Nobody got to know..maybe I will see Ghana again.

Volunteer report from Anna-Lena

Volunteer report from Anna-Lena

It all started last year at a German Christmas market, where Anna talked about a friend who went to Kpawumo children’s home and really enjoyed the experience. We decided to take a trip to Africa and see for ourselves. (mehr …)