Wednesday, 30 November 2016

A Dummies Guide to Volunteering in Urban Ghana

Team ABC Create Change gives you the ABC's of volunteer life.

First and foremost, get ready for THE adventure of a lifetime. Volunteering will change your outlook on life and teach you lessons you can’t learn back home.

Bucket shower
Farida needing a little assistance from her host mum after getting petroleum stuck in her hair!
Is the tap flowing? No? Then a bucket shower is the only way forward. After a hot hot day, splashing cool cool water all over your body is the best way to wind down and relax.

Trust us, you’ll learn to love it.

Cockroach (Sssssss)
Be prepared. They’re everywhere.

Dance off
With the beat of the Djembe Drum heard wherever you go, you’ll get to strut your stuff and show off your best dance moves. The Macarena vs The Tora (The Butt Dance as we call it) it is.

Tempt your taste buds with food that will set fire to your tonsils and open your eyes to a whole new set of culinary delights. What to have for lunch will be the hardest decision of your day

Check out our latest blog to whet your appetite with 17 Ghanaian Foods That Will Change Your Life.

Three months away from home will make you appreciate your host family. They will treat you as one of their own and encourage you to embrace a new way of life. The best way is a Ghanaian families’ way.

Working 9 till 5 will never be so much fun. Your work team will be much more than just mere colleagues; they’ll be a second family. You’ll celebrate together, cry together, yet will always look forward to turning up at work.

Gastroenteritis (gastro for short) is inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It causes symptoms such as vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. 

Sharing is caring, everyone gets it.

Handwashing/ laundry days
Washing machines are harder to find than marmite in Ghana; and just like marmite, washing by hand is a task that you’ll either learn to love or hate.

Your hands may suffer; but your clothes won’t.

Create Change interns work tirelessly to ensure we as volunteers are supported, from helping us teach in our High School Girls Clubs, to inviting us to eat, they're always there when you need them.

As previously sponsored girls, they act as role models for future generations, and Create Change hopes to be a 100% run by the girls they support one day.

Who runs the world? Girls!

Every ICS volunteer will have a Jill. Host Home Coordinator extraordinaire and always happy to help if you have a problem in your host home. Jill is the person to call.

Kola nuts
Kola nuts are ….. hard in texture and bitter in taste. This controversial nut is a key part of the Ghanaian experience. Given to guests as a sign of hospitality, we first experienced this delicacy whilst visiting the Chief of Tamale. It would be rude to refuse.

Latif & Dani (our team leaders)

Braimah Abdul Latif - Resident comedian, wannabe backup dancer and the granddaddy of the group. Latif is one of a kind.

Danielle Simkins – Queen B and the mother of plantains, Dani keeps the children in line and is one of the most caring people you’ll ever meet.

Smiling whilst you have malaria? That’s our Farida. It’s unlikely that you will be quite as chipper.

Deet up and the mosquitoes wont bite you. Doxy up and you won’t get malaria.

Malaria is a serious YET preventable disease. As well as deet, doxy and mosquito coils; mosquito nets have been proven to be one of the most effective measures you can take to keep the pesky critters at bay. Provided in your host home, they may make you sweat but trust us, it’s worth it.

Office life
Volunteering isn’t all about trekking through the savannah or building a school. Here at Create Change there is a lot of behind the scenes work to ensure everything is safe and runs smoothly.

Don’t let that put you off, some of our best memories have been made in the office.

From a Graduation to Christmas, exam results, birthdays and welcome back parties. They all happen during during office hours and are a whole lot of fun.

Quality First
Quality First is one of the many import stores in Tamale selling a plethora of goods from around the world. If you want a bounty, bounce to Quality First. A taste of home is only a taxi ride away.

Tune in to some of Tamale's finest radio stations and you'll be sure to hear Team ABC Create Change. We love to go on the radio to raise awareness about the work of Create Change and the importance of girl child education. Turn up the volume and enjoy! 

Photo credit: Jack Westcott
Tamale has your shopping list covered, whether you want a cow’s head, a paw paw (papaya­) or a yard of fabric to make a brand new outfit. The city has everything.

Fuzi the tailor is THE BOSS. Quite literally – we’ve got him on speed dial. Whether you need a traditional outfit or an Asos style dress your local tailor is your man/woman.

Uganda v Ghana
Tamale Stadium is world class. Host to the World Cup Qualifier match, Ghana Blackstars vs Ugandan Cranes, the teams may have drawn but it was an experience all the same. Especially for those who don’t follow football.

Volunteering with Create Change and ICS has been the absolute best experience. With just a few weeks to go, none of us want to leave and have already planned our 2017 reunion!

What you learn as a volunteer will stay with you, change your perspective on life, and encourage you to immerse yourself in another culture.

Keep an eye here to apply to become an ICS Volunteer when the next round of recruitment begins (if you are Ghanaian). If you're from the UK you can apply here year round. 

You won’t regret it.

Whether you enjoy swimming, poker, shopping, eating or general relaxation, Tamale is where you’ll be spending them and it has a whole lot to offer.

Who’d have thought it? Even in Ghana there aren’t many words that begin with X. Soz about that.

Yellow Yellow

Like a tuk tuk and cheaper than a taxi (the main form of transport in Tamale) they are not a suitable for travel and should be avoided at all costs.

Remember kids: safety first! They most definitely wouldn’t pass a Risk Assessment.

Available but hardly used. Cross the road at your own risk. 

Written by Farida Nurbhai, Beth Moore, Vikki Stafford and Danielle Simkins

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome! Love it, looks like you're all having an awesome time (maybe minus the malaria)!