Teaching in Ghana by Jessica Crompton
Volunteering in Ghana, to say the least, was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Living, teaching and travelling in this incredible country really broadened my understanding of the world outside of Australia.
Planning the three months away from home was definitely a daunting thought. From the boarding gates in Sydney to the humid arrival terminal of Accra, I was a ball of nerves as I anticipated what was in store for me over the next three months.
First Impressions of Ghana
Before leaving Australia I was told that Ghanaians are among the most welcoming and friendly people in Africa, and to that I was not let down. Despite my nerves it took no time at all to feel completely comfortable in the country, as everyone made us feel so welcomed.
After one night in Accra we were taken up to our host family in the Akuapem Hills. I was in the dark as to what the houses and towns would be like in these mysterious “hills”. I knew that I would be living in more “basic” accommodation, preparing myself for a very, very different lifestyle for the following three months.
I was actually surprised by the living arrangements set up for the volunteers. I think in the back of my mind I was picturing mud huts and candle light, however it was quite modern and was set up really well. While we didn’t have running water and took part in our token bucket shower, it was all incredibly easy to adapt to. You’ll be surprised how quickly you adjust to new experiences. Being open minded about the new culture and embracing what it has to offer, will really make your time that much better.
Teaching in Ghana
My friend and I had chosen the teaching placement for the three months of our stay. For the majority of our placement we were at Wonderful Love Day Care. Established only two years before by Projects Abroad, the school provided education for children living in a remote area of the Akuapem Hills.
The school, being relatively new only had three classes - the nursery, KG1 and KG2. I chose to assist with the teaching of KG2 and worked alongside a local teacher, who was incredibly supportive and made both my friend and I feel so welcome. My role was to assist with the teaching of Maths, English and Creative Arts. I don’t think I was completely prepared for the challenge that the language barrier posed. But with a little imagination you’ll be surprised how much you can communicate without words.
While at times teaching was both challenging and frustrating, it was without a doubt an incredible experience. I formed such great bonds with the kids and saying goodbye was undeniably one of the hardest parts of the placement.
Weekend travels in Ghana
While teaching formed the main component of our time in Ghana, weekend travels were another outstanding aspect of my trip. Grouping off with other volunteers each weekend, we explored the country that we were living in. From hours spent on tro-tros, swimming in Wli waterfalls, wandering lost through West Africa’s largest markets, being guided through the slave trade’s past, to being chased by baboons in Ghana’s famous Mole national park, every trip was undoubtedly unique and somewhat hilarious.
Writing about my time in this exotic country really doesn’t give it justice. Despite inevitable ups and downs, my experience was nothing short of amazing. The people I met, places I saw and the rich Ghanaian culture made three months of my life beyond belief and I would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat.