Reflections Blog

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In 2005, after many years wondering about it, I decided at last that I wanted to volunteer abroad.  So I started looking into it.  Eventually I found a company where you could go for 1 month or 3 months.  I decided on 3 months as I thought that one month would not be long enough to contribute anything.

They had placements in various parts of the World and all looked tempting but eventually I chose Ghana and the start date was January 2006.  I set off with a mixture of excitement and terror!  I arrived in Accra and was met by a driver.  Besides myself and two others from the UK the other volunteers were all from America.

I had chosen to go to a small fishing village called Woe.  We were taken by local bus to the school where I was volunteering with 3-4 year olds.  The children were great and all happy to come to school - they usually arrived at school before the local bus got me there and ran to meet me and drag me into the classroom.  Depending on what they were learning, we were either in the classroom, or if they were being read to, outside under a large tree for shade, usually after lunch.  They were taught in a mixture of English and their local dialect.

The way of life was simple - no television, usually not enough signal for a mobile phone, no internet access so I couldn’t send or receive emails and it was total bliss!

Five of us decided to take the last two plus weeks off and hire a van and driver to take us round Ghana.  This was amazing - seeing so many different aspects of Ghana from region to region, punctures galore from going down potholes, different dishes, staying at a game reserve where one elephant would come every morning to drink from the fresh water swimming pool, the monkeys who stole all my washing off the line and strewed it all around the camp, hearing the local folklore handed down from generation to generation but never written down, the vibrant colours of their dresses and outfits and above all, their innate friendliness, kindness and interest in us.

A remarkable 3 months and if it hadn’t been for my two lovely dogs and obvious commitments back home, I would have been very happy to stay far longer!

                                                                                          Clare Reid