Chelsea Baker - General Building Projects in Ghana
I have always been interested in travel and over the years have collected various articles on places I would like to see one day and have listened to other peoples inspiring experiences. Last summer I decided I was going to stop dreaming and actually go somewhere and do something worthwhile, even if it meant going on my own.
A Google search later Projects Abroad was clearly the most genuine organisation I could find and I enrolled on a Building Project in Ghana for a month the following summer. This was without a doubt the best decision I have ever made and I am so glad I did not take any notice of any doubts I had!
The support I received from the Projects Abroad team was great and any queries I had were answered straight away. When I began my travel to Ghana it felt very surreal but any nerves were greatly outweighed by excitement.
My first impressions of Ghana
I had heard that Ghanaians are among the friendliest people in the world, and this is so true. From the woman I sat next to on the plane who proudly told me all about her country, to my host family and total strangers who I asked for directions.
I stayed with a host family and eight other volunteers in Mamfe which is in the Akuapuem Hills. As soon as I arrived everyone was very welcoming and we spent an evening watching television with the children before going to a restaurant to meet other volunteers and local people. I was not expecting to meet such amazing people, even though, as my roommate put it: “Of course everyone’s nice we’re all volunteers, what were you expecting?”
When volunteers from my house began to leave it genuinely felt like we were losing family members and since I’ve come home we’ve all kept in touch.
My building placement
My Building Project was at a growing rural school were we built a toilet block and more classrooms. The work is quite challenging but when you can see physical results at the end of each day it’s hugely rewarding. Whilst I was there I made bricks, mixed mortar, dug foundations, plastered walls, and played with the children.
The bucket shower and lunch waiting for me when I got home was greatly appreciated! I never got to see the project completed but when I saw the photos of it finished and with everyone’s names on the wall I felt so proud to have been a part of it.
Travelling in my free time
If you get the opportunity to travel at weekends you should defiantly do it. Ghana is such a beautiful place and has so much to offer; travelling in tros is an experience in itself! I travelled to Kokrobite’s Reggae Beach, saw the caves and waterfalls of the Volta Region and Mole National Park to see elephants! I hope to go back to explore Ghana further as I barely scratched the surface of all the places there are to visit.
My last day came around far too quickly. During my whole time in Ghana I honestly never once felt home sick, and the main topic of conversation with the people I met is how much we miss it! My biggest regret is that I was only there for a month, and by the time I had truly settled in and felt like part of the community it was time to come home.
This is a personal account of one volunteer’s experience on the project and is a snapshot in time. Your experience may be different, as our projects are constantly adapting to local needs and building on accomplishments. Seasonal weather changes can also have a big impact. Find out more about what you can expect from this project, or speak to one of our friendly Programme Advisors.