The Glory of Ghana
The Glory Of Ghana takes place in beautiful Jasikan, capital and administrative centre of the Jasikan district Once part of the German colony of Togoland, then occupied by the British, the country finally gained independence in 1957. Jasikan itself is safe town, enveloped by a lush, mountainous surrounding area, and well-known for a lively and huge open market that attracts people from all over Ghana and Togo. There are a few internet cafes, numerous churches and restaurants, and a town that feels like a huge village. Never have smiles been easier to come by, nor more beautiful than in Ghana; locals are always willing to chat and teach you their distinctive greeting (a finger clicking handshake.
The beautiful area, combined with the history of the Ewe people of Ghana, make it a place many never want to leave. But despite the natural beauty, Jasikan and surrounding communities are facing a variety of challenges ranging from lack of clean water in rural areas to a workforce untrained in the use of modern tools such as the internet, something many there view as a necessity if Ghana is to progress. Nor are there currently enough teachers or facilities to offer free education to all children, many roads are not paved and the republic is still heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance. This is a lovely place to offer your much-needed hand, for, as Lonely Planet writers state: "If an award were given for the country with the friendliest people in West Africa, Ghana would be a strong contender... you'll swear the wind and waves off the Gulf of Guinea have infused the land and people alike with equatorial warmth."
Volunteers will work with a locally organized group but with projects in numerous surrounding villages. Projects are in one of two areas: the first is supporting rural communities through a variety of objectives and second are activities related to global education and intercultural learning. With larger groups, these projects include the building of school blocks for kindergartners, instruction, or improvement of washrooms and facilities that the children use (often times current conditions are extremely unsanitary.) Volunteers might also help with the construction of wells or water systems, which can save lives in the dry season, or build libraries or internet training centers. The second project area is helping teach English, raise awareness about & prevention of hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, reforestation education and prevention of child labor. Efforts in Ghana have a great deal of support in the local communities, and volunteers will be cherished and appreciated as they help the people of Ghana, on projects that are important to them, and learn to see and experience their culture in a way that few rarely ever do.
Projects vary depending on the number of volunteers, which projects were finished (or not) with the prior group, what priorities have changed, weather conditions, which supplies are available, and often the interest and fitness level of the volunteers. For these reasons, specific projects are often not fixed until the week prior to your arrival and can even change upon arrival.
Food and Lodging
Volunteers are settled together in large home stay facilities in the community in which we are working. Accommodations usually include running water, showers, flushing toilets, and some access to electricity (enough to recharge digital cameras, but the government has instituted rolling blackouts). Hot water cannot be relied upon but is occasionally available. Some of the needier communities in which we work only have access to scoop showers; if this is an urgent issue for you, please check with us ahead of your program. Traditional and delicious Ghanaian meals served to you will include specialties such as Jollof rice (rice, tomatoes, spices, with beef or vegetables) and a variety of other fish, fruit, and vegetables. Ghanaian food is perhaps surprisingly spicy and diverse. There's something delicious for everyone, and for the adventurous the local dishes like Banku and Fufu offer a very unique culinary experience. Bottled or boiled water is provided.
Leisure and Activities
We visit the largest waterfall in West Africa and learn about Ghana's unique Kente tradition of weaving, the "cloth of kings." You will experience African dancing and drumming lessons. You are likely to playing futbol with other volunteers and community members. We make a visit to the old colonial town of Amedzofe, where you can take in the view from the tallest mountain in Ghana. You'll have time to explore all this and enjoy the people of the Volta region as part of your free time and in organized activities. You can choose to watch butterflies, go fishing, and almost certainly participate in some dancing in the streets. You will also become part and parcel of a slower pace of village life.
Arranging Your Airfare
Globe Aware representatives will pick you up at a local hotel in Accra, the capital of Ghana, at 7:00 in the morning on the Saturday that your program begins. The ride from Accra to Jasikan will take approximately 5 hours. Given this, communicating your flight or hotel information to us will be vital. The program will end at approximately 10:00 in the morning the following Saturday, so please do not book flights until after 5:00 in the afternoon the day the program ends.
Safety and Security
Ghana is a safe and stable nation. Cast aside all the prejudices and stereotypes you might hold about Africa. Ghana has never fought a war. Incidents of crime are very low outside of Accra and Kumasi, the two major cities. At independence, Ghana had huge currency reserves and, in the eyes of many world economists, a very bright future. But Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first president and independence hero, along with his supporters, spent a lot of the money helping other African nations gain independence. Ghanaians aren't angry but rather proud of that legacy. That spirit is alive and well in Ghana and, especially if you're coming from a large or midsize American city, you're likely to feel as safe as or safer than home while you're having fun and helping people. But, as always, you should exercise caution. VERY IMPORTANT. A yellow fever vaccination and the accompanying yellow vaccination card signed by the office that provided the vaccine are required to enter almost all African nations.