Ghana volunteer’s diary – Lindsay

Ghana volunteer’s journal – “Fiema & Kintampo Trip”

Fiema and Kintampo trip

By Lindsay Ann Jopes (USA)

This last week I began my new goal, giving special attention to the struggling students. Basically, I’ve found my nitch. Since this type of teaching is related to my future career goal(speech pathology) I’m glad I’m having this opportunity. I’ve found that in this type of situation I’m much more patient and organized. The students are also much more focused and I can visually see the change in their attitude. In just one week they’ve all made significant improvements in their comprehension of the material. Every night I look forward to evaluating their performance and planning the next lesson. I really feel helping these four students graduate with their peers is why I came here. I feel this is where I’m making the most impact. Despite the fact that it’s only four students, the spark in their eye the second they grasp the concept is indescribable.

After such a productive and promising week Katie and I set off on our journey north to Fiema and Kintampo. We left Friday at eleven and arrived in Fiema around 3:30. In taxi this trip would’ve taken half the time but we were in a trotro on unpaved road, not the most comfortable transportation. Once in Fiema we walked through the forest to get to the Guest House. These accommodations were minimal but decent. There was a both a bucket shower and bucket toilet. When we finally got settled in it began raining pretty hard, but Katie and I were not deterred. We went frolicking through the forest in the rain for about an hour looking for monkeys.

On Saturday we woke up at seven, ate breakfast, and once again set out in search of monkeys. After walking for about a half hour, we found a group of children washing their clothes in a watering hole. They laughed when we told them we were looking for monkeys, apparently we’d walked a half hour in the wrong direction. They then walked us to where the monkeys were. One word to describe our sightings was, amazing! I love monkeys so to see them in their natural habitat so close was beautiful. They were jumping from tree to tree, being so playful. We took pictures of the two different types for about an hour and set off back to the guest house.

We then decided to head to the Kintampo waterfalls, about an hour north. This took about two hours, thanks to Ghana time. Once we were at the waterfalls the extra hour made no difference. It was absolutely breathtaking. It was like a enormous staircase with water cascading down. Katie and I went under the waterfall, clothes and all. During my photo-op I feel down a slope and slid down a natural waterslide, it was amazing.

Our trip back to Kumasi took about five hours but the trip was well worth it. We decided after entertaining travelling and beautiful sightseeing, that it’s both the journey and the destination that matter. This weekend we will head to Mole where Katie promises I’ll see elephants, monkeys, warthogs and many other memorable sights.

Ghana volunteer’s journal – “Cape Coast Getaway”

Cape Coast Getaway

By Lindsay Ann Jopes (USA)

Right before I left for my trip to Cape Coast I finished my individual evaluation of my students. Out of the 18 I discovered there are four who are really struggling. Teacher Gloria’s solution was for them to not graduate. I decided that was an unacceptable solution, and have decided, after talking to the other teachers and the head mistress, the following. For the next month I’m volunteering I will be working with these four students, helping them catch up and hopefully getting them to a point where they will be able to graduate with the rest of their peers. I’m really excited that I’ll be making a direct impact and really helping the kids who need the most help. Okay, so on Friday at 4am Katie and I headed off to Elmina, Cape Coast. We stayed in the Coconut Grove Bridge House which cost us $50 each for the entire weekend. It was really clean and had breakfast included. We had a view of the Elmina castle and the entire fisherman town. Our hotel had a sister hotel, The Coconut Grove Resort, which was absolutely gorgeous!! After touring the Elmina Castle, buying a few souvenirs and cruising around the town, we headed to the pool at the other hotel. It was right on the beach and was very luxurious for Ghana. This hotel, probably the nicest in Ghana, cost $63/night/single room, not to bad. We laid out for a few hours, read, and swam. Then we had dinner at the hotel restaurant on the beach and listened to live music.

Saturday we headed into Cape Coast to see the Cape Coast Castle. Both castles are right on the beach and are so rich with history. Our tour gave us and amplitude of information on the African Slave Trade and the impact the British had on the Ghanaian culture. It was really interesting and moving to be in a place so historically important. We then walked around Cape Coast for a little bit and then went back to the other hotel for some more R&R. We met many more Obroni’s and other interesting people volunteering all over Ghana. Some were working in orphanages, primary schools, secondary schools, building houses, etc. It’s fascinating to talk to people and discover all the things they’re helping with and their motivations behind it.

Sunday we took a TroTro to Takoradi. A TroTro is a van that they stuff with about 20 people. Keep in mind the heat, then add a million flies to the combo. It’s an experience to say the least. We were in the TroTro for about an hour and about 30 min into our trip a man brought a goat into the van. Katie and I were laughing hysterically; no one on the bus had any idea what was so funny. Once in Takoradi we had to wait two hours for a bus and then headed back home.
It was a really interesting and fun weekend. We were able to see a lot of beautiful places and learn a lot about Ghanaian history while also having time to relax. Today, Monday is a holiday (although nobody seems to know what they’re celebrating) so Katie and I are taking the time to plan out lesson plans for the remaining week.

On Wednesday we’re going to Bonwire (pronounced bon-we-ray) to see the Kente weaving and get other authentic souvenirs. Then, this weekend we’re going to the Monkey Sanctuary up north.