Who am I?
My name is Emma, I am a 20 year-old Youth Work student and I come from Adelaide, South Australia. As part of my fierce passion for humanitarianism, I volunteered at Ryvanz-Mia Childcare (Orphanage) for 23 days in December 2017.
I always wanted to experience what life is like for those who aren’t as privileged as the average western white person living in a developed country. Thus, I traveled to the Volta Region, Kpando, Ghana in West Africa, to spend 3 weeks with an orphanage family.
As part of my volunteer program fee, the orphanage provided me with three tasty meals a day and accommodation at the orphanage itself. Something I really appreciate about staying at Ryvanz-Mia Childcare (Orphanage), is it gave me the feeling of experiencing an authentic Ghanaian lifestyle. I didn’t stay in one of Ghana’s fancy hotels with air-conditioning and room service; I didn’t stay with a wealthy Ghanaian host family. Instead, I slept in a basic room with a basic bed, a mosquito net, and a fan. It was sufficient, I was an equal, and it was honestly all I needed.
I had the opportunity to not only volunteer at the orphanage but to also get involved in the Kpando community. I did this by volunteering at the school – walking distance from the orphanage, and St. Patrick’s Hospital – a short taxi ride. At the school, I was able to participate in classroom learning and got to know the teachers. At the hospital, I provided moral support to patients, observed nurses and doctors assisting patients, and was able to socialize and learn about the many health problems Ghanaian people face.
During my travels, I also went out adventuring the many beauties of Ghana. I began by visiting the local markets, experiencing Kpando’s culture.
I was also privileged with attending a church wedding where I met many people from all over Ghana whom I then built friendships with and I still talk to. I also experienced Kpando’s version of “going to town” where the bride and her friends taught me how to dance like a black woman. That was an interesting experience.
The people in Ghana are incredibly friendly. Most want you to feel safe and they are eager to know who you are and where you’re from. 71.2% of Ghana’s population are members of various religious denominations and, in Volta Region, many of them are superstitious. Thus, as a volunteer I felt very safe because many locals believe that God will punish them if they steal from you. There is no doubt that volunteers will find Ghana to be a learning experience. Not only will you learn about the country and its way of living economically, socially, and politically, but you will also learn a lot about yourself. I certainly did.
Why volunteer at this orphanage?
As a volunteer, I highly recommend Ryvanz-Mia Childcare (Orphanage). It is a welcoming, safe environment that provides you with an authentic Ghana experience and an array of rewarding, yet challenging, but worthwhile emotions. It is a significantly cheaper way of volunteering in a developing world compared to many popular volunteer programs and it truly gives you a life learning experience that will change and challenge your way of thinking.
You will develop many connections and friendships with locals whilst enjoying the beautiful landscape of green mountains and many trees. It’s almost like staying in a community surrounded by a jungle. You will be loved and appreciated by the orphanage’s staff and children and you and the children will never forget each other. They will care for you and you will care for them and, most importantly, you will be safe.