Posts Tagged With: IVHQ

Pink is the Color of Love

I got my Ghana orphanage placement! I will be part of IVHQ’s Pink Program (the colors just designate the different programs and don’t have much significance beyond that).

My orphanage is The Potter’s Village in Dodowa in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana–about 45 minutes from the center of the capital city, Accra.

Dodowa Map

This shows where Dodowa is located within the country.

Dodowa Map

This shows the distance from Dodowa to Accra, the capital

From my placement packet: “Potter’s Village was founded by Mrs. Jane Irene Adu in 2000 with the sole aim of fighting for the rights of women and also displaced children (orphans and needy children). Potter’s Village has been the mouthpiece of many women and children for the past several years through advocacy and education programs, counseling services, health services, vocational training for young displaced girls, adult education, literacy programs, and many more. The benefit of this organization has been of tremendous help to vulnerable women and children across the country.

“Daily activities at the orphanage include getting kids organized in the morning for school, general maintenance of the home, helping cook, cleaning of bowls, helping with assignments. Volunteers normally design their own schedule as to when they will be at the orphanage and get things done with the help of older volunteers.”

I should clarify that there’s the slightest chance my placement will change once I arrive in Ghana and meet the coordinators there. But as of now, this is the plan.

I will be living about a 5-minute walk from the orphanage in what is called a volunteer house. The volunteers live together in this house, and meals are prepared by local staff. The information I received about living conditions: “The house has three rooms, a kitchen, and eating area. Rooms are shared among volunteers with bunk beds in every room… There is an inside toilet and a shower but every volunteer must get his or her own water which is located outside for use in the shower and toilet… Electricity is available but there are frequent power cuts throughout Ghana.”

One week from today, I will be on my way!

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Beginnings of an African Adventure

In just over 5 weeks, I will be on a plane on my way to Ghana, Africa! A lot of people have asked how I got involved in this and why I am going, so I will tell my story here 🙂

A few months ago, I met a friend who had just returned from a 3-month humanitarian trip in Peru. Near the end of the summer, she started talking about going on another one this coming January, and I volunteered (excitedly) to join her. And so began the research. We narrowed it down to Africa or the Pacific Islands (Asian languages are intimidating), then discovered that most of the volunteer projects in the Pacific are wildlife and animal conservation projects. Working with children seemed more rewarding.

We made our decision: orphanage work in Ghana through an organization called IVHQ (see volunteerhq.org if you’re interested) for three months (12 weeks).

And then came the bomb. My friend had returned to BYU-Idaho and discovered that she had the option of switching from the inconvenient summer/fall school track to the fall/winter track. That meant she would be in school in January rather than in Ghana with me (Interesting side note: she just received an LDS mission call, so she will be on a mission rather than in school or in Ghana. Sometimes it’s funny how life works out). Anyway…I spent about a week internally debating myself, and then I decided to go anyway. Alone.

Why Ghana, you ask? Two main reasons: (1) they speak English as the official language, and (2) the LDS (Mormon) church has a pretty solid presence there, which makes me feel safer. I have heard that the people are welcoming, accepting, and very friendly. And by Africa standards, it’s a stable economy and government at the moment. IVHQ has been sending volunteers there for years and assures me that I will be placed in an orphanage where I can make a difference. I’m very excited 🙂

I leave Jan. 13th! I have officially received my passport, my visa application is in the mail, I’ve paid the program fee that will cover room and board during my stay, and I’ve purchased flights.

Also–I am quitting my job to go. Crazy, you say? Perhaps. But I’m ready for a change anyway, so this is good timing. I’m hoping that the volunteer experience will increase my marketability as a potential employee when I return. I figure if a company isn’t impressed by it, I probably won’t want to work for them anyway, right? So yes, it might be a mistake. But it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Yesterday I received 6 very dreaded immunization shots. Bleh. I am terrified of needles. The vaccines included yellow fever (legally required), tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, polio, typhoid, and meningococcus. I was already up-to-date on influenza and MMR shots–thank heavens. I also received prescriptions for an anti-malaria antibiotic, a drug that cures yeast infections (a potential side effect of the anti-malarial pills. Fun :P), and a drug that helps with traveler’s diarrhea. This is the first time in my life that I have received prescriptions for medical problems I may or may not ever have. haha. For the record, the yellow fever vaccine is the worst. It’s been more than 24 hours and my arm still hurts. But it’s worth it!

Ghana, here I come!

Categories: Ghana Volunteer | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment