HOME       VOLUNTEER OVERSEAS       BLOGS
Developing a just society based on equity and equal opportunities for all with respect for diversity.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015




My Experience in Ghana so far ......Will CLARK

In a cosy little nutshell. I failed to achieve the grades I wanted, to go to the University I wanted. I needed an escape to an extent, I needed a gap year at least or something to just go away and think about.  Nothing in my life made sense I wanted nothing more than to crawl into a shell and never come out rather like a snail. I left my family and my girlfriend at Manchester Airport in September. 

That was single-handedly the hardest thing I have ever done. I will not lie to you if you have a significant other or a very close-knit family ICS will be tough. In the first week all I wanted to do was go home and be where I had been for the past 2 years at home and comfortable but I knew I had to push myself to go further. That was definitely a good decision. And if you do decide to undertake ICS, push through it .it’s the best feeling when you get past the half-way mark and realise you have been 6 weeks abroad.

Despite the challenges I faced trying to adjust , I knew that this is what I wanted to do and I wanted to be here and be helping people. I have seen things that are unbelievable and some  that are new  to an extent, then things that just have changed my perspective on life. The experience you will gain as a Volunteer and as a Team Leader on this programme is fundamentally unique. You have opportunity to help communities in which you work and at the same time experience a new culture and a new country. I have made a great yet difficult decision to come here. If you are considering joining ICS then do it. It may be tough in the first few weeks but there is nothing that you can not overcome. Endure the homesickness if you are anything like me and find distractions and  move forward, looking backwards will only have you bumping into things. 

Onto the more specific experiences of my experience in Ghana and the RAINS project. RAINS has given us a sub-project to work upon, known as Safe Choices. This project is meant to help people make safe choices about their future in regards to sex. Yes, we work on Sex Education, now for the people that know me they will know that I am an incredibly immature person to be working upon this. From the outset I knew this was going to either a make or break project. I have thrown myself as much as I can into my project as a distraction from missing home and for the sheer fact that I’m here now, I have to make the most of it. This is not to say that I am not enjoying myself. It has been an incredible experience so far and there is no way that I would leave now! 

I have been on trips on the programme that allow you a break from the work at weekends and allow you to experience the whole  of the country not just where you are based. I touched a crocodile out here, not even like my finger I put my whole hand on its tail… if you expect that you are going to be changed by this programme, you are underestimating the overwhelming culture shock you will get once on placement. I recommend trying all of the trips on offer but always make time to talk and learn from your host family! I have learnt so much just from my Host Dad. In exchange, make sure that you have as many interesting stories about the UK and where you are from to exchange. They want to know as much about us as we want to learn about them. No story is irrelevant, everything you know, they wish to talk about be open and be friendly and you will make friends with people from around the world.

Trips are regular but they are not free or organizing them  for you will have to work with people to organise and make the trip happen. There are things to learn, people to speak to and gifts to find! I recommend the culture market. That place has the best Ghanaian items on offer, though you will leave with a lighter wallet unless you have some one to haggle the prices down. Be ever conscious of your health as it can go into meltdown if you suspect something is awry then seek help, talk to someone and go to the hospital, get it sorted its no problem here they want you to be healthy.

In my time here I have learnt not only about the culture and the lifestyle of a completely different culture, but also I have realized what is important to me and what  was not. What I can drop in an instant and what I need to go onward.
For those to leave on ICS I will say this. Good Luck! Your time here will change you but only for the better you should only return with a new outlook on life, and quite possibly the world.


Will CLARK.