Volunteer to Teach English at Westminster Comprehensive School, Ghana

Volunteer Experiences - Sinead Lily Millwood in Ghana

Sinead and PhilipI don't know what I expected from my first visit to Ghana, but the care and hospitality we have enjoyed has been better than any hotel. A volunteer's day in the Yeboah household runs something like this:

Wake up at 5.30am, ready to leave at 6 in one of the purple school buses with the boarders who also live at the house. It is a 10 minute ride to the school to drop off the boarders and then an hour or so drive around the villages within a 10 mile radius to pick up all of the children. It takes about 3 journeys per bus (there are 3), to and from the school to collect all of the children, easily spotted by their bright purple uniforms on the roadside. This is usually completed by around 8am and then we had breakfast in the office together, everyone was suprised by how much white people enjoy drinking tea.

We had a lot of freedom to choose which classes and what subject we wanted to teach and the class teachers often helped us out. Having had no experience of teaching before I was a little nervous and un-natural to begin with, however as the children began to get used to my english accent I found I could converse a lot more easily. They taught me as much as I hope I taught them, and they delighted in my very limited and badly pronounced knowledge of the local language Twi. Lunch is at 12.30pm and was varied most days so that we could get used to the African dishes slowly. School finishes at 3pm but it takes another hour and half for the buses to drop all of the children home and come back to pick us and the boarders up. In this time we often taught the older children, or helped them revise for their imminent exams.

On arriving home I always greeted Nana (Grandma), Philip’s mum who drilled me in my pronounciation of phrases in Twi such as "Good morning/afternoon/ evening" every day. She cooked for us and is probably one of the most welcoming people I've ever met. After showering and relaxing in our very comfortable rooms for a while we could sit and watch preperations for dinner (including pounding fufu), play with the puppy, teach the boarders or learn more about them and Ghana culture. Everything was done for us from carrying our bags, to cooking, serving and clearing our meals, cleaning our rooms and washing our clothes and shoes. If we tried to do any of these ourselves we would be stopped, such is the hospitality of the Yeboah household. We'd usually be too tired to stay up later than 9pm and I enjoyed the satisfaction of completing a busy day.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay and experience of Ghana school and home life, as well as a few sightseeing trips. I would recommend this trip to anyone looking for a cost effective, safe, real experience of Ghana, and who is enthusiastic to meet some great people who will be truly grateful for your visit.