Ghana

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The word Ghana means “Warrior King” and the country certainly lives up to its name. It has a great divide in economy between north and south but it is one of the strongest economies overall in Africa.

Ghana has the same land mass as the United Kingdom with the poorer northern half of Ghana containing savannah’s and wildlife and the richer southern half of Ghana containing great industrial mineral and fossil fuel wealth. The southern half of Ghana dominates in terms of population and agricultural resources and is rich in forests, woodlands and fertile lands. Furthermore, it features a string of springs, waterfalls, streams, rivers, caves, lakes, estuaries, mountains, wildlife parks and nature reserves. The coast of Ghana is a labyrinth of castles, forts, ports, harbours, Cape Three Points peninsula, and beaches that line Ghana’s 560 kilometres (348 miles) Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean coastline of mainly sandy beaches.  To top it all off, it is home to Lake Volta, the largest artificial lake in the world by surface area.

Ghana, known as “the Switzerland of Africa”, enjoys rapid economic growth and rising human development; maintaining the 4th largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa with the 7th largest economy on the Africa continent. Ghana was the first place in sub-Saharan Africa where Europeans arrived to trade – first in gold and later in slaves. It was also the first black African nation in the region to achieve independence from a colonial power, in this instance Britain.

Ghanaian cuisine is diverse, and includes an assortment of soups and stews with varied sea foods. Banku is a common Ghanaian starchy food made from ground corn (maize).

Ghanaian culture is diverse and predominantly influenced by the ancient Kingdoms of the Akan. Ghanaian culture is a mixture of the cultures of the Ghanaian people.

Ghana has a tropical climate; it is warm and comparatively dry along the south-east coast; hot and humid in the south-west and hot and dry in north.

In the Centre and South of Ghana rainy season is from April – June and September – November. In the north it is from March – September.

Full name: Republic of Ghana
Population: 25.5 million (UN, 2012)
Capital: Accra
Area: 238,533 sq km (92,098 sq miles)
Languages: English, African languages including Akan, Ewe
Major religion: Christianity, indigenous beliefs, Islam
Monetary unit: Cedi
GNI per capita: US $1,410 (World Bank, 2011)
Literacy rate: 57.9% (2000 est.)

School holidays

16th April – 10th May 2015
24th July – 9th Sept 2015

Project opening dates

Project starts every 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month

Location

Ada is in the Dangme East District in Ghana which has approximately 300.000 people and one of the highest ratios of orphans to non-orphans in Ghana. In addition, there are many abandoned “street” children whose parents have fled the District. The salt industry in the area created a temporary workforce, rather than creating a sustainable working community. Instead of bringing wealth to the people, the Songor lagoon, the largest salt producing water body in the country, has left high poverty rates and hundreds of one-parent families trying to cope with life’s daily challenges.

Ada Foah has one of the lowest level incomes in Ghana and we hope to help alleviate this by supporting not only school pupils but the wider community.

Although the area is high in poverty it is one of the most beautiful situated on a peninsula with the beach and ocean on the ones side and a lagoon lined with palm trees on the other.

Accommodation
Accommodation is in a shared house with the other volunteers in your group. Your house will be close to a water source but may not have running water. You will have a shower, however the electricity is not very reliable and this may effect the water pressure. Your house does have Electricity however Ghana is prone to power cuts. The standard of the accommodation is basic and will not be what you are used to at home so please don’t expect all mod cons, but it should be clean and tidy. Beds are either 1 – 6 sleeper bunk beds or you may find it more comfortable with a mattress on the floor. There is a social living room and self catering kitchen with fridge for all your private goodies.

Meals
You will receive 3 meals a day. We usually employ a local cook to provide meals, which will be mainly traditional dishes. The Ghanaian diet is full of starchy foods with rice, beans, maize meal and root vegetables as standard sometimes with simply prepared meat and mostly with some locally available vegetables. You will try lots of local dishes such as Fufu, made using cassava (a root a bit like potato) and plantain (green banana). You will also try jollof rice – a rice dish with peppers and onions flavoured with tomato and some kind of meat or vegetables.  You will be encouraged to help with cooking so that everyone is involved.

If you do independent travel at the weekends you will need to budget separately for food. If you stay around the project site on a weekend then we will make sure the pantry is full. Volunteers are responsible for cooking their own food at weekends using the kitchen items at the house. Please help our crew by ensuring the if there are any foods items that we are running low on that they are notified in time for the weekly shop at the market, which you may enjoy visiting with the cook. We can cater for most dietary requirements and it’s important that you let us know before you go. However we do not cater for picky eaters so please be respectful of the local food, cultures, traditions and give everything a go, you may even enjoy them. If you do some independent travel at the weekends you can try a number of other foods including more ‘westernised’ dishes if you wish particularly when you are heading to tourist spots.

Arriving in Ghana

Do I need a visa?
What do I need when arriving in Ghana?
What do I need to apply for a VISA?
Do I need to bring any medications?
Budgeting
What we don’t cover
Do I need malaria medication?
What vaccinations do I need?

Staying in Ghana

Where will I find the shuttle at the airport?
What if I don’t arrive on a Saturday?
How does the Departure Work?
Do I need to bring cash or can I use my debit / credit card?
Can I drink the tap water?
Are there a lot of mosquitoes?
What kind of Food are we going to eat?
Is it possible to smoke?
Will I have internet access?
What happens if there is an emergency?
Are there plug sockets in every room?
Is it safe on my project?
Why do I have to pay to volunteer?
Should I bring donations?
When is the best time of year to volunteer?
I want to make the most of my programme, what length of time is best?
What do I need when I’m on the project?
How do I get to my project?
Can I take photos of the children?
I’m scared of HIV and AIDS, what are the risks?
How many hours / days will I be working?
Will I have time off?
What are my working hours?
How many people sleep in a room?
Will there be a possibility to go shopping, (for food or groceries etc) while at the program, or are we just staying at the Volunteer Housings?
How far are we away from the beach?
Where can I do my washing?
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