Review Volunteer Taylor Bronson Ghana Kasoa Orphanage program
How was the local ABV coordinator /staff and it supports provided in country?
My local abv coordinator, was exceptional. He took a lot of time out of his life to ensure my comfort, safety and learning. He answered all of my questions regarding the orphanage, culture and Ghana as well as constantly invited me to take part in various things happening.
What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
Program: the most surprising thing I experienced at the orphanage was the children's love for one another and willingness to share and help each other no matter their age, class, gender or relationship.
Host family: the most surprising part of my host family was the amount of space and polite nature of everyone who passed through the house, while at the same time giving me space to relax and adjust to my surroundings.
Country: in Ghana I was most surprised about peoples interest in me and why I was there. Everyone was friendly, welcoming and did their best to answer any questions I had, even there was a language barrier. I never once felt unsafe.
What was the most challenging thing you experienced?
Program: the most challenging thing about my program was only being scheduled to teach 2 hours the first day. When I first started, I wasn't sure what to do, however I came to love the free time because I was able to interact with the kids more and more between various classes.
Host family: the biggest challenge to leave with the host family was having to ask for things I needed rather than being able to do it myself. It was a big adjustment!
Country: The most challenging part of the country was trying to be polite but firm with all the locals who asked for my phone number. It's a thin balance of being polite, friendly and understanding their curiosity but also being firm in boundaries.
Any tips for future volunteers...( clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
Come prepared to be welcomed by the children asked many questions about your life. Also many locals will ask for your phone number or to take pictures with you. Bring clothes and a towel that will dry quickly as well as a handkerchief to wipe sweat from your face well out. Donations that would be good are chalk, exercise books, pens, pencils etc
Personal paragraph about the experience (abv program testimonial):
I loved Ghana, the people the culture and the geography. My volunteer experience was incredibly immersive and rewarding. I cannot wait to come back. I was able to connect with the children and the teachers in the short month I was in Ghana. The orphanage is a beautiful program with children who are happy, caring and eager to learn. I only wish I could 've with them longer to effect them in the way they have touched my heart.
How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security, friendliness, quality others?
Accommodation: my accommodation house was beautiful and much more than I expected. It was situated close to my coordinator's house and in a friendly neighborhood with the children constantly calling to me.
Meals: my meals were made separately from my host family meals. I think in a more western style. My host, Cecelia was constantly asking what I liked and preferred and really tried to make sure I enjoyed the food.
Security: I never felt unsafe in Ghana and rarely felt whistled by the people as I have in the other countries, even though I was often the only white person in sight people were always friendly and often asked me if I needed assistance and was safe.
What was your favorite memory of this trip?
Program: my favorite memory of being at school goes hand in hand with my biggest challenge. Once I'd adjusted to the relaxed flow of school, I loved being able to fill my day however I saw fit when I'd completed my lessons. It allowed me to get to know the kids better and visit various classes. I also loved the children's love of pictures and desire to take and see pictures.
Host family: my favorite memory of my host was being able to watch the women cook meals, in particular I loved watching them work together to make 'banku' (local food) with the huge mortal.
Country: my memory about the country was definitely volunteering, however, I also loved my weekend trips. Seeing the forts at the cape coast and learning their history was an eye opening experience and look into history. The country is so diverse I feel I barely saw enough of it.
How was the ABV USA support prior traveling? (Who helped you, emails, phone calls, chat online, how Fay did you get the answers, did you get all your answers)?
ABV support, primarily Sarah, was amazing. She responded usually writhing an hour and answered all questions I asked as well as questions I hadn't thought to ask. She even helped with my visa, I would not hesitate to recommend her and ABV to friend.
What do you think about the reservation system online?
I thought the online reservation system was very concise. I had contacted ABV before using the system to ensure they were the right program for me, then found the system very easy to use.
Who did you find abroaderview website and what keywords did you use?
I found ABV through a volunteer company review site, where it was rated in the top three along with another company I was considering. However I choose ABV because if it's commitment and emphasize on volunteering and immersion in your chosen program.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?