I have to say from the start it was the best choice I have ever made. I travelled alone and felt very nervous but as soon as I arrived at Accra airport I was welcomed by Prince and Alhassan, who are part of the work the world team. I arrived in the evening and Alhassan accompanied me in a taxi to a local guest house.
When waking in the morning I was still shocked that I was actually in Ghana, in Africa and believe me you have to keep pinching yourself though out your stay... well I did! We travelled the 4 hours to Takoradi on the VIP bus and arrived at the house around lunch time. I was given a tour and had chance to meet some of the housemates, it was a Sunday afternoon so most were away travelling.
I started work on the Monday morning at the local private maternity clinic, which is only 5 minutes away in a taxi from the house. All the staff in the clinic were fantastic and very welcoming. They are always interested in you and why you wanted to come to Ghana. I felt valued, welcomed but scared and nervous about what I may experience. The midwife I was due to spend most of my time with was very special; I find it difficult to put it into words. I will always remember her and I feel her kindness and passion to be a midwife and do all she could for every woman she saw will stay with me forever.
I worked at the clinic for my full three weeks, Monday to Friday, mainly from morning to afternoon. They were flexible and you could do whatever shifts suited you. The clinic is mainly for maternity; however it does have a general clinic as well. There is an antenatal clinic, labour ward with birthing room, postnatal ward and a theatre which also has a pre and post-operative ward. I also had the opportunity to observe the Obstetrician while carrying out ultrasound scans which was interesting and well worth doing.
Every evening during the week Ophelia (the master chef of Takoradi) will cook your evening meals….these are fantastic and you should try everything once! The house I stayed in was great. I lived with about 16 people but the house can hold more. Your housemates are key to your time away, they are the people that understand what you are experiencing and how you feel and if you are finding it hard they are the ones that will get you through.
The work the world team…or should I say “your extended Ghana family” are amazing people who are always there for you at any time of any day. They make you feel welcome, safe and immediately part of the family. Joe, Alhassan, and Ophelia will help you and ensure your stay in Ghana is enjoyed and runs smoothly. They will always entertain you, especially on a Thursday night, BBQ night!!
Go with an open mind, expect to be challenged by what you see but learn from everything.
You will work hard through the week so why not enjoy yourself at the weekend and see some fantastic parts of Ghana? I went to the Wli waterfalls which was hard work but absolutely worth it. I also did the Kakum treetop canopy walk and stayed in a tree house in the jungle, which was equally amazing! There is so much more to do so use all the spare time you have.
After my shifts at the clinic I would generally come home and have lunch with the others and usually we would go to Africa beach to chill out on the sand or maybe do a little shopping in market circle or harbour view. There is a man in a hut that does the most amazing paintings…well worth a look and he will paint whatever you want if you ask him to!
The other important thing you must know about this trip is the organisation from Work the World in the UK. If I ever had a worry or a concern about anything no matter how small or silly I thought it was, they answered it in a heartbeat. Everything is planned for you and you can see what you need to do and when you need to do it by on your “My Trip” section of the website after you have booked.
All I would say is; you have come this far, you are reading the case studies so you’re obviously very interested…..so go on, just do it! I promise it’s an experience that will stay with you forever and you will make friends for life. Go with an open mind, expect to be challenged by what you see but learn from everything.