Swansea University 2017

Midwifery, Ghana Takoradi

If you are contemplating a Midwifery elective with Work the World… stop reading, and start planning!

I found out about Work the World from another student from my university, Swansea, who had completed an elective in Nepal last year, and presented her experiences at our collegiate day. As she was a mum of young children, it made me think I could do it too. As well, going to Africa had always been on my bucket list. Life takes you down different roads, but I found myself as a mature student, planning my elective to Ghana.

Carleen Simpson

After having researched the options, I then also decided Work the World would be the best company to travel with. Nine months before my departure date (quite apt for a student midwife) I paid the deposit to secure a place on my trip to Ghana.  

I chose not to fundraise for my trip, as I felt that there are far more important places money should be going, and having fundraised for a couple of charities this year already, I did not want to ask people to help me.  Fortunately my husband and I managed to find a good deal on flights (saving the student loan and bursary).

Work the World provide you with a private login to MyTrip which had a timeline for everything that needed to be done before departure, which meant a lot of things were taken care of, so everything seemed so effortless and stress free.

Prior to departure I received calls from the Work the World  team, they detailed everything I needed to know, answered any questions and made me feel that I was in safe hands. I was really looking forward to travelling, but I must admit, I was very nervous and having second thoughts. Should I really be going?

Carleen Simpson

Soon my trip came around, and I departed from Heathrow on a chaotic rainy Saturday morning. Sadly, flight was delayed due to bad weather (in July!), followed by another delay at Paris.

Landing at Accra, a humid noisy evening awaited, along with a 2 hour queue to get through immigration (be warned lots of flights land in the evening), but it was such a relief to be met by a Work the World staff member with a hug and ‘Welcome to Ghana!’.

Myself and a student nurse from the Netherlands were taken to a hotel for the night and we would travel to Takoradi the following morning.

Upon arrival the Work the World house in the afternoon, we were given a tour and explained everything we needed to know. The house was amazing!

Carleen Simpson

The following day Joe, our programme manager sat with us for a couple of hours talking in depth about the placement before taking us to the hospital for orientation, to collect our ID cards and to meet the staff in charge of the areas we would be working in. Later that afternoon, we were given a whistle stop tour of Takoradi, where we could change any money, purchase a local sim card, see the supermarket and beaches and also where we could find souvenirs. You really do understand the local way of life pretty quickly; such as bartering with the cheeky taxi drivers!

Suffice to say my clinical placement was an emotional journey and will make you appreciate the healthcare system in your own country. Your placement will open your eyes, give you confidence in your own abilities and you will make friends for life, as one young man said “it takes a special sort of person to do something like this”. You will enjoy coming back to lunch and sharing your experiences with students from across the world, Joe and Frank are also on hand and are always checking up on you.

Carleen Simpson

Back at the house, the chef’s food is lovely, I already miss the pancakes they would make for breakfast, not to mention the spring rolls and mangoes! They work so hard on Thursdays for the weekly BBQ, where there is African dancing! If you are missing the gym, you are sure to have a good workout on a Thursday night.

All the students enjoyed travelling widely at the weekends and I would look forward to hearing about their adventures. I chose to work on the Saturdays and but managed to get to visit Cape Coast Fort too, if you go, make sure you include this in your itinerary.

Carleen Simpson

Everyone bought material from market circle, a local seamstress named Alberta would produce fabulously made skirts, dresses and bags! Always a highlight of a Tuesday evening seeing everyone delighted with their new clothes, beware there is so much choice and the material patterns are beautiful.

We also had the opportunity to go to a baby naming ceremony in church before placement, Fred who taught us Fante at the house kindly invited us.

Carleen Simpson

I cannot recommend Work the World highly enough! I would say choose Ghana, they are such a lovely team and you are so well looked after and safe. You will feel every sort of emotion, you will be humbled, you will make memories that will last a lifetime, friends from around the world and you will take a little bit of Ghana home with you in your heart.  I just hope that one day I can take my family back to Ghana!

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