A report by Nina Elfving

Hello everyone!

I am a Finnish girl who visited Ghana and know I want to tell you something about my stay there. I have been in Ghana twice before this trip. When I was studying I did my work practise in Ghana. So everything wasn.t so new and strange. I was dreaming to travel to Ghana at least once, because this country has stolen a big part of my heart. So what would be a better way to see and experience the hole country the way it is in reality than to go there for a while and do some volunteer work. Now that I have had the opportunity to be in the country only five weeks, I would like to stay there longer. Maybe next time, because I.m sure it.s coming.

I came late in the evening and there were Fidelis and my old friend Azog to meet me at the airport. It was nice to come, because I felt so welcome. They also took care that I got a room to spend the first night in after the long trip.

The next morning we travelled with Fidelis to Cape Coast. There we met two Austrian girls who were also finding out about the organization and getting to know the country at the same time. We spent two days at Cape Coast and I was enjoying local music shows. I visited Cape Coast.s slave castle and spent some exciting moments in Kakum National Park.

After that we had to take a bus to the north part of Ghana to Tamale, it was a twelve hour.s trip. Tamale was the town I was planning to work, at Tamale teaching hospital at physiotherapy department and visit some other places.

When I was in Tamale I stayed in two different places, at a Catholic Guesthouse and Ticcs Guesthouse. Both were nice places. The staff took care of me and they were always ready to help me if I had any problems or some questions. I found what I needed in both guesthouses which were a bed, a shower and a toilet.

At first in Tamale I was sitting at a restaurant together with the organization staff. We were talking about my work and what were my expectations. They told me what I can do during my free time weekends, and what are the places I can visit. I also got their phone numbers so that if I had any problems I could always call them and ask help. Fortunately I didn.t need those, there were no problems at all.

So I was working at the teaching hospital in the physiotherapy department. The department and the whole hospital were clean and modern. In the physio dept you could find the same equipment as in western hospitals. There were six local people working at the department. The doctors sent the patients to physio to do some exercises. Physiotherapy is not so popular in Ghana and it is a very new occupation. Actually the physiotherapy education in the country started only a few years ago. Before that you had to get your education somewhere abroad.

The physio staff was extremely nice and friendly. My working days went by talking with them and taking care of the patients. The patients were also friendly and some of them wanted to know everything about physio and how it is working in Ghana and in my country. Patients had different problems and there were children and old people too.

At the weekends I visited Tamale children.s home, where were small babies who didn.t have their parents anymore. So it was like a orphanage. There I noticed that help and extra hands were very welcome. Also at weekends I went swimming at the VRA pool. It was so nice after a working week just to enjoy the water.

When I was in Tamale I also visit at Paga to see crocodiles. I also touched them, even when at first it sounded too scary. I also visited Mole National park, where were wild animals like elephants and different monkeys.

Over all I can say that my trip was very successful and huge thanks belong to the whole staff at Revsodep, who take care of me and that everything went well. The biggest problems during my trip were darkness and thunder, because I am a little bit afraid of them.

I really recommed that everybody go there and see the different culture and learn to know new people. In Ghana and particularly in Tamale people are very friendly and helpful. I found many new friends there and I hope we will keep in touch for a long time.

In conclusion a little bit about prices. Living in Ghana is cheap, of course it depends on where and what you eat. My flight tickets were over 900 euros. Accommodation was about 7 euros a night. It would be cheaper to stay in a family but this time I didn.t want to do that. My earlier visits to Ghana in the years 1997 and 2002 I had my own host family and I can tell you it was a very nice family. They also helped me, and by living at a family you learn to know the real life and culture better.

I don.t want to tell you all the details, because it is something I can.t describe it is something you have to experience yourself. Right know I.m in Finland and planning my next journey, maybe even next year.

Nina Elfving

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