Dear future volunteers,
It seems a long time ago that I stepped out from the arrival lounge at Kotoka airport in Accra., Ghana. The director of the organization was there to meet me at first hand. And after a couple days of rest, sightseeing the capital and the cape coast we headed up to Tamale which is the capital of the northern region of Ghana. This is also the base and home of REVSODEP. My volunteer post was at the Tamale teaching hospital where I carried out my three months of volunteer service as a physiotherapist at the physical medicine department.
While working in Ghana I had a chance to take a peak into a culture that is completely different from any other culture I have ever experienced. At first everything felt a bit strange; the smells, sounds and sights of the city were all very different to what I was used to while working in other developed countries, but once I had settled, everything seemed increasingly familiar and I began to feel like home.
Now where do you begin describing Ghana? As a country it is a fascinating nation with such a rich and diverse culture. It is a home of chilled, stylish and the most polite people on earth, who greet all foreign people with heart warming, genuine smile. During my stay in Tamale, I lived with a local host family who made me feel like home, like I was a part of their family. To me this famous Ghanian hospitality was one of the highlights of my trip. In Ghana you also get to see the mix of Africa´s ancient and modern culture. The way I see it, Ghanians have a lot to be proud of – and they know it!
Working in the hospital was also an experience to remember. I gained an invaluable insight to the health condition of the people in rural and urban communities and learned a great amount about people and their culture and way of living. I also learned to be creative and inventive in terms of treating patients whose condition needed treatments or certain devices that were not available. Working with such a great and professional staff and colleagues was a great learning experience that gave me perspective and a more broader outlook of my profession.
As the year of 2006 is winding down and I have already returned back to Finland, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the growth and accomplishments of this organization. Established only a few years ago by a man with a vision and idea of a better and prospect future to the unfortunate people of the rural communities in Ghana, REVSODEP has developed into an organization with a professional outlook and dedication to make a difference and bring help to the deprived communities. The organization staff consist of skilful and dedicated volunteers who are willing to give their time and knowledge to make better and healthier future to those who are in need. Within this short period of time this organization has brought help and relief to numerous villages and communities, who are struggling with basic human needs such as good hygiene, purified water and health education. REVSODEP is above all a local NGO, working towards better and healthier life for the local people , yet it is a growing organization with international contacts and collaboration. It is an organization with a bright and prospect future and I feel proud that I had a chance to give my humble contribution to this organization and to the people of Ghana.
If you have a sense of adventure and want to volunteer, work, make a difference and see the effect of your contribution – it could be Ghana. And after all, they will welcome you with their open arms. “Akwaaba” as they say (You´re welcome).