Microfinance Volunteer

david ruby

WHAT WAS GREAT ABOUT WORKING WITH VEG?  A MILLION TINY THINGS.  FROM THE START, IT WAS CLEAR THAT VEG IS AN NGO THAT ALLOWS FOR VOLUNTEER EXPERIMENTATION AND FREEDOM.   THIS WAS WELCOME, BECAUSE HAVING FREE REIN TO DEFINE THE EXPERIENCE LETS THE VOLUNTEER FEEL LIKE THEY WILL GRAVITATE TOWARD HIS OR HER “HIGHEST AND BEST USE.”   THIS MAY OR MAY NOT CORRESPOND WITH THE PROGRAM OR PLACEMENT AS ADVERTISED.  IN MY CASE, I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A MICROFINANCE VOLUNTEER, BUT I WOULD SAY THAT AS MUCH AS 50% OF MY TIME WAS SPENT ON OTHER VEG ACTIVITIES.   THAT WAS JUST FINE FOR ME, AND HAVING A VARIETY OF THINGS TO DO AND EXPERIENCE HELPED TO MAKE EACH DAY FEEL DIFFERENT, AND LEAD TO A GENERAL ANTICIPATION ABOUT HEADING TO THE OFFICE.  HOW RARE AND SPECIAL THAT CAN BE!

THE DIVERSITY OF PEOPLE IS AMAZING.  PEACE CORPS AND JICA VOLUNTEERS, PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD SPEAKING DIFFERENT LANGUAGES, AND A VEG STAFF AT BOTH THE OFFICE AND HOUSE THAT PRIZES SUCH DIVERSITY.    AS MUCH LEARNING GOES ON OUTSIDE BUSINESS HOURS AS DURING IT.

IN MY EXPERIENCE, EVERYONE SMILES SEVERAL TIMES, AND OFTEN MUCH OF THE TIME, THROUGHOUT THE DAY.   AT LEAST, THAT WAS MY EXPERIENCE IN HO AND MUCH OF THE VOLTA REGION.   THE PACE OF LIVING IS GREAT, YOU CAN INDULGE IN LOTS OF DIFFERENT THINGS (EXCEPT NOT A LOT OF FOOD CHOICES LOCALLY….) AND AS AN AMERICAN, YOU ARE ALWAYS A HOT COMMODITY TO SOME DEGREE, SOMEONE WHO WILL ALWAYS BE ABLE TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH OTHERS.   THERE ARE TIMES YOU CAN FEEL A LITTLE UNDER THE MICROSCOPE, THE EVER PRESENT “YAVOO” WHO ALWAYS IS CATCALLED AND PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW, GET YOUR PHONE OR EMAIL ADDRESS, OR FIND WAYS FOR YOU TO PART WITH YOUR MONEY.  ALL I WOULD SAY HERE IS TO USE YOUR OWN COMMON SENSE AND LET YOURSELF HAVE PERMISSION TO GET DUPED A FEW TIMES IF NEEDED, BECAUSE THE REWARDS OF BEING OPEN TO STRANGERS FAR OUTWEIGH THE BENEFITS OF BEING TOO CIRCUMSPECT AND CLOISTERED.

I CARRIED WITH ME A NOTEBOOK EVERYWHERE I WENT SO THAT I COULD LEARN THE LANGUAGE DURING MY TIME, OR AT LEAST SOME KEY PHRASES.  THIS GOES A HUGE WAYS WITH THE VEG STAFF AND PEOPLE OF HO, AND OPENS MANY DOORS FOR YOU.  I WAS ABLE TO MEET CHIEFS AND LOCAL LEADERS ALL BECAUSE I WAS ABLE TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF VEG, TOO.

IN CONCLUSION, I WOULD HEARTILY RECOMMEND VEG AND A TRIP TO GHANA FOR ALMOST ANYONE WITH A SENSE OF ADVENTURE.  IT IS A SAFE COUNTRY TO VISIT, ENGLISH IS BROADLY SPOKEN, AND THE DEVELOPMENTS UNDERWAY IN GHANA AND VEG ARE EXCITING AT THIS POINT IN TIME.

THANK YOU VEG FOR A GREAT EXPERIENCE, I WILL NEVER FORGET MY TIME WITH YOU.