The two months I spent volunteering with VEG have been the most memorable and I left with so much: new friends, enlightening experiences, enriching memories, a taste for Ghanaian food. Going to another country, especially to do volunteer work, is a great way to spend a few weeks or a few months, but the experience at VEG was most rewarding because I had the freedom to go around, live among Ghanaians, become an adopted Ghanaian, sort of.
Volunteers get a lot of freedom within and outside of the VEG office. I am very thankful to the staff for inviting me to be involved, hands on, speak with microfinance clients, collect their repayments, join the sexual and reproductive health team for open house information days, wander over into the beads and batik workshop and sit or look around. It felt more like a big house than an office. One thing that I will remember for a long time is the warm “Good mornings.”
Outside of the VEG office, weekends were for exploring Ghana or just resting and staying in town. I had some less-than-pleasant experiences travelling around Ghana but they were still great just because they were so memorable. And then I had some amazing travelling experiences with some of my fellow volunteers. I was never afraid I would find myself lost and stuck somewhere because Ghanaians are quite nice, especially to foreigners; they want you to feel comfortable in their country so they are very helpful. This is something I have come to appreciate: hospitality to strangers.
More than anything, though, what I will miss most is the family of volunteers and staff that I met and the community of Ho. I don’t know how it’s done, but my volunteering experience at VEG was more about living with and learning from Ghanaians and others than helping through volunteering. It has been a humbling and empowering experience to live and work among people and a culture so different from but still with so many similarities to the one I know. Thank you, Ghana and VEG.