When I approached my parents with the idea of returning to Africa for a third time in the last 4 years, my family was immediately concerned and apprehensive. Why on Earth did I keep wanting to go back to a continent where supposedly, the risk of disease is high and there is political unrest in so many of Africa’s composite countries? I think my reasons for wanting to come back to Africa were all personified in my incredible experience in Ghana.
Upon my arrival into Ghana across the Burkinabe border, Elghana was immediately in contact with me. As I arrived earlier than scheduled, the organization found me a placement before my scheduled time and met with me personally in Kumasi to explain the details of my placement, which was much appreciated. Additionally, Elghana provided me with a phone for my use while in the project and aid in extending my visa, which, without their help, frankly, would have been a nightmare.
The children at Hase International School were extremely excited that “Madam Obruni” would be there to teach them and were surprisingly attentive in their lessons, even without the encouragement of “the cane”. While my teaching placement focused primarily upon Mathematics and English, I was able to teach classes ranging from nursery (6 months) to JHS 3 (an equivalent to grade 9, whereby students could reach the age of 19 or 20). I had a very enjoyable time formulating lesson plans for the children and assigning homework and classwork which I marked with Canadian stickers I had brought from home. The teaching style is much different than in the Western World however, so I suggest to any new coming volunteers to be open to new ways of teaching and interacting. In addition to teaching the children, I found that I quickly became their friend and was often the school jungle gym for the younger children, while I was the confident of many of the older students.
Furthermore, my experience with my host family was nothing short of fantastic. I don’t know what it is about Africa. It could be the friendliness of the people, the fact that I can buy pineapples and coconuts on a whim and devour them in a busy market, the savagely beautiful landscape, the indigenous languages and music, or just the pace of life, but one thing that I know is that I love it. I would not trade my experience with the children here for anything, and I know that being here has taught me a lot about myself, even if the children may not have mastered the “laws of indices”. Perhaps Toto said it best: “Its gonna take a lot to drag me away from you”