Tanveer Ditta - After School Sports in Ghana
The reasons behind my decision to opt to volunteer in a place like Ghana, West Africa were: firstly, to view and be a part of a completely different way of life and secondly, to work alongside people and with children who hold completely different values from my own. In addition to this I opted to work in a place like Ghana, to help those who do not have the everyday facilities as I have here in England.
From my time spent in Ghana, although it was only a matter of two weeks (compared to others before me who have spent months, years abroad) I was able to do all what I set out to do along with much more. My two week experience abroad in Ghana was, in short, a worthwhile experience that I will never forget. Being from an educational and sporting background I chose to volunteer on the sports placement in Cape Coast, Ghana.
My Sports Placement
The Sports placement consisted of me working Monday to Friday after school times with children from the local area. From the first 10 minutes of my first day on placement I came to understand how everyone loved football! Children loved to talk football, play football, watch football, football was everything and they all loved it.
It was an amazing experience as all the children there listened and were so eager to hear what you had to say and learn from you. Of course as time progressed we played many other sports too. My highlight of this sports placement was the session I got to lead and teach my sport specifically - cricket. Children in Ghana were not too familiar with the sport of cricket. They all seemed quite confused at the onset, but gradually as we got into it everyone really seemed to enjoy it and did not want to stop playing.
Aside from the sports placement, I opted to spend my additional time whilst in Ghana helping out at summer school. There I taught young primary aged children basic English, mathematics and science. This was by far the best experience throughout the whole two weeks as I was able to help and support the learning of young children from a deprived background. The children at the school were very well behaved, friendly and all so eager to learn. Due to the age of some children it was difficult to communicate at times, but this did not stop any from joining in.
On a Friday I took time out from my placement to help with what we called 'Dirty Day'. On this day all volunteers in the area from Projects Abroad teamed up and went to the local orphanage to help those children in need. We re-painted the walls, cleaned the rooms and mopped the floors.
This was one of those experiences which really touched me. Back in England it is very easy to donate money to charity and say you have done your bit to help. But there, on that Friday, I was able to provide my services to those in need first-hand. This experience was well and truly rewarding.
Living in Ghana
During my time in Ghana, I lived with a host family consisting of a mother, her children and grandparents. These people were by far the friendliest people I have ever met. Throughout the course of my stay in Ghana I felt very safe with them. They took great care in dealing with any problems I had, were very polite and were always approachable. I even had the opportunity to learn more about the country through them and they were very interested in learning about my own cultural background. They made my stay in Ghana very welcoming.
Though my stay in Ghana was only a matter of two weeks, I spent my free traveling and shopping. I visited a beautiful beach in Cape Coast where I spent my time surfing. There is always plenty to do in Ghana during free time and the weather is always great. People around the city of Cape Coast were also very friendly and willing to show you around if you were ever lost.
When leaving Ghana, I was very surprised at how quick the two weeks had gone. It felt like it had only been two days! I learned so much from the country and saw a completely different way of life.
Now back here in England and back to reality, I still to this day carry some of the things I have learned from my experience. Witnessing first-hand the tough life for people from a third world country has taught me to appreciate things more, from food on the table to respecting others around me in society. I now as a result hold a much broader understanding of life from a different perspective.
My experience in Ghana was truly an experience of a life-time. I still tell anyone who will listen about my experiences and how I was able to go abroad, to a developing country and work there on a sports placement.
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