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Volunteers' Stories




Teaching IT to Underprivileged Children in Accra, Ghana


Everything at this end has been brilliant. The organisation has been first class - from the arrangements to meet at the airport through to showing us a large number of sites around the city. We have been extremely well taken care of.

The family that I'm staying with are extremely nice, and the food is good (although sometimes a little strange - rice pudding for breakfast?!!!!). Everyone has made me feel extremely welcome.

The best thing about the placement has been the reaction of the older kids to my lessons. When I tried to end one lesson a couple of minutes early, they actually refused to leave and made me try to teach them something else quickly. That was such an amazing feeling - to know that I really am making a difference to these kids, and hopefully giving them some real skills that are going to help them progress in the future.

Other highlights so far include Kokrobite, Aburi and generally doing things at the weekend - it's really liberating to get away and do things for yourself. A bit scary, but very fulfilling when you get there and know that it was all you!

The most important thing for me has been experiencing a completely different culture. I have taught kids before, so that aspect wasn't entirely new, but I have never been to Africa before, so that has been an amazing experience. You have to completely adjust to a new way of living and just basically accept everything - if you don't like something it's tough!

I would definitely recommend this placement to others. I think everyone should do a placement of some sort - there is no real reason not to nowadays. Employers look on them as beneficial, not a vacation, and the way it can set you up for the next part of your life (whether, like me, that is a career, or for the others, university).

The skills that you learn, and the experiences you gain, will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life. Even if your placement doesn't work out exactly how you hoped, it will be an amazing experience. I think this placement would suit someone confident, outgoing, willing to "muck in", friendly (v. important) and just very open-minded!

Can you describe a typical day?

I get up around 7 each morning, except Tuesday when I have to be in early so I roll out of bed at 6! Quick bucket shower before some brekkie and I'm out the house. I often walk the 20 minutes to Atomic Junction, otherwise I'd never do any exercise, then catch a Tro-tro to the school.

Lessons tend to start at 8.30. Everyday except Tuesday I have adult classes in the mornings, this tends to be one-to-one lessons as they are all at different levels. I also try to make sure all the machines are in good condition.

Lunch at 12 each day, sometimes some beans and fried plaintain, sometimes some fried rice, then at 1 we have the kids classes in (sometimes there are kids classes 10:30-12 too). School finishes between 2-2:30, and I might stick around if there are some adults who want to do some more work.

On the way home I might pop into the Internet cafe, check my mails and, more importantly, the football results, then carry on home. I play with the kids and read/write my journal in the afternoon, sometimes a bit of football, then dinner normally around 6 as the house starts to fill up (although Joe's house is never exactly empty! Then Joe and the guys often take me out for a few drinks, watch some TV, listen to some music, then off to bed!

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