This summer I spent a month in Ghana, working with underprivileged children. I spent the first half of the day working at an institution called The Underprivileged Children’s Centre (UCC) and the afternoons in a children’s home called Love-a-Lots, where they look after children aged one to nine years old who had been found abandoned on the streets, some of them near to death. I went on my own, so I was apprehensive at the start, but as soon as I got to my host family’s house I knew it was going to be an experience that would change me. The children were amazing, always smiling, laughing playing and so eager to learn. When I was in the car after leaving the airport, I remember a small girl of about six years of age coming up to the car window, smiling at me and just touching my face, looking at me straight in the eyes. I will never forget that.
It was hard at the start, adapting to their living conditions and feeling quite guilty about all the things I have that would be a luxury to them, especially when I thought about how much I had taken for granted in the past. One would expect the people of Ghana to be depressed and miserable the majority of the time, but they are quite the opposite: so hospitable, so friendly and wonderfully warm-hearted.
I visited several different parts of Ghana, including the rainforest and the capital of the Central Region, called Cape Coast (where all the slave castles are). I also travelled nine hours to go on a safari, which was amazing. But the highlight of my time in Ghana was definitely taking the three boys whom I had been teaching to the beach. Although they lived only a two-minute walk from the beach, there was a fee to pay before entering, so not once in their lives had they been to go there. It was the most touching experience to see how much they enjoyed it and how grateful they were. I hope to return to Ghana in the summer to explore it further, as I was so reluctant to leave this time!