- Group:Warwickshire Girl Guides
- Age:15-18 years old
- Group Size:8 Guides 2 Leaders
- Project:Care & Community
- Destination:Akuapem Hills, Ghana
Before we left
At Warwickshire Girlguiding’s annual selection weekend, 8 young women and 2 leaders were given the opportunity to take part in a challenge of a lifetime. The trip chosen was to work in an orphanage in Ghana through Projects Abroad. 12 months of hectic fundraising followed: bag packing, fashion shows, preparing and serving meals and much, much more. All the money was successfully raised through hard work both individually and as a team. We had several weekend get-togethers to plan our project and build our team, including one where a member of Projects Abroad came and answered all our questions about Ghana and what we would encounter while out there, including bucket showers and a local dish called fou fou (which we tried, but never really took to!)
What we did
We lived with a wonderful family and enjoyed a Ghanaian welcome. Early each day we were collected by our Projects Abroad staff in our own tro tro and taken to the Marcoff Orphanage in the Akuapem Hills. In the mornings we painted the outside of the building, including doing some personalised murals; lunch was provided by our host family and delivered to the orphanage by our Projects Abroad driver; and then the afternoons saw us organising games and crafts for the children, whose ages ranged from about 2 to 14 years.
We had planned a different theme for each day and built up crafts, games and sports around the theme. Our rucksacks were filled with craft resources and games equipment on the journey out. This made plenty of space for souvenirs to take home! It was particularly moving to see the children’s faces when they did activities such as butterfly painting and made stone pets. Face painting and tattoos were great fun and helping the children make pirate hats and ships was a challenge. Skipping was popular and the children loved having someone to turn the rope and teach them our traditional skipping rhymes. Sadly our attempts at playing football resulted in England losing every match! We had been warned that the children loved playing football but hadn’t realised how good they would be.
The weekend trip
During our time in the Akuapem Hills we were taken by the Projects Abroad staff to visit Cape Coast. Our guide at the castle was an impressive speaker and by the end of the tour we were all feeling somewhat guilty about Britain’s involvement in the slave trade. That evening we were treated to a fabulous display of drumming and dancing where we were all encouraged to join in. The following day was a trip to the Kakum Rainforest and an aerial walkway undertaken in monsoon conditions. The view was quite ethereal since we were surrounded by mist through the tops of the trees. The rain certainly added to the challenge, and everyone managed to complete the long circuit of bridges and felt justly proud of themselves!
This was an amazing trip. We learnt how to live in a completely different culture to that of the UK. We were supported by our Projects Abroad staff wherever we travelled. They helped us at the markets with our bartering and enabled us to have the confidence to purchase our souvenirs at good prices. They advised us on customs and how to behave while out and about and generally looked after us during our trip. It was brilliant to see the confidence of the girls increase during the 2 weeks we spent on the project. They worked extremely hard during their time at Marcoff and the experience all the girls had there will no doubt have an impact on their future life choices.