We all agree that we had a very valuable, eventful and memorable trip which we were lucky to be part of. Spending time in Accra and especially Keta with the schools and students was very useful, insightful and enriching. We were looked after extremely well and always felt included, involved and part of the family and community. We just hope that the trip was as equally rewarding and beneficial for Philomena and her team at the Books2Africa Distribution Office in Ghana.
When visiting schools in Ghana, the head teacher’s were always interested in our cause and purpose, they often assumed that we were the directors and creators of Books2Africa. We would explain that we were volunteers, our reasons for visiting Ghana and their particular school and they would always ask for flyers, t-shirts or something to leave them with so they can spread the word, unfortunately we had nothing to pass on. But we would try to direct them towards the website and go through Philomena and the Books2Africa Ghana team if they had any future enquiries.
Only one school out of the ten that we visited had established a library, others stored all of their books in the teacher’s office/staff room on the floor where they seemed to collect dust. I wondered where the books that we donated would go or if they would share the same space. We would donate either a box of 100 or a box of 200, depending on the school, the subjects would mostly be: English, Maths, Science and some novels. The books would never be given directly to children, so in the future would they be allowed to ask for them to read in school or to borrow them etc?
Some schools lacked very basic supplies and in a class of 30 students there were only 3 textbooks, or similarly out of 10 students only 1 had a writing book and a pencil, at most. In hindsight, we could have taken much more stationary supplies to donate to them, such as pens and pencils, in addition to actual books.
We wanted to arrange a small football match with one or two classes, but when arriving none of the schools had a single football to play with. Had we known this, we could have taken one with us from the UK.
The children were interested and engaged in Ana’s Spanish lessons, where we left posters of what we had taught and we were also able to teach Salsa dancing by playing music through a phone to one class, which the students definitely enjoyed. In terms of teaching, if we had more prior knowledge, we could have prepared better lessons and spent our classroom teaching time more wisely.
Ghana will remain in my heart forever. This trip showed me the value of being happy with so little. Such a great experience discovering a new culture the people were amazing and warm, especially the kids. So when I think about Ghana, a smile comes to my face. My first time in Africa I can say, will be always be memorable. Hoping this has opened the door for future volunteers and our experience can help them to improve our mission. A special thank you to Precious who has always been supportive and because of you this was possible.
Ana Elsa Diaz (International Volunteer from Mexico)
Ghana and especially Keta, where we spent time working with the local schools, exceeded all of my expectations and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, particularly as it was my first international trip and first visit to Africa. I cannot thank both Solasta Foundation and Books2Africa enough for making everything possible and fulfilling my wish to volunteer abroad. To anybody out there thinking of volunteering or spending some time helping others in a developing country, I wholeheartedly recommend it as it will be an experience and memory that I will never forget!
Rachel Allen (Volunteer from UK)
Lastly, thank you Precious for all of your input and work on making the trip possible. It was one of my favourite visits to Africa and 100% worth all of the fundraising and efforts that went into it. I only wish I could have stayed longer!
Sean Hillman (Volunteer from UK)