Formerly known as Gold Coast, Ghana is a beautiful country known for its varied countryside and hospitable people. The trip will be a combination of making a lasting contribution, experiencing a new culture, working hard and making new friends. If you are flexible, open to new experiences, and willing to get dirty, consider joining this Global Village team for what will be a rewarding and life-changing experience.
Ghana is located on the Gulf of Guinea only a few degrees north of the equator in western Africa, situated between Cote d'Ivoire and Togo. The climate is tropical—warm and dry along the southeast coast, hot and humid in the southwest and hot and dry in the north.
Ghana’s population is nearly 23 million. The country’s ethnic groups include Akan (45.3 percent), Mole-Dagbon (15.2 percent), Ewe (11.7 percent), Ga-Dangme (7.3 percent), Guan (4 percent), Gurma (3.6 percent), Grusi (2.6 percent), Mande-Busanga (1 percent) and many other small tribes (9.3 percent) making up the rest.
Christianity is the dominant religion in Ghana, accounting for 68 percent of the population. Muslim (15.9 percent) and other traditional tribal religions (8.5 percent) account for most other faith traditions in the country.
English is the official language, but Ghanaians speak many different languages and dialects, including Asante (14.8 percent), Ewe (12.7 percent), Fante (9.9 percent), Boron (Brong) (4.6 percent), Dagomba (4.3 percent), Dangme (4.3 percent), Dagarte (Dagaba; 3.7 percent), Akyem (3.4 percent), Ga (3.4 percent) and Akuapem (2.9 percent).
Accra, the capital of Ghana, is a thriving city. It is the political, commercial and cultural center of Ghana. It was founded in the 15th century by Ga settlers and became a magnet for the economically active, including local and foreign industry owners, manufacturers and workers. Its status and location as a good natural port and fishing center and as the nucleus for local trading industries make it just as important today.
Habitat for Humanity Ghana
Habitat for Humanity Ghana began in 1987 and now operates in 65 affiliates, having built more than 5,000 houses in 145 communities countrywide. HFH Ghana uses the community-managed affiliate concept, in which committees composed of local volunteers manage each affiliate. The partnership between HFH Ghana and the local communities—as well as other stakeholders—facilitates the goal of providing shelter for more families.
HFH Ghana homeowners are mostly farmers who own small plots of land they cultivate by hand. Even with a good harvest, these farmers do not earn more than US$50 per month, and they struggle to care for their families. The farmers are able to afford a mortgage with HFH Ghana, which is never more than 20 percent of their monthly income.
For more information about HFHG, visit www.habitatghana.org.
Types of construction for volunteers
A typical HFH Ghana house is made up of two bedrooms and a hall. It has an external latrine and washroom. Houses typically have a concrete foundation, walls made of sun-dried earthen blocks plastered with cement and aluminum roofs. Volunteers can expect to participate in all stages of construction.
Day 1, typically Saturday: Depart for Ghana.
Day 2, Sunday: Arrive in Accra; greeted at airport by HFH Ghana staff; transport to hotel; dinner and overnight in Accra.
Day 3, Monday: Breakfast at hotel; travel to host project site with HFH Ghana staff; welcome and orientation with local staff member; welcome dinner.
Day 4–7, Tuesday–Friday (typical work day): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. with lunch on site; free time after work to clean up; dinner; time for team activities.
Day 8, Saturday: Visit market, orphanage, etc.; possible half-day work on build site if desired; cultural experience in the community.
Day 9, Sunday: Visit local church; other cultural activities that vary based on host project location.
Day 10–13, Monday–Thursday: Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. with lunch on site; possible visit to local school for half-day if appropriate; free time after work to clean up; dinner; time for team activities; farewell celebration on Thursday.
Day 14, Friday: Travel to Accra; depart for home.
Teams traveling to Ghana have the option of staying in small hotels or in community stays, which could include schools, churches and completed Habitat houses. Depending on the host location, these facilities may have electricity, plumbing and running water. Mosquito nets are generally needed. Breakfast and dinner is provided where team members are lodged, and lunch is provided on site.
Trip cost includes: donation to the Habitat host program and Habitat for Humanity; meals, accommodations and transport (excluding trip participant air fare); medical emergency evacuation and trip cancellation insurance; some local cultural activities and team coordination and orientation materials. A portion of the team leader’s trip cost and estimated air fare is included in the trip budget. The trip cost does not include trip participant air fare, any pre- or post-trip R&R activities or visa and exit fees (not applicable for all destinations).
Motivated by the desire to combine service and international travel, Jim Douglas has been on six Global Village trips (Guyana, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Cambodia and Ghana). He spent a year as a Peace Corps volunteer in Somalia and has done service travel to other countries, including Botswana and Indonesia. Jim had such a rewarding and culturally-interesting trip to Ghana and cannot wait to return and lead his first GV trip there. He is excited to share what will certainly be a unique and rewarding experience.
For more information about the trip, contact Jim at GhanaGV10135@gmail.com.