So, as most of you know, I am not yet in Ghana by now as I thought I would be. I am not leaving until this Sunday, the 5th. I thought I would update anyway just to let everyone know what I'm up to and what exactly it is I'm going to be doing in Ghana.
I'm going to be going to Ghana to do my internship (field experience) which is a requirement of my degree in Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State. I'll be working with the social worker, Leo, at the Egyam Orphanage in Takoradi, Ghana. The orphanage supports the basic needs (food, shelter) of the children as well as their education, even sponsoring a few up to the university level. I will be there as a volunteer with and member of Mercy's Dream Ministries. I'll be "shadowing" Leo and also working alongside him to assess the welfare needs of the chidren who live at the orphanage as well as in the surrounding communities. I will also be learning how an NGO (Non-Governmetal Organization...meaning not governmentally funded or administered) works and is run on the ground level, which is the kind of work that I would like to do after graduating college.
As the volunteer/internship program at the orphanage and for Mercy's Dream Ministries is still in the basic stages (I will only be the second volunteer of my kind at the orphanage, and the first male) a lot of what exactly I will be doing is kind of an unknown. We will be kind of breaking new ground and hitting the ground running as we go. The challenge of this in itself is very exciting to me and I am so looking forward to working with Leo and Mercy's and combining what I have to offer with him and the people there.
The first challenge I have faced and first lesson learned so far is having all my stuff stolen from my vehicle in Altoona last week. Everything from my iPod which was plugged into the dashboard to my favorite backpack (which has been everywhere from Iraq to Europe to Nicaragua with me and which contained my laptop and school work as well as, most importantly, my passport and visa) to several bags from Walmart which contained basic stuff like underwear, hand sanitizer, and razors...and a small pillow that I bought to use there at the suggestion of the last volunteer. Needless to say I was pretty upset...at the the thief and myself.
I got my first real experience dealing with the police to get my stuff back, the state department and a passport agency office (which is its own small, international circus - good times) to get a new passport ASAP, and a foreign embassy to get my new visa. I have a feeling this will only be the beginning of a life spent dealing with such places so after it was all said and done I was greatful for the little bit of insight gained in maneuvering with these kinds of organizations.
So now, once again, I will be leaving in a few days, for real this time, and I am more anxious and excited than ever to do so!
Also, any comments or questions anyone has are more than welcome...I would like to have a little feedback, especially once I'm in country!