One of IVHQ Ghana's logos is something along the lines of "the life you change might just be yours..." and it couldn't be anymore true. Although I stayed a very short time, it was honestly a point in my life that was filled with the most love, education, life lessons, and care in my life! As I look through my pictures, I see how genuinely happy I was - I didn't have to fake a smile for pictures because I naturally always had one on. The kids will forever have a place in my heart and I know I will one day go back. As it is a different country with a very different culture, it was no wonder that I would run into some situations where I felt a bit confused but never unsafe or uncomfortable.
I felt very safe under the provisions of IVHQ from start to end. We were picked up from the airport by welcoming staff members who genuinely seemed concerned about us. As an American, we love to be informed about every detail and every aspect of a situation, which you'll find is not the case in Ghanian culture, but the staff members consider our cultural differences and patiently answer all our questions. They try their best to keep us updated throughout the whole time. I stayed at the Scarlet Program located near Somanya. While staying there, I received a call once or twice a week from Benedict (program coordinator) asking if everything is ok along with a weekly visit. Of course there were some issues here and there that the volunteers and I were concerned about but they eventually did all they could to address it. For example, the fan in our room had been broken for while and although it took longer than expected to get it fixed - it was still fixed! To me, it seemed that a lot of frustrations were merely caused by cultural differences but that is obviously expected. It was nice to be somewhere where time wasn't a physical thing like it is here. So with that being said, if you're from a Western culture everything may seem to take longer than what you're used to. The volunteers and I called it "Ghana time". Just keep on reminding them and they'll surely get to it!
Overall, I had a great experience and would like to go back again. I may go in 2015 through IVHQ. It is very affordable, accommodating and provides a safety net while you're there. There are various people you can call if you need since the program provides so many contacts. I would definitely recommend it!