04 Jul Lessons Learned on Global Health
Blog by: Maghen Quadrini, West Africa Global Health volunteer
Six weeks ago, ten strangers met in Accra, Ghana and bonded over a delicious local dinner of chicken and rice. We had no idea what a tro tro was or how hot the capital city could get. We didn’t know how to interact with locals or even buy dinner without some help from our trip leaders. It began as a serious learning process and immersion in culture and it’s hard to believe that the trip has gone by so quickly.
We bid our final farewells and had our “disorientation” along the beautiful, secluded beaches of Princesstown where we stayed in a historical castle. We were able to reflect on our experiences–both good and bad–and reminisce of the amazing adventures we shared. Disorientation gave us the opportunity to talk about what we all did during our independent travel time as well. Some of us took to Mole Park to see elephants and other wildlife; others traveled the coastal beaches of Ghana and enjoyed relaxing in a hammock by the seaside. Some of us also took time to go back to former placements and establish greater connections with the people and organizations we encountered. Collectively, it was a positive experience and rewarding to have learned the culture and area well enough to travel independently and within small groups.
Disorientation was an important time to talk about our global health program and share our final conclusions on the expectations we had six weeks ago. The people we were able to meet and places we traveled to all brought forward different aspects related to global health that we were able to critically assess. The passion we have as a group for sustainable health development was evident in these discussions, especially when it came to distributing our allocated fundraising money. We decided to donate money to projects that met our standard of sustainability such as Ghana Medical Help, Horizons Children Centre, and G-Roots. The fundraising process was a great way for us to collaborate ideas for funding allocation and also reflect back on all the lessons we learned during our placements.
As a program, Operation Groundswell taught us how to backpack with a purpose and a willingness to learn and step outside our comfort zones. We left Princesstown sad at the goodbye that we knew was soon approaching, but fulfilled with contentment and a tender realization that we all had an incredible adventure together.
Now we part with our skin a little darker and our hearts humbled by the many wonderful experiences Ghana gave us. We’re all super excited for the next parts of our lives and won’t forget the role OG had in laying some of the ground work for us…