Ghana

Global Health

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West-Africa-Colour

Ghana

Global Health

West-Africa-Global-Health
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  • Get the big picture on rural and urban health issues and examine the underlying conditions that cause them.
  • Hike over to Togo and then up to the highest waterfall in West Africa, staying in the mountain village of Wli.
  • Walk the dusty red paths of Sandema and learn about healthcare on the ground in northern Ghana – where OG began seven years ago!
  • Confer with the National Control Program for HIV/AIDS and meet our partners at the largest teaching hospital in West Africa.
Program Dates

May 26 – July 4

July 14 – August 22

 

Program Fee

$2,850  

 

Community Contribution

$750  

 

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Sample Itinerary

*This itinerary is based on our previous experience with the region. Programs change every year based on the needs of our partners. This should give you a sense of what our program may look like.

Orientation – From Ghana to Togo
We arrive in Accra via Kotoka International Airport, where the group will come together! Stretching across the Atlantic coast, the capital city will serve as our first meeting point.

 

In the morning we’ll depart for Wli, a small town in the Volta Region of Ghana set against the beautiful backdrop of mountains and waterfalls. Our team will be able to ease into Ghanaian culture and the pace of life…all while getting to know each other! A local friend will prepare a taste of real Ghanaian cuisine for a literal warm welcome. Orientation wouldn’t be complete without a hike, so we will take a day to trek over to Togo, a neighbouring country much less developed than Ghana. Then we’ll head back to Wli to visit the largest waterfall in West Africa. Let the adventure begin!

A Holistic Approach to Global Health – Accra
The team will trek the mountains of the Volta region to the bustling city of Accra. Home to some of the largest open markets, streets, and stations, Accra makes for the perfect place to really get a feel for the hustle and bustle of Ghanaian urban life! We’ll be staying at our home-away-from-home in the centre of the city and visiting the National Control Program for HIV/AIDS, one of the largest teaching hospitals in the region. We’ll also pay a visit to our partners Old Fadama, the largest slum settlement in the country. We’ll get insider perspectives on health care, health issues, and struggles within Ghana – including statistics, insight into local economies, as well as the highs and lows of their own work.

Health Along the Gold Coast
Our team will take a beautiful and scenic ride south to Cape Coast – a place full of culture, heritage, and opportunity! Here we’ll work with HEPENS, a public health NGO that we first partnered with last year. Our team chose to explore a number of projects, including assisting in interviewing women for the Women’s Palm Oil Project, learning about the National Health Insurance Scheme Fund, and assisting public health talks between health professionals and youth in the area.

 

Outside of our work with HEPENS, the team has a chance to explore ancient slaves castles, relax on the beach, or learn to cook Ghanaian cuisine from our local friends!

The OG Scavenger Hunt – Kumasi
The journey north is epic, so we’ll stop over in Kumasi to stretch our legs and explore the country’s second-largest city. Our team will have the opportunity to visit and receive updates on OG’s current and past projects. Kumasi’s markets host the official OG Scavenger Hunt and the city serves a great spot to debrief as a team, discuss what we’ve seen so far, and prepare for the final leg of our program!

Global Health Education – Sandema
We will be living in the town of Sandema, where OG began back in 2007! Located in northern Ghana, Sandema is where our team will assist local and national NGOs with their initiatives. Some of these projects involve training staff at the Sandema District hospital, the Sandema Disabilities Centre, and Horizons Children Centre. There will also be several opportunities to branch out into many particular niches in the health field. Throughout this time, many of our alumni have found their true passion in health. Sandema holds a special place in the hearts of our teams with its variety of opportunities, relaxed vibe, group dinners, discussions under the stars, and so much more!

Independent Travel Time
A staple of all Operation Groundswell programs is Independent Travel Time (ITT). You can travel independently if you desire but everyone is urged to travel in pairs or small groups. During this time, you are not under the auspices of the organized program and are entirely responsible for yourself. Team members are given the emergency contact number of program leaders during ITT for any advice or safety concerns.

 

ITT is the ideal time for you to learn more about your specific interest, whether it’s by hitting up all of Ghana’s ten regions, cruising through the safaris of Mole National Park, or even revisiting your homestays and volunteer placements!

Disorientation – Princess Town
‘Disorientation’ is our chance to regroup, relax, debrief, and prepare for our return. We will meet at a community-run guesthouse housed in a former colonial slave castle in Princess Town, back on the Atlantic coast of Ghana. Set against pristine beaches, we will speak to our goals and accomplishments, ways to collaborate on future projects, and how to stay in touch after the program. Everyone will enjoy our last tastes of delicious local cuisine from our wonderful friend and guide, Joseph! This is a place most will never forget. This is a time for reflection, many laughs, chats, and late night hang out sessions. One of many highlights, and a perfect way to end the program!

ITT

Independent Travel Time is your opportunity to go out there and explore on your own terms!

  • Explore the tropical jungles and enormous waterfalls of the Volta region.
  • Visit French-speaking Togo or Benin for a relaxing beach experience.
  • Learn about Ghana’s tragic past at the Cape Coast slave castles.

Accommodations

With OG, you live like the locals.
Our time will be split into several styles of accommodation, from sharing local guest houses to dorm-style hostels. Immersing ourselves in various local communities, we’ll certainly feel the warmth from welcoming Ghanaian families. Pounding fufu, telling Anansi stories, and waking up with the sun can be expected. Although accommodation varies from place to place, everywhere we stay will be a safe and enjoyable place to lay your head!

Meet Your Program Leaders

SarindiOriginally from Sri Lanka, Sarindi grew up in the hustle and bustle of Shanghai, China, where she gained her thirst for adventure as she travelled all around Asia. In 2012, while at the University of Toronto, she found a way to combine her love of travel with her truest passion – Global Health – through the OG Ghana Global Health Trip. She hasn’t looked back since! This will be her second year leading the program. Back home she serves as the Co-Director of the University of Toronto International Health Program. She is also an avid indie concert go-er and wears a dinosaur costume at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Ghana

The Way We See It

Ghanaians have a saying: “nothing works but everything works out.” It should be their national motto. In the hectic tro-tro stations of Accra, men yell over each other in vans that weave through the market and spill onto the streets. Behind the castles of the ancient Gold Coast, strong ocean currents crash against colonial fortresses. These castles once housed thousands of slaves to be sent to the Americas and now serve as a backdrop while fishermen reel in huge nets from small hand-carved wooden canoes. Nearby is Kumasi, the capital and cultural heart of the Ashanti region. Walking through the market you will encounter Rastas, travellers, and meat slaughterers alongside traders from as far as Mali and Niger.

Sandema, a small town in northern Ghana, is a remarkable and memorable series of images, sounds, and smells. Dusty red paths meet the few roads that cross through town. Children are constantly popping out from behind trees and out of mud huts to better investigate the new smali smali (foreigner). To experience Sandema is to feel the wind pick up before the rush of a sudden rainstorm that washes away all your worries. You’ll smell bubbling palm oil, spicy soups, fried fish, and the soft sweetness of shea fruit just off the tree. This is the Ghana that we love and the Ghana that you will fall in love with.

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