Welcome Packet: What to expect during your time in Ghana
Volunteering with Medics Without Borders (MWB) is an all year round activity. We work with you, the volunteer, at your time and availability to travel to Ghana.
Your Duties: You will arrive at the Kotoka International Air-port in Accra. One of MWB Staff members will meet and greet you at the airport. He/she will take you by bus or in an MWB vehicle to Kumasi where you will reside and work at the MWB Wellness Center. During your time at the Wellness Center, you will get the chance to perform all kinds of patient care activities to include patient assessments, rehabilitation, patient education and public health promotion programs within our communities. If you are an EMT, you will get the chance to work with EMS personnel in the Kwabre District and also participate in trauma cases at the Trauma Center at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi. Sometimes MWB will allow you to work with other providers at nearby medical facilities to observe different procedures and practices in order to understand the intricate nature of the Ghanaian healthcare system. You will also get the chance to travel around the country to enjoy the culture and Mother Nature.
Travel Documents: You will need a tourist passport and apply for an entry visa before you can enter Ghana. MWB will give you an invitation letter which you will send to the nearest Ghana Embassy or High Commission with instructions on how to apply for an entry visa. You are required to have up-to-date vaccinations per WHO and your native country’s mandates before traveling to Ghana.
Mobile Phones: Ghanaians love their mobiles and use them frequently. There are several mobile phone providers in Ghana eg Vodafone, Glo, MTN, Tigo and Airtel. Ghana operates on a GSM network, so if you're coming from Europe and many other countries on the GSM network, your current mobile phone will work in Ghana. If you are coming from North America or some parts of Asia, you will probably have a CDMA phone which will not work here in Ghana. For a GSM phone, you need to check whether your phone is unlocked or not.
Bottom Line: Bring an unlocked GSM phone on your trip. You can buy a SIM card in Ghana in order to enjoy the mobile phone network here. Mobile internet is also available everywhere in the country.
Lodging: MWB tries the best to provide accommodation at affordable rates for our volunteers. Personal security is our number one priority.
Staying at a Hotel: You can stay at a hotel if you can afford. We work with low cost hotel operators. It costs between $15.00 and $45.00 /night. Other luxury hotels cost about $200/night.
Staying with a Family: You can also stay with a Ghanaian family if you prefer that too. Staying with a Ghana family comes with some benefits. You will always have company, learn how to cook local dishes and enjoy the culture from personal experience. You will not pay for lodging. However, we recommend you make a donation to the family help pay for utilities.
Food and Water: Food is cheap in Ghana. You will get access to fresh fruits such as oranges, banana, pawpaw, avocado, pineapple, cashew and watermel-on. You can eat at restaurants which are a big pricy or you can pre-pare own food with the help of the MWB staff or your host family. Whichever way you want, there is plenty for you to eat. There are bottled water sources you can enjoy. The bottled water is safe for drinking.
Culture: Ghanaians are very friendly people. They like foreigners and always put on smiling faces. They like music, shake hands, share jokes and very hospitable. They are very religious but not extremists. However, there are some things you should be aware of. Do not shake hands with your left hand. Respect the elderly. If you are a female, some men will "ask for your hand in marriage" even though they do not know you. You should tell them your mind and then walk away. Holding hands in public is not a taboo. Try to learn a few phrases of the local languages.
Packing List: Ghana is a tropical country with hot weather and tropical diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. You must complete all your vaccinations. Also get some anti malarial and diarrhea medications. Dress for the hot weather. Take flashlight, running shoes, passport, laptop, camera, cell phone, and essential personal hygiene products. There are ATM machines available to withdraw money. Take any-thing you will need on your trip to Ghana. Do not forget to ask MWB staff questions before you arrive in Ghana.
Voluntourism: Taking care of patients without a break can be a daunting task. MWB allows its volunteers to travel around the country to enjoy nature and take a break from patient care. You can visit natural parks, enjoy beautiful sceneries, tour slave forts and museums, attend local festivals and be yourself without the hustles in life. Volunteer and then be-come a tourist at the same time. You save money too.
Health Insurance for Foreign Travel: You will need your own health insurance before traveling to Ghana. You can research to find affordable health insurance from your home country for international travel.
Fundraising and Donations: MWB does not charge our volunteers any fees like other NGOs do. We rely on the generosity of well-wishers to support our missions. So, please donate to our cause. We encourage you to do fundraising to support our efforts in Ghana. We need your support.