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Jamila I. - July & August 2017 - The Netherlands
UNiTED Health Projects & HardtHaven Children’s Home

Getting out of the airplane in Ghana makes you walk into another world, not only another continent, country or culture. It’s all about ‘back to basic’ and ‘back in time’.

Off course I heard these stereotype descriptions before and saw documentaries on television about developing countries, but to experience it in real is much more intense.

As a young medical doctor, I have been able to do various medical related activities. Despite of all my mental preparations in advance, I was still shocked about the healthcare facilities. I experienced the healthcare in St. Patrick Hospital in Kpando, but also gave workshops to pregnant women in Dafor Tornu and did consulting hours in a village nearby Kpando. It is incredible how big the differences are in all of these settings, compared to our safe and well-conditioned environment in Europe. Read more.

Fenne F. - July & August 2017 – The Netherlands

UNiTED Health Projects & HardtHaven Children’s Home

Two months of being a Ghanaian. Being part yovo, part ameiboh. Enjoying the simple life, the music, (some of) the food, the sun (and the rain), the wonderful locals, the lovely (and totally crazy) volunteers, my patiënts, and most of all: the amazingly sweet and energetic kids from the Hardthaven Children's Home.
“Aunty Fenne” these words mark my heart, forever. Hands on my eyes, fingers tickling me, or arms that wrap around me from behind. Their ways of welcoming me. These little kids, still small enough to pick up and carry on your hip. Their lean, strong bodies as they’re playing football, a match lasting for days if they were allowed to. The kids who taught me all about hardship and friendship, about care and independence, and about love and vulnerability.
These kids who got me through (a lot of) sickness. Who made me laugh, and who I cracked up while learning Ewe. The smell of poop, smoke and pollution, the non-running toilets, sinks and showers, and the 3kg I lost, were the price I had to pay. Because these people stole my heart. All of it. And I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Roos J. - 2017 – The Netherlands

UNiTED Research

Last year I did my master internship at UNiTED Projects in Ghana. My research focused on the traditional maternal health practices of the women on Dwarf Island, located in Lake Volta. I got to work and live between the community members on the island, which was an amazing experience. During my study I heard a lot of maternal health problems of these women, and to be able to contribute a little on increasing their health was a great feeling. Furthermore, I loved to be part of the totally different culture, both on Dwarf Island as in Kpando. 

Chris S. – 2014, 2015 & 2016 – U.S.A.

Island health research & W.A.S.H.

My first month in Kpando with the United Projects Organization was a great experience of community collaboration, research, and personal growth.  I worked on an ongoing project on the islands of Lake Volta. I had the opportunity to be welcomed into over 200 homes in the community as if I were family, while I conducted interviews for the beginning of a large scale water project.  The work is meaningful and serves a solid purpose to assist the community to help themselves. I will return December 2014 for 5 weeks to help implement the plan we have been working on to assist the community with Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene issues on the islands.  I hope to continue working on this project for the next couple of years to see it through to self-sustainability with the collaboration of the United Projects Organization.  I found the United staff to be very accommodating and capable in all that they seek to accomplish.  I am privileged and honored to work with this organization as they continue to grow and spread a positive influence over an ever growing community.  I especially appreciate their desire to have the volunteers pick their own activities and research projects. Expect to see friendliness everywhere you go.  Don’t forget to bargain anywhere you shop its part of the experience.  Enjoy and appreciate all of your fellow volunteers, you are all there for the same reason, and its also part of the experience.  HAVE FUN!

Woltering family – 2014, 2015 & 2016 – The Netherlands

UNiTED Projects & HardtHaven Children’s Home

Since years and years my passion for Africa keeps pulling me to this continent. Ten years ago I started at the Southern part of Africa (South Africa, Tanzania and Kenia), especially to see the wild live. Over the years I did a lot of safari tours and fell in love with the African nature, animals and people. My intention in the future is to be a volunteer for a longer period, anywhere in Africa. In may of 2014, together with my family (husband and 13 years old daughter), I went to Kpando in Ghana. For a week we’ve been in Hardthaven Childrens Home and met the kids and aunties who do such a fantastic work. Unless the short period of time, we had a wonderful stay. Raising the children, be a part of their lives for a little while ment a lot for us. We played together, did homework and had some nice walks to the mango tree. We are really impressed by the passion of Jessy and Edem. The way they follow their heart and really contribute, not only for these children but also with projects for the whole community, is amazing and a wonderful experience. Read more.

Ilse V. – 2012 – The Netherlands

UNiTED Research

Disability is not inability, that is how the research, which was conducted in 2012, was called. Together with two other students from the VU University at Amsterdam I worked together with the staff of UNiTED Projects, mainly with Edem and Jessy.  Is has been a great experience to work, live and recreate in Kpando, especially because it meets all the aspects of an internship in the context of my study international public health. I am very thankful that I got the chance of conducting a research at UNiTED projects. I experienced what is to live and work in a developing country and I discovered that this was the work that I have always dreamed of! During the period I was in Kpando, I have met the Ghanaian culture, foods and habits. The nature of Volta Region is beautiful, especially the Wli Falls and Mount Afadjato (see the picture). What stays with me is that, despite all the adversity Ghanaian people face, they are always friendly and welcome you with a bright smile!

Tina T. – 2014 & 2015 – Denmark

HardtHaven Children’s Home

I would like to share a little - but fun memory from my time in Kpando. This little story is from my last week in Kpando, where all the children, the sisters and all the volunteers went to Accra in two days on a little vacation.

It was the first time out of Kpando for many of the children, so many of them had a lot of “first-time-experiences”, which gave a lot of smiles and amazement. One experience, where I couldn’t stop smile, was at the last day in Accra, where we went to Accra Shopping Mall. I had among others the responsibility for Kojo, so when he had to pee, I took him in my hand and we went to the toilet in the shopping mall. The toilet in this mall isn’t like at the children’s home. It was not like anything Kojo had seen before. He knew the toilet, but not how to flush it. Read more. 

Sidsel M. – 2012 & 2014 – Denmark

HardtHaven Children’s Home

Auntie Sidsel, Auntie Sidsel!” That is what all the children run to the gate to say when I came back to HardtHaven for the second time. This time I came during summer. We were many volunteers – sometimes too many, but the amount of volunteers also made it possible for us to do different things with the children; The HardtHaven Olympics were held, and a sponsored trip to Accra was arranged. When I go through my mental pictures of my trips to HardtHaven, many different memories come to my mind. Especially the children’s physical, mental, and educational development from autumn 2012 until summer 2014 is huge! An example is Ruby. Ruby is a mental disabled girl. The first year I was in Kpando, Ruby was a sponsored child. I worked with her every morning. We were singing, playing, painting, and reading in an effort to make Ruby speak and understand English. Read more. 

Katrine T. - every year since 2012 – Denmark

UNiTED Health Projects & HardtHaven Children’s Home

Women carrying bundles on their heads and babies on their backs, colourful vibrant clothing, local markets,and dirt roads – yes, it looks just as you imagine! I must admit that arriving in Ghana was a bit of a shock. It was my first time in Africa, and Ghana was not just simply another country but rather seemed as if it were another planet – or that’s how I felt at that time. I do admit that it took me a few days to get used to everything – the change in culture and lifestyle, but once I did I started to like it a lot! I was able to work on multiple projects during my time in Kpando, and what I enjoyed the most was my experience and interaction with the Ghanaian culture and people. At some pointsin fact I almost felt Ghanaian – I simply held a different skin colour. I find it very hard to tell my greatest experience, and its’ also difficult to say the exact reason why Kpando is so wonderful, but I do promise you, it is! Even though it’s a bit of a cliché,I learned a lot about myself during my stay. Read more.

Jacinta A. – 2010 – The Netherlands

UNiTED Research

I traveled to Accra at the end of February 2012. Soon after arriving there I continued the journey to the Volta Region. When I arrived at HardtHaven I was overwhelmed by all children who are curious and welcoming to the new visitor. I was staying in a small apartment with electricity in the room and running water on the compound; this was a lot less back to basic then when I stayed in Uganda and Kenya. As my aim was to conduct a health research internship, I wanted to start as soon as possible. The warm weather and the laid back culture, forced me to take it easy and to live by the day. I had both a Dutch and a Ghanaian supervisor which was very helpful. I was the first intern of UNiTED and I received good support and assistance during my research implementation and adjustment to the local culture.I was taught about local habits, traditions and the local kitchen. A special rite is the funeral rite. Read more.

Jamie H. – 2013 – United States of America

HardtHaven Children’s Home

To this very day, I can see the smiles and feel the love and caring that surrounds HardtHaven Children’s Home. I volunteered with United in December of 2013. I still want to go back because of the wonderful experiences I had and the many, many things that I learned there. I am a teacher and volunteered to help with the Children’s Home.  I spent time reviewing educational plans and assessing reading level of the children who reside there. I spoke with teachers and updated records to track the children’s growth in school. Aside from the professional work that I did, I played with the children and spent time with them, getting to know their generous natures and joyful spirits. The time I spent there was amazing. The support I received from Edem and Jessy and the staff at UNiTED was tremendously helpful as I adjusted to Kpando and Ghana. United is working to take care of Kpando and its children, its community and can use any and all help.  

Marion L. – 2014 & 2015 – France

UNiTED Health Education, Social Map & HardtHaven Children’s Home

I volunteered with UNiTED in Summer 2014 for two months. I lived in the children’s home. My time was divided between the mornings when I would work on a specific project, and the afternoons during which I did tutoring to help out the kids for homework and exams, like most other volunteers. The day would start around 7. In the mornings, I chose to work on the social map project. A social map is a map that gathers and displays information of all the organizations and institutions that exist in a region and their location. Concretely, I biked around in surrounding villages to detect and record the different organizations existing. Afterwards, I would go in for an interview with the director, asking for instance whether they lacked materials and/or funds, or whether they would need volunteers to help them out. Read more. 

Nathalie S. – 2013-2014 – Belgium

UNiTED Management

I would like to share my experience with you. This way, I hope to inspire you. I was in Ghana for the first time for a holiday in 2012. The holiday was called ‘Ghana Roots’. Being in between Ghanaians, I fell in love with the country and its people. My second experience was the year (April 2013-2014) I lived in Kpando and volunteered for UNiTED Projects and HardtHaven. Consequently, Ghana became my second home. I am living back in Belgium now and there is no single day I don’t think about Ghana since I left. The best thing that has happened to me so far is that Jessy and Edem have let me know in March 2013 that I could come to Kpando and that they trusted me into their team. I am sure you are a little curious about my background? Well, I am a bioscience engineer with a PhD in pharmacy. Many of the volunteers didn’t understand what I was doing there. I understood more with every passing day. Ghana and its marvelous hospitality felt like coming home. Read more.

Serena B. – 2017 – The Netherlands

UNiTED Research

Last year I did my master internship at UNiTED Projects in Ghana. My research focused on the I came to Kpando, Ghana to conduct scientific research for my graduation project. UNiTED Projects facilitated this research project, in collaboration with Ghana Health Service. From the moment I arrived in Ghana, it was one big adventure. I had a huge culture shock the first week, but I'm so glad I have experienced the culture from the inside. After four months of living, working and traveling in Ghana and among the Ghanaian communities, I can say I have really got to know the Ghanaian culture. I made a lot of great friends through UNiTED Projects, both European and Ghanaian, and I met so many nice people. For my research project I traveled to one of Ghana's most remote islands on Lake Volta together with two of my fellow students.On the island, I interviewed mothers, fathers and community health nurses with the help of a translator in order to study the role of husbands in maternal health. Read more.


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