Home Stay in Ghana
For most volunteers, the home stay is one of the biggest highlights of their visit. The best way to experience Ghana is to stay with local people, share their lives and their food, and be part of the family. Family members will help you learn new and unfamiliar tasks, such as washing your clothes by hand. Children will be happy to show you around, teach you some of the local language, and may even give you lessons on how to eat the local foods.
Living conditions vary considerably, depending on whether you will be staying in the city or in a village. Most host families in the city have running water, but in the villages you will likely use pit toilets and bucket showers. All host families have electricity, but power failures are frequent in Ghana. Running water (where available) is not always reliable either. You will have a separate bedroom, which you may have to share with other volunteers. It is a good idea to bring a mosquito net with you.
In some cases, especially during the summer months, you may be living more independently in a house where there is no family, but there will be staff members to cook for you and give you any help you need.
Food: Host families will provide breakfast and dinner. Breakfast is usually bread and eggs, or porridge. Dinners are local food, often consisting of rice, yam or plantain with a variety of stews. Fish is often eaten, with chicken, beef and goat being served less often. Ghanaian food can be very spicy but most host families have experience cooking for foreign volunteers, and can modify the food to your tastes and specific needs.
Ghanaian families are often large and extended. Families may live in compounds, with neighbours being almost like part of the family. People usually refer to aunts and uncles as “mother” or “father”, and cousins are often called brothers or sisters. The open-ended nature of traditional families can be confusing at first, but also makes it very easy for visitors to feel welcome.
Most of the families have experience with volunteers and will give you all the advice and support you need to feel comfortable. Some family members will speak English. If you have any problems or you are not sure how to behave or what to do, feel free to ask them. Light for Children staff will stay in touch with you, and you can always call them if there is a problem.