Ghana Sports Placements, Introduction Last updated on 19/05/11 Wessoe! Thank you for choosing a Madventurer placement in Ghana. These Trip Notes are designed to give you an overview of the programme and help you to prepare in advance for your trip. If you have any questions, or just want to talk to us about your trip, please feel free to give us a call or email at any time and speak to one of our team, Email: email@example.com Tel: 0845 121 1996 (local rate call from a UK landline) Note - To find out the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, look at: www.fco.gov.uk/travel Itinerary Disclaimer The itinerary attached is correct at time of printing. Please note our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. Our brochure is usually released in November each year. As such the information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. Contents Madventurer Sport projects in The Role of crew Ghana Equipment Coaching Money Teaching Costs Orphanage/drop-in centre Payment The MAD Foundation Communication Accommodation Security Weekends Cultural sensitivity Arrival Procedure Food Departure Procedure Language Emergency Contact Details Country Guidebooks Flights After your project-The Mad Tribe Visas The Mad Blog Insurance Frequently asked questions Madventurer Sports Projects in Ghana Please note this itinerary is given as a guide only and is subject to change. Many factors need to be taken into consideration when organising the final itinerary including political considerations, road and weather conditions, social or economical unrest and local or national government intervention or changes. This may mean a change of village and project or placement location at short notice etc. Ghana is where Madventurer was founded by Chief Torgbui Mottey I of the Shia Traditional Area (aka John Lawler), after he spent eight months as a volunteer in the village of Shia. As a result of this, Madventurer has very strong links with Ghana, and over the past 10 years we have undertaken dozens of placements in the country’s Volta Region, as well as organising projects for our volunteers in the regional capital. The Role of Sport across the World Sport is far more than a luxury or a form of entertainment. Access to and participation in sport is a human right and essential for individuals of all ages to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Sport – from play and physical activity to organised competitive sport – has an important role in all societies. Sport is also crucial to a child’s development. It teaches core values such as cooperation and respect, improves health and reduces the likelihood of disease. As an educational tool, sport is unique in its appeal. As part of any education programme, sport can provide a platform to deliver many powerful messages whether implicitly through the benefits of teamwork, discipline and cooperation or a short talk at half time about the benefits of HIV awareness which will receive more attention than a 20 minute presentation in a crowded classroom. From indigenous sports to global sporting events, sport has an incredible ability to excite people and is a universal language with a simple message that can unite people around the world. Sport can motivate us and make us feel good; in schools in developing countries the opportunity to play sport is a key factor in increasing attendance and keeping children interested in school, who might otherwise be drawn to a life on the street. Sport plays a role in communities large and small. From informal recreational matches and contests, to organised sports leagues and federations, people participate: they play, coach, train, and support their favourite athletes and teams. Where opportunities for recreational sport and play are absent, individuals and entire communities are often acutely aware of what they are missing. Sport can contribute to economic and social development, improving health and personal growth in people of all ages - particularly those of young people. Sport- related activities can generate employment and economic activity at many levels. Sport can also help build a culture of peace and tolerance by bringing people together on common ground, crossing national and other boundaries to promote understanding and mutual respect. Many of the core values inherent in sport are compatible with the principles necessary for development across the world, such as fair play, cooperation, sharing and respect. The life skills learned through sport help empower individuals and enhance psychosocial well being, such as increased resilience, self-esteem and connections with others. These are beneficial to people of all ages but especially vital to the healthy development of young people. Ghanaians have a natural passion and ability for sports and the country is football mad in particular. Yet like many developing countries, Ghana lacks a lot of the necessary infrastructure, funding and expertise to provide adequate sport coaching, equipment and facilities for its people. Whilst football is the dominant sport, there is an increasing amount of choice for young sports men and women as other sports such as netball, volleyball, basketball and hockey extend their popularity rapidly. Women’s sport is growing particularly fast with netball being Ghana’s most played women’s game and volleyball becoming ever more popular. Women’s football has gained a higher profile and is played by many more women than was once the case as it was traditionally seen as a men only sport, but it is still early days and we encourage as many female football coaches to join us in Ghana to act as role models. Madventurer coaches can bring so much in terms of playing and coaching experience to the programme in Ghana. Whether you’ve got coaching qualifications and played to a high level or just have lots of a keen interest in learning more you will have something to offer. The crucial requirement is energy and enthusiasm to get stuck in and contribute something worthwhile to children who may never have been coached in some of these sports before. A lot of our coaching is focussed on youth development at school level. We have been responsible for supporting not only PE lessons and sports coaching, but also getting children involved in sports they may never have seen or played before. Together with you, our Crew and our sports partners in Ghana we will try to ensure that your skills and talents are put to best use. Our Crew will discuss with you what areas you want to focus on and what skills you personally want to develop. Sport in Ghana Dates of Term (please note last minutes changes can be made during the year according to the schools timetables) The schools will be on holiday for around 4 weeks during May/April, then again in August for around 6 weeks. Please note that during the school holidays we will endeavour to run some bespoke coaching classes. When you are not coaching you may also take part in other projects that we operate in the area such as spending time helping out at the orphanage, doing some teaching at the local school, or shadowing doctors round the hospitals. (If you would like to combine this with a Medic placement we would need a C.V. and Covering Letter 4 weeks before your departure). Please note that a few occasions on public holidays that all schools will be closed, for example Independence Day on 6th March, and that the school may decide at short notice to extend or reduce these term dates, or change them. Football Coaching Placement Madventurer first started supporting St Cecilia School in Ho back in 2005 and we have been assisting in coaching sports within the PE lessons. In 2006 we helped Daniel, the sports master, set up a team in Ho called Dynamo FC in three divisions (under 12s, under 14s and under 17s). The development of Sport in Ho is still a priority of Mad and the plan is now to develop a senior team of those that have the ability and are aged 17 and are under 25 over to take part in competitive football, which will start in division 3 within the Ghanaian system. With the help of St Cecilia School, we hope to support Daniel to bring his dream of having a Dynamo FC reach the premiership within Ghana. To enable this we aim to start a football academy within St Cecilia and develop it over the next few years. There are 130 players at Dynamo FC and they train nearly every day from Monday to Friday from 4pm until sunset and on Saturdays which are the competitive matches. Although St Cecelia will be a base we also aim to expand the coaching opportunities to other schools in Ho and within the Volta Region. Outside of PE lessons will be when most coaching will take place in the afternoons. You may coach 2-3 sessions per week depending on the schools and clubs timetables and resources. It is recommended that you take some football kit with you to donate directly to the school. Useful items include cones, footballs, football boots etc but try and get these donated to you by local schools at home who may have some used kit bags that they are willing to give you if they are replacing their own supplies. Please check your luggage allowance before you fly. There are usually around 25 students in each PE lesson with PE being played on Thursdays and Fridays in the Primary school’s timetable with 3 sessions of 70 minutes on each day, but this does vary greatly from school to school. At the Junior school the sessions are shorter at 35 minutes due to restrictions on the timetable from other lessons. Netball Coaching (Part-time) St Cecilia’s is one of the largest schools that we support in Ho. You can help to coach the P.E. lessons at this school 1-2 sessions per week depending on the schools timetable and resources. Netball is not played everyday you should combine coaching with another activity such as teaching or helping out at the orphanage centre. You maybe able to help organise general games at the orphanage some afternoons, please chat to your overseas crew if you wish to organise this. As well as Madventurer helping to get football teams up and running in the Volta Region to enable Sport to be used as a tool for development, it is equally important that ‘newer’ sports are introduced and maintained. Whilst Ho does not itself have a netball team, or teams for these other requested sports, the girls at St Celicia’s are very passionate about the netball and volleyball in particular and their age range varies from 10 to 16 years. Try and bring with you any used sports equipment that you or team back home may have spare as it is difficult to buy and access equipment and training items whilst in Ghana. Ask your local town, school or college team to donate a kit bag to you. Items such as bibs, hoops and nets, balls, whistles, hockey sticks etc are all sought after and if you try and dedicate half your luggage space for these items then it will also leave you with plenty of space in your luggage for cheap gift items that you can pick up in Ghana for your sponsors who may have given you any equipment. For all sports it is common that between one to two mad coaches will partake in activities at any one time at the school (depending on departure month), and you will all be staying at the Mad House. The most popular girls’ games in Ghana; netball and volleyball are played in every school and communities in the Volta Region. Netball is played in a very much Ghanaian style; low tempo, with a minor enforcement of the rules so be prepared for players to get away with ‘stepping’ and other minor infringements. Enthusiasm for Netball in particular is evident in most schools that we coach at, most girls will insist on playing it over any other game, however it is an asset for our venturers to be hard task masters regarding drills and practices, as the girls will try to push for a game over a lesson every time. Coaches can expect to coach at both primary and junior levels. Hockey is a lesser played sport in Ghana compared to Volleyball and Netball, which are easily the most popular girls games respectively; this is largely due to the fact that it is expensive for a school to buy hockey equipment. Coaches may experience difficulties convincing Ghanaian boys that hockey is a ‘man’s game’, however our experience is that once we get kids playing they really enjoy it due to the fact that the skills required are so different to sports that they regularly play. Our aim is to try and introduce hockey coaches to Ho as for most kids this will be their first experience of the game as this region is much more deprived than the areas surrounding Accra. Schools in Ghana The Ghana Education Service (Ministry of Education) is the government department responsible for the education system in Ghana. Children start school in Ghana at the age of six. They must complete 6 years at primary school, followed by 3 years at junior secondary school. It is compulsory and free for all children to complete these first 9 years of basic education. Senior secondary school is for students aged between 16 and 18 and lasts 3 years. It is not compulsory and students must pay fees to attend. Following successful completion of the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, they are eligible to enrol in higher (tertiary) education. Ghana has five Universities, in addition to numerous polytechnics and training colleges. The National Curriculum for Primary Education includes the following subjects and is delivered in English: mathematics, science, social studies, cultural studies, Ghanaian languages, English, agriculture, life skills and PE. The curriculum for junior secondary education includes vocational skills, technical skills/drawing, integrated science and French (optional), in addition to the subjects mentioned above. Despite progress made in education following the introduction by the government of the Education Reform Programme in 1987, and the implementation of FCUBE (Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education) between 1996-2005, under-funding, lack of resources, teacher shortages and strikes are just some of the factors which inhibit the delivery of a comprehensive Education System. Teaching placement (can be combined with a sports placement) You can combine coaching with teaching English to children in a kindergarden, primary or junior school. We work in a few different schools including the Sokode RC Kindergarden and primary school and the Prince Charles Jubilee International School (attached orphanage). Many of the children will be from poor rural backgrounds so they will have grown up speaking their local tribal dialect and little English. English is officially the national language of Ghana so this instantly puts these children at a disadvantage, particularly when they get older as all their lessons will be taught in English. Your role will be to work with the teachers as a language assistant, and teacher helping the children to learn to speak basic conversational English. The age of the children means that lessons will be short and they will most likely break the classes into small groups for you to teach. Or if you feel confident to lead the class then please put your requests forward to the school representative. The Ghanaian dialect is often difficult to understand so they will also be keen for you to help teach spoken English, pronunciation, silent letters etc. Schools here are also keen to have people who want to help teach art, music and drama. This will depend on the school resources and timetables. Other roles - The last week of each term is normally for exams, with the previous week focussing on revision – during both these weeks at the end of each term volunteers are asked to help with administrative tasks at the school such as completing records, marking exams, helping with continuous assessments, and even giving a helping hand in the ‘weeding’ and upkeep of the compound. Sport in PE lessons is a favourite at the school on Friday mornings with Football, Netball and Volleyball the most popular. Athletics is also popular in the 100m and field and track events. Girls Football is also becoming increasingly popular with Ghana’s National Team, the ‘Black Queens’ inspiring many young women. What to take – Teaching placement specific School Needs: As well as sports equipment (a set of Jerseys - any colour, Balls etc) the school is looking for pens, books, learning books for younger children (same for Kindergarden) that covers things like ABCs alphabet cards or numbers, story books, teaching aids like posters or cards, picture or text books, teaching games or anything educational. The children are always keen to learn as much about our volunteers as they can. They always really enjoy hearing about where they live, family, friends, pets, local areas/landmarks, football or sports clubs, schools, universities etc. Travel brochures: These are great for lessons on climate, geography or even conversation practise and role playing (have the children acting as travel agent and customer!) Sports magazines: These are great for sports and general interest. Try to bring a selection with a variety of sports. The children will be particularly keen to learn about sports that they don't have such as Rugby. You might also like to bring out something as rewards. Brightly coloured pencils, rubbers and pencil sharpeners are great 'bribes' for good work. Stickers are also a great resource for rewarding particularly good work. Try not to bring too much - have your baggage allowance in mind! You might find that most art materials are available locally much cheaper. Teaching posters, wall charts, any teaching aids, text books anything that you think the kids would learn from. Chalk is used for most lessons when teaching on a black board so remember to pack a box or two if you have room. Save Widows and Orphans Development Centre (Orphanage placement) According to figures released by UNICEF the number of orphans in Ghana stands at over one million, with over a quarter of these orphaned due to AIDS. Ghana’s welfare system has been overwhelmed with the number of orphans in Ghana quadrupling in the last 3 years and many local NGO’s have been established and International Aid Agencies have stepped in to assist in the care and support of these children. The HIV and AIDS pandemic has resulted in many of the customary caregivers in the event of a parent dying, such as Aunts and Grandmothers, also succumbing to the disease. In addition to children orphaned by HIV and AIDS, many children loose their parents from illness such as Malaria and Typhoid, while others are abandoned as their parents are simply too poor or too young to care for them. Teenage pregnancy is a huge problem in many rural areas, where access to contraception and sex education is limited. Also putting a strain on the rudimentary social welfare system is the number of street children in Ghana’s urban centres, with over 20,000 street children living in Accra alone. While not necessarily orphans, these children are without the support and care of parents. Increased divorce rates, peer influence and child abuse are some of the major factors attributed to the rapid rise in the number of children living on the streets of the city. Orphanage Placement information We work in the Save Widows and Orphans Development Centre (SWODC) a few days a week, normally a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. The children go to the nearby school in the morning from 8am -1.30pm (Kindergarden) 8am – 1.30pm all others. On Wednesday and Friday the children are encouraged to stay with their extended families. The SWODC is a drop-in centre for orphans, foster kids, and local children in the area. It’s not a typical Orphanage or residential, it is used as a centre not only to re-home and foster orphaned children but also to support underprivileged children in the area. Attached to the centre is a school called the Prince Charles Jubilee International School. The centre is located in a town called Sokode-Gbogame. This is about a 10 minute taxi from our Madventurer house in Ho. Many of the children that visit the centre are from the rural agricultural communities around Ho and its surrounding areas. HIV and AIDS have had an impact on the area but so have economic conditions. Many of the farming families exist on a subsistence basis, trading what surplus they have in local markets. However, some are having difficulty supporting their children and so they send them to centre so that they can be educated. The centre usually has around 15-30 little ones that visit each day but only a handful of dedicated staff. This number can vary month to month. This means that the staff do not always have time to spend time with, or pay attention to, individual children. This is something that you can help with very easily. This may involve playing games, sports and helping them develop interests, school lessons or homework. You can help in the school teaching mainly English. You might start an art club, get them interested in nature, put on a play or simply run around chasing a ball. Most of the kids simply want someone to be their friend and spend some quality time with them. You will be surprised at how eager they are to learn and how much they actually love school. Part of your role will be to help teach the kids English and you can do this in pairs. You can find a Teaching Pack on our website which will hopefully give you a few ideas. Most of the kids will come from rural communities and their English is often very poor. As it is the official language of Ghana, it is vitally important to their future education and employment prospects that they develop the appropriate language skills. The children are aged between 2 and 16 years old and any donation of toys, puzzles, books with pictures that tell stories, crayons, colouring books, teaching aids, colouring pens or pencils, clothes, sports equipment etc. will be appreciated. We often find that most orphanages or drop-in centres we work in have very little resources, and materials they have (or are donated) are often divided up amongst neighbouring orphanages and foster homes by local NGO’s. We hope to build a strong relationship with the centre/staff and children over the coming years and encourage our volunteers to revisit should they get the chance. Other Orphanages We also work in a few surrounding orphanages as well which are a little further a field (up to 1-2 hours drive in a tro-tro). Your crew can work out a timetable that best suits your needs/requests and other volunteers travelling at the same time. There maybe an opportunity to stay overnight at these orphanage so just talk to your crew if you are keen to visit the sites. The children especially love to hear about our volunteers and how their lives are different from their own. They will ask you lots of questions on where you live, family, friends, where you went to school/uni, types of English food, football clubs etc. They really enjoy seeing pictures, hearing stories of life in your country and how it is different from theirs. Please feel free to bring along any items that you think they might enjoy (eg map of your hometown, pictures of you school, family, friends, pets, local landmarks/history etc). Our volunteers always mention that this is a highlight of their placement chatting to the children and sharing stories. Day to day in the centre (SWODC) The children will go to school during the day so your help will be needed in the afternoons when they get home. You can also go along to the school with them and join in the day to day activities, maybe even try your hand at teaching. We have Teaching Packs on our website so just download the details if you need them. During the school holidays the children will remain in the centre on specified days. We also find that some children who have lost their parents/family will come along to the orphanage to join in the activities as well. Some will stay with family friends but they are still welcome at the orphanage to spend some quality time with our volunteers. Working hours will normally be around 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday, and are subject to ‘Ghana time’. The hours may change during school or public holidays, exam periods etc. What to take • Brightly coloured pencils, erasers, colouring books, pens, text books, books with pictures, teaching aids, maps, posters, puzzles, toys, crafts, etc (to use as rewards for good work) • Pictures or tourist information from home (this is a favourite) • Teaching materials you think you might need (keep in mind baggage restrictions and that you can probably get paints, paper, card, chalk etc much cheaper in Ghana) Accommodation (Madventurer house in Ho) During your time with us in Ghana, you will be staying in our Madventurer house in Ho. Our overseas crew leaders in Ho, will show you how to get to the placement site from the accommodation as part of your induction. The house is furnished to a reasonable level which is good by local standards but may not quite be what you are used to at home. Four to six people share a room so accommodation will be 'hostel' style dorms with girls in one room and boys in the other. We have a cook who prepares all the food during the working week and looks after the house for us. The Madventurer house (or Mad House as we like to call it) is in a fairly quiet residential part of town but still within a short distance of the main streets with the markets stalls, drinking ‘spots’ and communication points. It is a four bedroom self- contained house with a large common room area for everyone to relax in and to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Ghanaian life. Three bedrooms are used by volunteers and one is been used by the crew leader who looks after the day to day welfare of volunteers. The house is not far from the centre of Ho, you only have to walk 200m to grab a taxi to any where in Ho. The most popular and most famous hotel in Ho is the Freedom Hotel and is a 5 minute taxi ride from the house. We have a cook that travels into the house during the week to prepare Ghanaian dishes that you will soon become accustomed to, but if you do need to sample some more familiar western delights such as ‘chippies’ then the Freedom Hotel and other restaurants can cook you up a taste of home. Volunteers who have stayed at the Mad House have come up with a code of conduct for looking after it as you will be volunteering and living with others and it is important to respect each others personal space and to keep the house and its facilities in good working order. The house is only for our Madventurer’s to use, and guests and friends must wait in the outside meeting area. 1. The last person to get their head down must make sure that he or she locks the main entrance door to the hallway. The house is always locked at night. 2. Keep the place tidy and put rubbish in the bin as communal areas in particular can get really messy quickly. 3. Wash plates after each meal if you are responsible to do so – a rota system is usually set up to help with the daily chores ;-) 4. You may be asked to help the cook sometimes in the kitchen – this is great if you want to learn how to cook Ghanaian dishes. 5. It is your responsibility to report any breakages, damages or missing item to your crew leader. If you break something you will be responsible for replacing it. If this is not done our overseas crew will replace it for you and you will need to pay for this right away. Failure to do so can mean you are asked to leave the Madventurer house and placement without refund. Whether you are coaching, teaching, on the orphanage placement or working in hospitals, all the Mad volunteers stay together in the same house which means that you are never far away from someone to socialise with or travel with at weekends. The standard of the accommodation is basic and will not be what you are used to at home so please don’t expect all mod cons, but it should be clean and tidy. Our crew in the Mad House should be around for any help, advice and support. Crew spend their time between the urban placements and rural village projects. Please remember to take down their emergency mobile number with you before you set off and keep it with you at all times. Electricity The house has running water and electricity only at intervals during the day. But please be aware that the water is delivered and stored in a tank so there will be many times when it runs out, and the electricity supply is unreliable and will often fail. Ghana's electricity mostly comes from a massive hydro-electric plant at Lake Volta. It is not unheard of for the electricity company to simply cut supply for weeks/days when water levels in the lake are too low! The electricity supply is extremely unpredictable in most parts of Ghana. There is no set electricity socket used in Ghana although you tend to find that the British three pinned socket is the most common. It is however, not uncommon to find European two pin sockets. We'd recommend you purchase the necessary adapters for any electrical goods that you bring with you. These are available cheaply in most UK airports. Running water Even though there is running water, there will not be hot running water. Most houses in Ghana don't have hot running water - although some may have small boilers for washing dishes. As temperatures rarely drop below 25 degrees, even at night, you will find that a cold wash in the morning is just what you need! Toilets and toilet paper Most toilets in built up areas of Ghana are of western standards but in the rural areas the toilets can take a little getting used to! Toilet paper is freely available at most markets but you won't find it in public toilets so it's a good idea to carry a roll or two with you everywhere. Transportation in Ho The best and easiest way to explore Ho is by using short taxi rides unless you are travelling outside of Ho where you will need to get on a ‘tro-tro’, which are minibuses that take people further a field to places such as Accra or to Cape Coast. In Ho, there are around 800 taxis working almost every hour and are very cheap, for example a short taxi ride from the Mad House to the central market is 0.40 pessewas (around 15-20 pence). The taxis are monitored by the police so that safety is a priority on the roads, but remember that it is still Africa and it is not uncommon to see a number of people squeezed into one taxi with some chickens and a goat so do use common sense when choosing a taxi. If you need to travel to any other place on weekends, your crew leader will show you to the tro-tro station when you first need to make a journey if you decide to travel around at weekends with friends. Ho Central Market In Ho there is a huge market where you can go and shop for so many unusual and different things. On market day you can watch how Ghanaian market women buy and sell their produce, much of which will have been brought in from outlining villages. Most of the excess food that many of the women have grown at their own subsistence farms (or plots) will make it to each market day with many bringing their babies with them. It is only a 5 minute taxi ride from the house to the market. Weekends/Highlights – Weekends are free for independent travel and you should be able to find a number of other volunteers overseas with you who may want to travel with you and explore the local area. Our location in Ghana means that you are close to some of the Ghana's most popular attractions. Madventurer has been operating in the Volta Region for 10 years and so is fortunate to know the best places to explore at weekends. Near to Ho is the Tafi Monkey Village where hundreds of species of monkeys, including the nearly extinct Mona, make the dense tropical forest around Tafi Atome their home. The monkeys are friendly and playful and venture into the village daily. Tradition does not permit people to kill or harm them. You should also try and make a visit to Afadjato Mountain which is the highest mountain in Ghana, which rises 2,905 feet above sea level, and has a simple guest house where you can stay. The Volta Region is blessed with some amazing waterfalls such as Tagbo Falls at Liati Wote (a village that has had many Mad Projects helping it out so you are always made to feel very welcome if you mention you are a madventurer yourself), in a dense tropical forest, is a perennial waterfall called "Tagbo". Wli Falls is situated in the heart of a tropical forest and is the highest waterfall in Ghana. Reaching the falls is fun and adventurous as you must cross 11 log bridges which span the meandering river before arriving at the falls. If you decide to take a long weekend to split your time at your Placement site then you can also venture down to the coast where there a number of beach bars and backpacker accommodation which our crew can advise you on – the best ones and the ones to avoid. Whatever you do at weekends there is a vast array of choice to keep you relaxed and active. Arrival Procedure If you arrive early (Pre-tour Accommodation & Airport Pick-Up) If you arrive a day or two before your placement starts then we recommend staying at the joining point hotel mentioned below. The Paloma Hotel has good facilities and is reasonably priced. They can also offer you an airport pick-up, just remember to ask at time of booking as this is not normally included in the price. You can book this accommodation directly from our website or follow the link below. You need to access the “Get me a hotel quote” link then country “Ghana” and city “Accra”. http://www.madventurer.com/travel-advice/pre-project-accommodation.html If you arrive a day or two early then please give our overseas crew a call once you land to let them know you are arrived in the accommodation. You can then arrange a pick-up time on the Saturday (1st day of your placement). Remember to take the crews contact number along with the contact details for the hotel. If you have any problems give the hotel a ring directly. If you have an emergency please give our crew a call on their mobile number (found at www.madventurer.net ). Joining Point Hotel (if you are arriving early) Paloma Hotel PO Box 02394 Osu, Accra, Ghana Phone: 00233 (0)21 228700 (please check their website as telephone numbers can change for different departure months) www.palomahotel.com A comfortable 2 star hotel with friendly staff and good airport Collection service. Saturday Arrivals If arriving on day 1 (Saturday) of the itinerary a complimentary airport pickup from Accra airport is provided by our overseas crew. Please look out for our crew who will either have a Madventurer t-shirt or be holding a Madventurer sign. If you can’t seem them don’t panic, they will find you. If you can’t see them give them a call but it’s important that you do not leave the airport without speaking to our crew first. Our crew carry their emergency mobile with them at all times. You must remember to take this number off the website (at www.madventurer.net ) before you head off and keep this number with you at all times. You must provide Madventurer with flight arrival details including flight number and arrival time no later than 4 weeks before departure via your Pre-departure form which is emailed over on booking. Flight Delays - If your flight is delayed it’s important that you try and call or text our overseas crew to warn them in advance. You can do this before boarding. Please do not arrive after the start date as you could miss the transfer (3-4 hours) to the Madventurer house in Ho. This will incur extra transfer costs. Saturday’s Accommodation You will spend Saturday night in Accra as we don’t like to travel at night. The accommodation on Saturday is covered in the placement price and is normally spent in one of the local hostel/backpackers our crew use all the time (including the Salvation Army hostel, The Pink hostel). This will be simple but clean, dorm style, shared accommodation, chosen by our overseas crew. Early the next day (Sunday) you will then travel to the placement site in Ho and get your first glimpses of Ghana and all it has to offer (depending on any flight delays). You will travel in local transport with our crew. Immigration Before you land in Accra, the airline cabin crew will give you a Ghana Immigration Service Embarkation / Disembarkation Form to fill in. When you complete this, please ensure that you tick Holiday/Tourism as the purpose of your visit and enter Pink Hostel, PO Box 9732, Accra as your residential / postal address in Ghana. When you get off the plane, you will first pass through Immigration. All you have to do here is hand your passport and the completed form to the officer, and he will stamp an endorsement of your visa into your passport. Usually you will be given a 90- day endorsement, but please check this and let your Crew Leader know if you have been given less (this will not be a problem, but will require a quick visit to the Immigration Service). After Immigration, you collect your bags and pass through Customs. Be aware that Customs Officers have the right to search your bags and question you if they choose to. If you smile and address them politely, the process is usually quick. IMPORTANT: Be careful of porters pretending to be from Madventurer, who will expect money to carry your bags, just look out for our crew who will be there with a sign or t-shirt. If in doubt give the crew a quick call! Departure Procedure Last day of Placement Your placement will finish on a Friday morning/afternoon and accommodation for this night is not included. You will travel back by shuttle bus to Accra, arriving no later than 7pm, where you are free to make your own way to the airport. We recommend you book your flight departure from Accra after 10pm to allow for any traffic delays/road works, and international checking in times etc. We find that most volunteers will stay in Accra this night and fly home the next day. This allows you a little extra time to get into Accra and means volunteers can share rooms, eat together etc. Some may go on to do some independent travel, join an overland adventure or spend the weekend in Accra. Any post-project accommodation/food/transport must be budgeted for separately. If you need to book accommodation for the Friday night then please put your request in to our crew early in your placement. Hotel/hostels can get booked up fast and our crew do not accompany you back to Accra (only if they have airport pick-ups that weekend). You will need to pay for this in country. Most of our volunteers that finish at the same time will try and book accommodation together. Emergency Contact Details In the event of an emergency, Outside of office hours: Please contact our overseas crew directly on the number given on our website (www.madventurer.net). If you can’t get through straight away please keep trying as phone signals overseas are intermittent. Most networks overseas don’t offer a voicemail service so it is advisable to send a text with your contact details and a short message so that our crew can call/reply to you. Normal office hours: Please contact our Mad HQ in the UK on 0845 121 1996 and chat to one of our team. You can also leave a message on our Mad HQ answer phone outside of office hours as well. Please make sure you leave a clear message with name, number and reason for calling. Flights o Flights should be arranged to arrive in Accra, Kotoka International Airport. Flights need to be budgeted for separately - Madventurer works in partnership with STA Travel to offer you the best prices, flexibility and knowledge for all of your travel needs! STA Travel can tailor-make your trip to suit your needs, so if you want to go travelling after your project with Madventurer or maybe visit friends or family in another country, let STA Travel know and they will organise it all. From Round the world tickets to discount cards, flights, accommodation and bus tours, STA Travel can help. For a flight quote email firstname.lastname@example.org or call STA Travel on our dedicated Madventurer number 0871 468 0668. It’s best to use this number as our Mad representative at STA can often offer you discount and special offers that may not be on their website or in their branches. It is useful to have ready your travel dates and airport details, along with your full name as printed on your passport (the one you will travel on) and telephone number. Please note that under our terms and conditions we will not cancel a Project or Placement less than 60 days before departure except for unforeseen circumstances outside of the Company's control. This means that you should not be booking any non-refundable flights more than 60 days ahead of departure in case we do not have sufficient numbers (usually a minimum of 4) to run the trip. We recommend refundable flights. Ghana Visas You are responsible for organising your own travel visa for Ghana. Please be aware that visa requirements may change, so you should check the Ghana High Commission website for your nationality www.ghana-com.co.uk (UK Nationality) before applying to ensure that this information is still correct. Visas are only valid for entry to Ghana within 3 months of issue. If you apply for your visa more than 3 months in advance of your arrival in Ghana, the Ghana High Commission will hold onto your application and passport, and process it later to ensure that you are within the 3 months validity. You must be in possession of a full passport (not temporary), valid for at least six months after the project or adventure. If this is not the case, or if there is too much of a difference between your appearance now and your appearance on your passport photo, then you should apply for a new passport and allow plenty of time for the processing of your application. For entry to Ghana, you will require a Tourist Visa, which must be obtained before you leave your home country. You can apply for a Ghana Tourist Visa in the UK either by post or in person (Online applications will soon be available) at the Ghana High Commission in London, or the appropriate Ghana High Commission for your nationality. If you are doing a project you only need a single entry visa (though it’s worth getting a multiple entry visa in case you and some others decide to cross the border into Togo for a weekend). If you are doing the project and adventure you will need a multiple entry visa. You must enclose with your application if you are British Nationality: • 2 identical completed copies of the Ghana Visa Application form. Extra copies can be printed from the Web site at www.ghana-com.co.uk; • 2 recent passport photographs of yourself; • The fee (£60 for multiple entry, £40 for single entry) as a postal order or banker’s draft payable to “Ghana High Commission” (not handwritten cheque); • A photocopy of your return flight ticket to Ghana, if you have it (if not, writing “E-ticket” on the application form in place of the ticket number is usually acceptable); • A stamped, self-addressed envelope for them to return your passport (we strongly recommend a pre-paid Special Delivery envelope); • Your passport; • The covering letter from Madventurer (found on the website) You should allow a minimum of 15 working days to process your visa if applying by post, or four working days if applying in person. For postal applications please check the Ghana High Commissions website for any public holidays where they maybe shut, or for revised working hours or closures. During busy periods when most volunteers will travel there can be a backload of applications. Make sure you give yourself enough time to get your Ghana visa sorted. Just get in touch if you have any questions or need help. Alternatively you can use an outside agent to process your visa. Check out www.uk.cibt.com for more details (Global Visa and Passport Professionals). You can login as a “Guest” to find out more info on visa requirements. Please note that this service has a considerable handling fee, however it’s a good source of information. We strongly recommend that if applying by post you use Special Delivery (or Registered Post). Visas are usually given a 60 day stamp on entry, even though it may say that your visa is valid for 6 months. This means you must go to the Ghana Immigration Service in Accra to extend your visa if you intend to spend more than 60 days in the country. It must be extended before your 60 day stamp expires. If you go over the 60 days you will be fined 10 cedis (around £5) plus the visa extension of around 15 cedis (around £7-8) per month thereafter. Please ask our overseas crew if you need assistance. Travel Insurance Madventurer has joined forces with STA TRAVEL to bring you low cost insurance. With access to a variety of tailored products they strive to offer insurance policies to suit all needs and pockets. Give STA travel a call on 0871 468 0668 to chat to our Madventurer representative at STA now and see how much you could save. Just follow the link below for their contact details on our website. http://www.madventurer.com/page/flight-quotes Please make sure every activity you are going to be taking part in is covered on the policy. There are 3 different policies to choose from, here is a brief over view of their policies. If you are doing independent travel at weekends, before or after your placement then you need to be covered for this as well. Budget Insurance - Every trip and traveller is different, so we offer different types of cover to help you find the most appropriate... The Budget cover is ideal for anyone travelling light and on a tight budget. Your basic essentials are covered, giving you enough protection to feel safe and secure on your travels. Standard Insurance - Our standard cover gives you an extensive range of cover at a competitive price. It's our middle-of-the-road cover for those that want the comfort of extra protection but without all the bells and whistles. Premier Insurance - The premier policy offers our most extensive protection featuring higher levels of cover, some additional benefits and an even wider range of hazardous sports/adrenalin activities. All elements of our Standard and Budget policies are included as well as some additional benefits. Important – Travel insurance is mandatory on all our projects, placements and adventures. You will not be allowed to join a project unless you have provided evidence of your travel insurance details to our Madventurer HQ office in the UK as part of your Pre-departure form you fill in and return to us. Our overseas crew will also ask you for evidence of your travel insurance as well. Valuable or sentimental items You are strongly advised not to take items of a valuable or personal nature like ipods, expensive jewellery/clothing etc. If you do decide to take digital cameras or phones please make sure these are covered in your travel insurance policy. Every policy will differ slightly so it’s best to enquire about personal item cover. The Role of Crew Your crew leader is responsible for ensuring you have all the information, support and help you need to make sure you get the most out of your project. Crew will be there to set things up, ensure the smooth running of the project and deal with any problems that may arise. Here are a few points highlighting what you can expect: Crew are there to liaise with local partners who may be involved, to ensure the smooth running of your project. Crew are the in-country representatives of Madventurer. Problems or Issues on your Placement If you are unsatisfied or unhappy with anything whilst on your placement then it’s very important that you speak to your overseas crew first, in order for them to help rectify the problem. If they don’t know about the project then can’t help to fix it. Please don’t leave this until a few weeks into your placement, or the end, or until you get home, as it’s very difficult for us to be able to do anything about it then. You can, of course, always contact Madventurer HQ in Newcastle by phone or email from overseas at any time if you wish to, however your overseas crew would be the first port of call for any placement issues. Crew are not responsible for organising weekend activities. On occasions they may decide to arrange a trip. However venturers are expected to organise weekend trips themselves as part of the experience and they can seek advice from the Crew for this. Crew are trained and equipped to deal with any emergency situation which may arise but they may not be near you when you travel independently. It is always advisable to let you crew know where you are going and when you are expecting to return. Finally, Crew are there to make sure you have a good time and get the most out of your project. If you have any ideas, please talk to the Crew (e.g. if you want to start extra activities, introduce new ideas etc.). Your Crew will be more than happy to assist you in channelling your enthusiasm and helping your ideas reach fruition. If you accidentally break something in the Madventurer house you will be asked to replace this right away. If this is not done our Madventurer crew will replace the item/s and you will need to pay the given amount to our crew. Failure to do so will mean that you will be asked to leave the Madventurer house and placement without refund. Equipment Travel light. Remember that it’s easy to lose things when travelling, and valuable items can get broken. Chances are you’ll also want to bring back African curios which will need to fit in your bag on the way home. Overview – Important Documents Please ensure you have the following documents on arrival. These are the documents you will need to ensure you bring with you to Ghana: o Passport o Ghana Visa (inside your passport. Just check when you receive it that its signed) o Air tickets or E ticket print out o Insurance certificate & details o Travel/Accommodation (only needed if you are doing a pre-booked adventure with one of our adventure partners) o Student card (if you have one – can be useful for discounts) o Vaccination record form (Original copy) o Yellow Fever vaccination certificate (Original copy required to enter Ghana) o Immigration details for form (given above) o Overseas crew Emergency Contact Number (hostel/hotel number should you need it). Please take this number a few days before you travel from the website. o Money to change (either travellers’ cheques or cash), bank card (credit/debit) It’s a good idea to take a photocopy of all your important travel documents and keep them separate from the originals. If you have access to a scanner then scan each document in and attach them to an email as well. This means you can have access to these documents should you need them. You can also email this to a family member/friend along with a copy of this document so they have all the relevant details (emergency numbers). Medical Kit We provide First Aid kits on all projects and adventures, for use by Crew in emergencies. We recommend that you also take your own medical kit for personal use (independent travel); including any medication that you know you are likely use. You might want to include things like Paracetamol, re-hydration sachets, Imodium (just in case!) and plasters. Here is a rough guideline: Paracetamol/Ibuprofen Adhesive plasters Antiseptic wipes and bacterial hand gel Sun Block cream (bring a range including high protection) Aftersun / moisturiser Insect repellent Bite & sting relief ointment Diarrhoea treatment and rehydration sachets Support bandages or strapping (if you need any) Health Advice with our health partners InterHealth For more general health advice please see the InterHealth Information on our website. Once you book up with us you can logon to the online info, Inter Health will just ask us to confirm your booking first. They you will have access to their general health advice online. It is also very important that you visit your own doctor or travel nurse for individual advice they can recommend individual guidance as they will have your medical records and details of any allergies. Clothing In general, clothing should be lightweight, tough and casual. The days in Ghana are hot and humid year-round, with the highest temperatures from December to March and rain most likely from April to September. The main DO NOT’s for girls are not to wear anything above the knee or expose your midriff, unless you’re at the beach or pool. It’s worth taking a fleece or jumper as it can get cool in the hills (night time temperatures drop sharply if you travel north into the Sahara desert). For work, clothing should be reasonably smart and not revealing. We recommend ladies wear trousers or long skirts and blouses (short sleeves are fine, but shoulders should be covered), and men wear trousers and lightweight collared shirts. In hot and humid conditions, clothes often need washing after one day. You will have access to hand washing facilities, but we recommend you take enough changes for one week. Remember clothes are cheap and readily available overseas. Our suggested clothing list is: o 1 Pair trainers o 1 pair sandals o Socks o Underwear o T-Shirts o Vests o Long-sleeved top (for evenings when mosquitoes are out) o Lightweight trousers o Sweatshirt (for cooler evenings) o Shorts o Hat and sunglasses o Swimming gear (bikinis are fine for girls) o Lightweight rainproof jacket o Dressier clothes/jeans for nights out o Smart skirt/shirt/trousers/shoes (for teaching/orphanage/medic project) Other Equipment o Backpack (60 to 80 litre capacity should be enough to carry everything you need). This is the best type of luggage to get as you need to be able to carry this yourself. o One of the following to sleep in: summer sleeping bag/sleeping bag liner/sheet sleeping bag o Towel o Mosquito net (impregnated with insecticide is best). Please make sure this can be hung from the ceiling, wall or from bunk beds. o Insect repellent (essential malaria protection) o Teaching aids (if doing teaching project) o Bite & sting relief ointment o Torch with spare batteries o Sun cream (high protection factor, the sun is strong on the equator) o Aftersun / moisturiser o Toiletries o Day bag: a 20-25Litre rucksack for day trips / weekends/ adventure o Camera o White coat (if doing medic project) o Disposable surgical gloves (if doing medic project) o Pack of cards/books/guide book/music/board games Money The currency in Ghana is the Cedi (pronounced “see-dee”). £1 = 2.3 Ghana Cedis (Jan 2011) NOTE: It is possible to change money in the baggage reclaim section of the airport when you land in Ghana. We recommend taking as much cash as you feel comfortable carrying in Sterling (Euros and US Dollars are also widely accepted). Please check with your travel insurance policy to see how much you are covered for carrying at any given time. Small denominations offer poor exchange rates compared to larger ones like £20s. Do not take Scottish or similar notes as they will not be accepted. US Dollar notes should be post-1993 so ask for new notes if possible. Notes should not be creased, torn or written on. The remainder of your money can be drawn in country using a card. Visa is the most recognised card in West Africa and you can use it to withdraw cash in major towns and cities. Traveller’s cheques should only be used as a last back up and should be taken in either Visa or MasterCard from an international vender/bank. Please note that traveller’s cheques are extremely hard to change even in Accra so it’s best to take some cash and have access to a debit and credit card for any emergencies. Costs The following should help you to work out what you will need to pay for once you are in Ghana: What We Cover • An airport pick up if arriving on the Saturday • Transfer to the Madventurer house (Accra to Ho) • All accommodation/transport & food during your project, and if you choose to stay at the house during the weekend. Please note that our cook will prepare meals during the working week (Monday to Friday) and we will ensure that the pantry has adequate provisions should you wish to eat at the house on a weekend. If you decide to do independent travel at the weekends you would need to budget separately for this. • Transfer back to the starting point city (Accra) on the end date of the project (Friday) What We Don’t Cover • Pre or post tour accommodation/food/transport • Travel, accommodation & food at weekends (if you choose to travel on the weekend) • Your project will finish on a Friday, accommodation for this night is not included • Food/transport/accommodation between a project / adventure combination • Personal spending money (for souvenirs, alcoholic drinks etc) • Transfer from Accra to the airport at the end of the placement Emergency Funds Please also make sure you have access to additional emergency funds, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of swine or bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned programme. This change may have to be decided prior to departure. This can be through credit or debit cards. The amount will depend on your length of stay and any pre or post project / placement travel. We also recommend using Western Union for emergency cash when you are overseas (www.ukmoneytransfer.com). The amount of spending money that you need in Ghana can vary greatly depending on how you live. Travelling on local transport, eating Ghanaian food and being prepared to rough it a bit you can get by on very little. If you start eating in western restaurants, buying imported goods and staying in nice hotels, costs can soon rocket to almost European levels. For a typical Madventurer – a hardy breed, who like an after work beer and an occasional bit of comfort - we recommend the following budgets for personal spending money: Time on project: £50-£100 per week During the week you will need very little money, and will probably spend just a couple of quid on soft drinks the odd beer or a meal out. If you’re a shopaholic you will be seriously tempted by the markets, where you can buy beautiful carvings, jewellery, drums and all sorts of Ghanaian goodies. What you pay will, of course, depend on your negotiation and haggling skills! Toiletries can be quite pricey in Ghana, so it’s a good idea to bring plenty of these out with you if you have room in your luggage, although you can get almost everything you need in Accra if needs be. Payment The total balance for your project is due 75 days (approx 10 ½ weeks) before your project start date. The balance due date will be printed on the statement attached to your pre-departure email. Please make sure you put this date in your diary as there is a late payment fee of £50 and we unfortunately do not send out reminders. To do this you can make part payments or you can pay in one total sum either by sending a cheque in the post made payable to Madventurer. Or by card payments over the phone, please quote your final amount when paying. If you are posting a cheque please enclose a copy of your deposit receipt in the envelope. You may use a debit, maestro, visa delta, electron and solo cards to make your payment and also credit cards (3.5% fee). Paying from overseas we can only accept internationally recognised credit or debit cards. You can also do a bank transfer if you have internet banking, just get in touch if you need our bank details. Communication Email Broadband Internet access is available in the capital and costs about £1 an hour. In smaller towns which you may visit on your weekends, internet should still be available though it will be the more unreliable dial up connection! Mobile Phones If you want to bring your mobile it can be useful for keeping in contact with other Venturers and Crew when you are away at weekends. It’s possible to buy a Ghanaian sim card quite cheaply and top up cards for a few pounds. You will need to get your phone unlocked either at home or in Ghana. Mobile Phones are not uncommon in Ghana, particularly in the larger towns, but please be careful when using it in public as it may make you a target for opportunist theft. The address of the accommodation is: Our Madventurer house in Ho does not have an address, only a plot number. You will find that most properties/offices in the surrounding areas will be the same. There is no postman that delivers letter as you would find at home. Most Ghanaians have a PO Box address where they have to travel to collect any mail or parcels. We have one in Accra that’s given below; Po Box OS 2853 OSU Accra Ghana This is used by our overseas crew. We strongly advise not to send any parcels/letters to this address as we cannot guarantee that you will receive them by the time you leave Ghana. There is a collection/transfer charge that our crew are not responsible for. If you need to send something in an emergency please contact our Mad HQ in the UK first on 0845 121 1996 for more details. Do not send any items without contacting us first as we can’t always guarantee their safe arrival. Crew Mobile Phones All of our Crew carry mobile phones, which can be used in an emergency. These are not available to make or receive routine calls. Security Ghana is certainly one of Africa’s safer countries, and with common sense precautions you are unlikely to experience any serious problems. The biggest risk is from opportunist theft, and you should take care when out at night. We strongly advise not to travel late at night or on your own. Also be careful in busy markets and bus stations swarming with people, which makes it easy for people to ‘bump’ into you and clear your pockets of money! It is worth splitting your money between various places and keeping a small amount of cash as a reserve in case of emergencies. Many Volunteers use a body belt to contain the bulk of their money and keep daily amounts in a wallet. You can use your wallet to pay for daily items so that you don’t need to expose the money belt. Visible Money belts/purses worn around the neck or as bum bags are not advisable, as they could make you a target for mugging. Be wary of anyone with a hard luck story, asking for assistance, soliciting sponsorship (particularly education) or anyone offering a deal to change money at favourable rates – these are usually con artists who make more money from gullible foreigners than they would by getting a job. Crew will be able to advise you on specific areas best avoided, and advise you on safe weekend travel. Please listen to their recommendations and do not put yourself at unnecessary risk. Cultural sensitivity Please remember that you are a guest in Ghana and are representing your country as well as Madventurer. Always take time to treat people with respect and, although things may not happen as quickly and easily as they would back home, be patient and understanding. An ability to keep calm when frustrated will win you many friends in Ghana. Ghanaians consider politeness and respect very important. If you want something from someone, you are far more likely to get it by addressing them as Sir or Madam and taking time to say a polite “Good morning” and “How are you?” before asking for it than if you are blunt or unfriendly. While in Ghana you will quickly pick up the traditional Ghanaian handshake, which is used by friends greeting one another. Its just like a normal handshake, except rather than let go of each others hands, you slide your palms apart, and use your thumb and middle finger to squeeze your friends middle finger, making a clicking noise. Sounds complicated but it’s really not, you’ll soon get the hang of it! When eating, meeting, greeting or gesturing, always try to remember to use your right hand as using your left is seen as disrespectful. Its also considered impolite to allow the sole of your foot to point at someone. You should always remove a cap or hat when greeting an elder, or entering someone’s house. Madventurer has a strict zero-tolerance policy on the use of illegal drugs. Penalties are severe if you are caught with drugs in Ghana, and there is very little either Madventurer or the British High Commission can do for anyone convicted of a crime under Ghanaian law. Always be wary of anyone you do not know well, and for girls especially NEVER put yourself in a dangerous situation where you are alone at night with a local male. If you feel uneasy in a situation it is with reason, listen to your common sense, and always ensure somebody knows where you are. What you perceive as friendliness can often be misinterpreted by the Ghanaian male, and it is important therefore that you never find yourself in a position where this misinterpretation results in danger. Food This takes a bit of getting used to! You will become very well acquainted with ‘Fufu’ during your time in Ghana. It’s made using plantain (a lot like a banana in appearance but hard and starchy) and cassava (a woody shrub with edible roots a bit like potato) which are boiled and then pounded furiously to make a dough, which is served with soup or stew. The Ghanaian diet is mainly vegetarian as meat is seen as a luxury in many of the project sites that we help out at, although we will try and vary the menu as much as possible. Jollof rice is another firm favourite and is a spicy dish containing rice, peppers, tomato paste, onions and usually some kind of meat or fish. Vegetarians are well catered for as most meals are made without meat, which is then added near the end. If you like seafood you’ll be in your element, particularly if you travel to the coast on weekends, where you can eat the freshest grilled fish, and try some you may not have had before such as Tilapia and Snapper. The most traditional of Ghanaian food is served at ‘chop bars’ offering the equivalent of fast food, which might be just as fast through your system, if your stomach is not accustomed to the food on offer! These chop bars often have quite amazing names as well such as ‘observers are worried chop bar’ (possibly one to avoid!). You’ll also see people trying to sell you ‘grasscutter’ at the side of roads. These are quite big rodents, a little like guinea pigs, which are sliced open and stretched out on a wooden cross and then smoked. If all this sounds a little too authentic for your tastes, then don’t worry as there are plenty of places to get a western fix of food in Accra. Language Although English is the official language of Ghana, over 75 African languages and dialects are spoken throughout the country. Ga is the most widely used African language in the capital. The language of the Volta Region is Ewe (ay-way). You will almost certainly visit the Volta Region’s beautiful waterfalls during your stay. Here a few Ewe phrases which you will hear: English Ewe Welcome Wezo Welcome response Yo Good morning Ndi Good afternoon Ndo Good evening Fie Good morning response Ndi pometo How are you? E foe Fine, thanks Eē Thank you Akpe Country guidebooks This Pre-Departure Pack is designed to give you information about Madventurer in Ghana, not as a substitute for a country guidebook. We recommend that you buy or borrow a guidebook to read before you leave, and to take with you. The Bradt Travel Guide http://www.bradt-travelguides.com/details.asp?prodid=113 to Ghana by Philip Briggs is probably the most comprehensive guide to the country as it is one of the few books aimed at budget travellers that covers Ghana in detail rather than the wider region. Bradt’s text is generally accurate and well written, but be aware that some of the sketch maps can be inaccurate and phone numbers outdated. Rough Guide and Lonely Planet http://www.lonelyplanet.com/ghana both produce reasonable guides to West Africa. World Travel Guide – http://www.worldtravelguide.net This is a good source of general travel information. You can select “Country Guides” from their homepage, then “Ghana”. The MAD Foundation Charity Madventurer has its very own registered charity called The MAD foundation (Reg No 1111805) which helps people in some of the world’s poorest countries to help themselves. MAD works with the communities at a grassroots level to develop much needed community resources, or to supply extra funds needed for development projects throughout the year. To date the MAD Foundation has helped build and renovate schools and pre-schools, built orphanages, clinics, workshops, water and sanitation systems, provided scholarships throughout Africa, South America, and South East Asia, life-changing projects which are not or can not be funded by government. The MAD Foundation is constantly challenged by the need to raise funds to allow us to assist more communities in the developing world. Without the support of donators, sponsors, supporters, volunteers, Madventurer and Madventurer staff (who donate their time for free) our valuable work would not exist. Giving to charity can take many forms and whilst a monetary donation will always be most welcome there are other ways in which you can support us. Please help us to keep the developing world helping itself; in any way that you can. If you would like to help out or find out more about the MAD Foundation then please contact our very own Chief John Lawler on email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01434 633137 for information on how you can fundraise and make a donation. We have fundraising packs available on request. Please note our MAD Foundation website is currently under construction and should be available soon. Once you have paid for the price of your volunteer project you can fundraise for your village for extra funds to take out. Present and past volunteer also continue to raise funds after they had left by setting up a JustGiving account. Our overseas crew and MAD foundation trustees help to allocate funds to chosen projects during the year. For more info on our registered charity the MAD Foundation (Reg No 1111805) go to: http://www.madventurer.com/making-a-difference/the-mad-foundation.html http://www.madventurer.com/page/mad-mission Or check out our JustGiving page on http://www.justgiving.com/madfoundation for more info on what past volunteers have helped supply funds for. After your project – The Mad Tribe Feedback We may ask you to complete a questionnaire at the end of your project and/or expedition to give us some feedback as to how you found your experience. This is normally emailed out on your return. If you would like a form in advance just drop us an email to Mad HQ on email@example.com Positive and honest feedback is appreciated by all members of staff and crew. The Mad Tribe After completion of your placement you will be an official member of the Mad Tribe! This will ensure that you stay in touch with the rest of the Crew and venturers from your project group, us here at Madventurer HQ, and the wider family of Mad venturers who have been involved in projects and placements around the world. If you change your mobile number/email address then please feel free to let us know. You may also receive a Newsletter with updates on previous projects and information about exciting new development projects around the world, in fact, everything that’s going on in the Madventurer world. There are also opportunities to follow and support our development work around the world through our registered charity the Mad Foundation. We want your Blogs, Photo’s and Video’s Before you depart you can set up your own MAD Tribe Blog (www.madtribe.com) by going to http://www.madtribe.com/register and following the online instructions. This is an excellent way to keep friends/family updated on your travel. You can even upload photos and create a travel journal, and our blog integrates well with any facebook account. It’s always great for us to get copies of your photos, permission to use them on the Mad Tribe Blog/Website/Brochure/Posters/Press releases. The best way to do this is to become friends with our Chief John Lawler on Facebook. You never know your picture might make it to the front page of our brochure, posters or be on the next Madventurer newsletter! If you have any questions on any of the details included in this document then please don’t hesitate to get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0845 121 1996 and speak to one of our staff! Best wishes & Happy Travels – Mad HQ FAQ’s KIT Q: Do I need a sleeping bag? A: Yes you can bring a summer sleeping bag, however a sheet sleeping bag/sleeping bag liner is more than sufficient to keep you warm at night. You can bring a travel (inflatable) pillow for extra comfort. Or you can bring a pillow case and stuff some of your clothes in this for a make shift pillow. Q: What kind of mosquito net should I get? A: A mozzie net that can be hanged from a wall, ceiling or bunk beds is best. Make sure it’s treated with an anti-mosquito treatment such as Permethrin. Don’t rush out to buy the freestanding net, they can be expensive, and they are not easy to fit around bunk beds. A net that can be hung up with hooks or string is best, and bring some string along just in case you need it. Q: Do I need water purification tablets? A: Your crew will ensure that clean treated, safe drinking water is always available on the project. You can bring some if you are planning on doing some independent travel at weekends. Bring along a water bottle (ie a sports bottle, or similar containter) which you can fill up every day, these are more environmentally friendly. Q: I’m doing teaching. Should I bring out any supplies with me such as pencils etc..? A: If you can bring out any pencils, pens, books, chalk etc, these will be much appreciated by the schools and pupils. Please check with your luggage allowance first. You can access a Mad Teaching pack from our website. Q: Do I need to bring a rucksack? A: Yes a rucksack is the best type of luggage to bring, as you need to be able to carry this yourself. You may want to bring a day bag/small rucksack though for weekends when you may be travelling. Suitcases will be more difficult to carry or wheel so a rucksack is best. Q: Do I need to bring a roll mat? A: On the project a simple foat mattress will be provided. You can bring a roll mat for extra comfort or again if you decide to do some independent travel as weekends. They are fairly lightweight and cheap. Q: Do I need to bring sufficient toiletries to cover the entire time I’m in Ghana? A: You should bring sufficient sun cream, anti mossie spray, bacterial hand was gel to last the duration of your trip. Soap, bodywash, shampoo etc can all be easily obtained out there, should you run out. MONEY Q: How should I carry money when travelling to Ghana A: We suggest taking some cash, then the rest of your money on a debit and credit card (for emergencies) from which you can use to draw money when in larger towns/cities. Travellers cheques are not widely accepted and should only be used as a last back up as they are extremely hard to cash ever in Accra. Please check with your travel insurance policy for how much cash you are covered for carrying around as policies can differ. Q: Can I use a cash card to withdraw money from ATM machines? A: The ONLY credit card that is accepted to withdraw money is a Visa credit card. It is possible to use Mastercard to make payments in some hotels and shops. Visa electron debit cards are also accepted at ATMs in Ho. Q: Do I need to bring a first aid kit? A: All our crew have access to a first aid kit. You may want to bring a few extra items as mentioned in the notes. Personal first aid kits are handy for independent travel, and it always a good idea to take a small personal fist aid kit with you whenever you are away from the Mad House. MISC Q: How often will I get to wash my clothes? A: You can wash your clothes as little or as often as you like! You do not need to bring your own washing powder, as this can be bought out there and is designed to work with cold water. Or you can bring some environmentally friendly branded washing power if you have room (Help save our planet!). Q: Can I bring my MP3, phone etc..? A: Its best if you leave all expensive/sentimental items at home (jewellery/ipod etc). If you wish to bring your camera and mobile phone please make sure these are covered in your travel insurance policy. A good rule of thumb is that if you intend to leave a gadget as a gift or if you would not be too bothered if you lost it overseas then it should be fine to take it. Getting a police report in Ghana should you lose or have any items stolen is a long and drawn out process, and you will also be charged a fee by the police for the report. You will need a police report if you are intending to make a claim on your travel insurance.