As you may know, we offer volunteer work in Ghana through Moon&Star guesthouse. And you are certainly welcome to join us during your gap year or sabbatical. What do you get extra when you participate in the coach in Ghana program during your gap year in Ghana? I tell you more in this blog.
Would you like to read more about volunteering at Moon&Star guesthouse? Then click here.
Spend your gap year or sabbatical in Ghana
Ghana is a top destination for holidays, for digital nomads and also to stay for a long time during your gap year or sabbatical. Beautiful nature, great people and very good to travel. I have been mentoring volunteers who come to Banko in Ghana for over 10 years and I love doing it! During your gap year in Ghana I also like to guide you! In this article, I will tell you more about the practical side of your gap year in Ghana. If something is not clear after reading, please let me know in the comments, or send a message!
What do I get when I spend my gap year in Ghana through Ghana coach?
Help/guidance with the preparations and visa application, personal, airport service, overnight stay in Accra, Ghanaian sim card, trip to Banko, private room with bathroom, 3 meals per day, and coaching/guidance by me. Furthermore, together we make a tailor-made program with activities and I give tips&tricks on exploring the rest of Ghana and our surroundings. You will also receive the workbook ‘What you need to know when travelling to Ghana’ and will take part in an online course about sustainable volunteering which is a thorough preparation for your trip to Ghana.
Excluding: Airfare, visa fees, insurance, transport costs to excursions, entrance fee for attractions, food and drinks outside the guesthouse, the trip back to Accra
What are the costs for this ‘coach in Ghana’ program?
For the above complete program of 4 weeks incl airport service, transfer to Moon&Star guesthouse, stay and meals you pay €799,-. For every week you want to stay longer, €85,- is added. The ideal length of stay is about 10 weeks, experience shows. Some people then add 2 weeks for travel.
Sounds nice, a longer stay in Ghana, but what can I do?
As written, together we make a tailor-made program that matches your wishes. This program ensures that you depilate, and experience Ghana in a way that suits you. Below is a list of possible activities:
Helping with the new Women empowerment project. Read more
Fundraising for the Women empowerment project, for example by applying for grants
Hiking/ mountain climbing
Improving your cooking skills
Watching a local school
Helping in the children’s home, for example by selling bread
Improving the English language
Sports/ yoga with team Moon&Star or football/training in Banko
Are my days completely full?
How full your days also depend on yourself as you have your own input in making the program. You’re going to unwind compared to your life in Europe anyway. Life in a village in Ghana is slower and that is quite a bit of getting used to for many people who come to Ghana for a gap year or sabbatical. But as soon as you let go of that feeling of always having to do something… Then you notice that the days do not have to be full to have a valuable gap year in Ghana.
Do I get full guidance?
I’ll guide you through your gap year program in Ghana. Exactly what that guidance will look like depends on whether you have certain goals that you want to work on. Suppose you want to learn a healthier lifestyle, or you want to spend less time on your mobile phone, then I like to coach you. If you mainly want to have a carefree time in Ghana and do not work so much on goals, then my guidance will be more practical in nature. However, my guidance doesn’t mean I’m going to take you by hand. I also expect a degree of independence.
In almost all communication as a Ghana coach, I present myself as a Ghana expert. I have struggled with that expert status, do I truly know so much? And can I help everyone who travels to Ghana? Gradually, I am learning to embrace my knowledge and at the same time, I recognize my limits. In this article, I am not going to bore you again with reasons why I deserve this expert status, you can already read that in a previous blog. I am going to tell you about my limits, about who I cannot help as a Ghana expert.
For years, I have been receiving many messages via Instagram, Facebook, and mail from people who want tips & tricks. People who come to work or live in Ghana, who want to set up all kinds of organizations, and from people who want to set up a tourist business. Many of these messages come through Moon&Star guesthouse and sometimes people are not aware of my activities as a Ghana coach. It is in my nature to want to help people and I still find it difficult to say no. But now there are so many messages that I could have a day’s work answering them as I always did before.
With my E-book I can help everyone as a Ghana expert
My solution is to give some answers in the first mail and to refer to the contents of my book ‘What you need to know when travelling to Ghana’. Because most answers can be found there. Just last week I received this message via Instagram from someone who bought the book. Nice detail, she is married to a Ghanaian and lives half in Europe and half in Ghana for many years. “Btw the book is very nice and funny to read. And I still learned some new things even after all these years 😊”
As Ghana expert, I cannot help you when I am the only one investing
The reference to my E-book works for a few reasons. The first is that I know the person asking the question is serious, because they are willing to make an investment. The second reason has everything to do with the first group of people I cannot help as a Ghana expert.
For years, I have answered an enormous number of mails and messages very extensively and it often became a whole correspondence. That takes energy, which is not bad if you also get energy in return. And I often heard the promise that when I come back to Ghana, I will come and see you! Guess how many times these people visited Moon&Star guesthouse.
The result was that although it is in my nature to help people, I was kind of tired of these mails and messages. And that feeling is gone, I love to help you on your way! And I answer messages with great joy again. Just this morning I had a nice conversation on Messenger: “Wow what a comprehensive answer. Thank you so much! I will definitely think about buying the E-book.”
I can’t help you when your goal is conflicting with my beliefs
Besides being a Ghana expert, I am a human being. I think sustainability, equality, and responsible travel are very important. I believe I can help many people turn their good intentions into good actions. And when I may accompany you or your organization in Ghana, I understand that I have an advisory role. But in order to be a good coach, we need to have a click and a match in our convictions. That is why we always have an online meeting before we start working together.
I am a Ghana expert, but not an Accra or expat expert
When you come to Ghana to work as an expat for an international company in the capital Accra, my E-book will certainly be useful to you. But my coaching will probably be of less use to you. I do visit Accra from time to time, but I have little connection with the expat life there. But I wouldn’t be a Ghana expert if I didn’t have some tips for expats in Accra and beyond.
I had a wonderful time in Ghana and I even fell in love with a great man! I didn’t want to go home at all! And now I’m going to save hard to fly back to Ghana. I hope he can come to visit me and my family as well!
I have heard these stories often, in many varieties. That’s what you get when you run a guesthouse, mentor volunteers, and like to listen. Lovely, such a crush! And despite the resistance you can expect from the people back home, sometimes things go well! Sometimes the Ghanaian man eventually moves to Europe or the US and sometimes the western lady comes to live in Ghana. And of course, you also have couples who choose the best of both worlds, who partly live abroad and partly come to live in Ghana.
The beginning of a Ghana love story
You came to Ghana for a while and you volunteered. One day you saw him, that beautiful guy, that man with that beautiful smile and that beautiful body. Because honestly, a lot of Ghanaian men have beautiful bodies. You knew right away, I’m in love, but I’m in Ghana. What’s the next thing? You put your worries aside and think let’s let’s enjoy being together during the time I’m still in Ghana. Of being in love in this beautiful country with its beautiful beaches and nature. Enjoy the freedom and joy while we are in love in Ghana.
The inevitable goodbye, you go home and he stays behind
Time is up, your ordinary life at home awaits you. What are you going to do? Are you forgetting your boyfriend in Ghana, or are you going to have a long-distance relationship? Whatever you decide to do, it’s not easy. Why did you have to meet this nice man in Ghana and fall in love?
When you choose to leave the crush in Ghana, it’s nice to say that clearly to your boyfriend. To avoid that you will soon feel bothered at home and to avoid creating expectations that you are not going to live up to.
When you do choose a long-distance relationship, you have to stand firm. Fortunately, the world is getting smaller thanks to our phones, but you do live in 2 different worlds.
In Ghana you were so in love, but how will it go in a distance relationship?
Your boyfriend sometimes doesn’t understand your busy life and that you can’t make a phone call or app during your work or during college. As you know, in Ghana you can almost always pick up your phone and it is not seen as something rude when you are on your phone during a conversation. Perhaps it is a logical thought of your boyfriend in Ghana that you can do the same in Europe, a consequence can be that he starts to doubt your feelings. And a Ghanaian man almost always draws conclusions when in doubt. Fewer fun conversations follow than.
And when you have time to finally call after a busy day, he might not be so happy. Or maybe he’s doing nice things. Things you would also like to participate in… You remember those fun reggae nights where you went together when you were in Ghana. Or look each other in the eye at that nice campfire on one of the beautiful beaches in Ghana. Of course, there are also couples in love who absolutely do not recognize themselves in the above situations. I draw on the experiences I know.
Yes, you’re coming back to Ghana, on vacation this time
You’ve saved enough and you have a few weeks off, so you book your ticket. Ooooh, You can’t wait to see your boyfriend again and to feel the love again, while enjoying the nice weather, the food, and your friend.
In addition, you also see this period as a kind of test. Is the love real or was it a feeling of being in love because of all the excitement of a first time in Ghana?
Often during such a return holiday, everything is great in your relationship. You are happy and enjoying yourself and are starting to plan for the future. I also sometimes hear that the first cracks arise, maybe because the man is possessive in your eyes. Or because he lives like this when you feel like you’re working hard for your future. Yet the relationship usually survives the first holiday.
From falling in love in Ghana to living together or marrying your Ghanaian love
Are you moving to Ghana for love or is he coming to Europe? This choice depends very much on the situation and in which European country you live. I don’t know anything about the regulations on residence permits and visas, but I often hear and see that it is difficult to get your Ghanaian friend to your home country. So another option is for you to come to Ghana.
For both situations goes that being in love in Ghana is different than living with your Ghanaian partner, and vice versa the same applies to him of course. Your upbringing, your culture, the role of women in both countries are so different, it can often be challenging. Communication is the answer, but what if your partner isn’t so keen on talking? After all, he’s not used to that at all. Does he have to change himself because he’s in a relationship with you?
Does our intercultural relationship have a chance of success?
Of course, your relationship has a chance of success! First of all, I’m sketching out some examples, but we’re all different. Maybe you don’t recognize yourself at all in the Ghana love story I’m telling here. And secondly, there are many things you can do to make your relationship a success. After all, you have to work in every relationship to make it successful. I’d like to give you a few tips.
Tip 1: Work on your expectations
Every relationship faces pressure when certain expectations are not met, and especially a relationship like yours. You have fallen in love in Ghana and come from two completely different cultures. Your expectations in your relationship are not equal to his.
Tip 2: Don’t feel the need to do everything together
Many European relations are focused on the nuclear family. First as boyfriend and girlfriend and later with the kids. You spend a lot of time together and work together as a family. In Ghana, this is different. Firstly, the extended family is just as important, and secondly, men and women keep many things separate. For example, many Ghanaian men grew up without eating with their mother and father at the same time.
Tip 3: Immerse yourself in Ghanaian culture
Ho, wait a minute, shouldn’t he delve into my culture, too? Yes, that would be fair. And often he does, whether he likes to or not. We European women are quite talkative and because of that he already hears a lot. However, there are many influences from the Ghanaian culture that directly affect your relationship. Consider, for example, the caring nature of many Ghanaian women.
How can I help you?
I can help you in many ways during your love in Ghana adventure! Did you know, for example, that I wrote an E-book about Ghana? This E-book guides you in Ghana, I describe a lot about the culture and about the differences with Europe. After reading, I’m sure you’ll be able to relate more clearly to certain things your boyfriend does!
Thanks to the bonus with the E-book, I’m probably going to see you and your love in Ghana in real life!
When you purchase ‘Everything you need to know when travelling to Ghana’ you’ll receive a free night’s stay with a delicious breakfast at Moon&Star guesthouse. Click on the button to read more, or to order now.
I want to experience what life is like in Ghana! A wonderful reason to come and volunteer in Ghana! You can already see it coming…. As beautiful as this reason is, it often goes ‘wrong’. I’m going to share in this article what I mean by this. But first I’m going to emphasize once again that I don’t want to discourage anyone from coming to Ghana! In contrary!!!! I would like everyone to come and discover Ghana.
But not to save Ghana…… To enjoy everything Ghana has to offer! Want to read what Ghana has to offer? Click here!
How can volunteering in Africa go wrong when the reason for coming is so good?
The food is dirty is a statement I have heard more than once from volunteers who stayed with a host family. It’s too hot, it’s too dusty, life is slow….. These statements have a few things in common. 1. The volunteers who have said this have all said that they want to experience life in Ghana. 2. The volunteers made these statements during their first week in Ghana. The statements are judgments, conclusions.
The good news is that many volunteers in Ghana eventually change their mind.
I get very happy when volunteers eventually adjust their opinions, judgment or conclusion. And fortunately, that happens very often. Those ‘crazy or dirty’ dough balls are eventually ordered into restaurants by the same volunteer who claimed it was dirty. The hot weather and the slower pace are missed when one is back in Europe and that dust, that becomes the charm of Africa.
How a mobile phone can stop you from experiencing life in Ghana
I want to experience life in Ghana….. And in the meantime, you’re sitting on your phone watching what parties you’re missing. Are you constantly video-calling people from home and telling you a hundred about life here in Ghana. But do you have time to experience life in Ghana? I know better than anyone how tempting the phone is and how much fun it is to take a look at this and check out Instagram… Unfortunately, I see many people who are left in the west by their mobile phone with 1 leg and are in Ghana with one leg. How can you experience life in Ghana?
My tip for you when you really want to experience Ghana or any other country in Africa
Volunteering in Africa is for yourself, it’s to give yourself the chance to learn, to experience and to enjoy in a culture that is different from yours. When you know that and realize it and when this is ok for you. Then a world opens up for you! Promised!
Can I help you prepare for your Ghana adventure?
I want to ensure that you come up with a mindset that allows you to enjoy, experience, experience and learn in Gha naA mindset that will ensure that your good intentions and good intentions do not inadvertently do more harm than good…
I’m very keen to help you on your way in Ghana and a good start for that is the E-book/ workbook that I released a few months ago.
“I want to do good in Africa” That’s what many people tell me when I ask; Why do you want to volunteer in Africa? My answer…. Then you should stay home and send a donation to a good (local) project. Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? It’s definitely not meant to be that way! I don’t want to scare you into coming either. Your visit to Ghana alone is helping the local economy, so your goal has already been achieved. Do you want to know why I’m taking this position anyway? Continue reading!
Why do you want to do good in Africa?
Because Africa is poor. People are pathetic. They need help. There’s nothing in Africa. Africa is torn apart by war and dictators. There’s no water in Africa. People don’t have houses. Africans are hungry. Babies are sick. This is the image that many Westerners (unconsciously) have of Africa. But what is this image based on? And is it? Are all 54 African countries poor? Are there no houses in Ghana?
Why can’t you just stay in Ghana for a long time?
You can also come to Africa with a different mindset. You can see your adventure as a journey where you experience, get to know a different culture and can explore another country. When you go to a Western country for a longer period of time, do you also feel the necessity want to contribute?
What is good doing in Africa anyway?
I often see projects where European young people literally come to build houses in Ghana. The young people are happy because they really do their bit. They are very busy with mason and carpenter work. Until they’re tired… Why do they build in Ghana with these huge blocks? And why do they mix the cement with a shovel and not with a machine? What these young people don’t know is that if they weren’t there, the house would be finished much faster.
What skills do you have to help in Ghana or other countries in Africa?
This question is in line with the previous question. And the question could be even more extensive. What skills do you have that local people don’t have? For example, it is very nice to help paint and there are certainly projects where volunteers, also local volunteers, paint. Especially when there is little money available. But there are also professional painters in Africa. What is more sustainable? That the Western volunteer paints, or that the Western volunteer raises funds so that a local painter can be hired? This question naturally applies to all possible skills.
“But Pat, with Moon&Star guesthouse, don’t you offer volunteer placement?”
Someone from a volunteer organization asked this question this week, quite rightly, in response to the Ghana coach’s posts over the past few weeks on Social media. And it’s a question I’ve asked myself many times over the years. And ultimately the reason why volunteer work through Moon&Star guesthouse has changed dramatically over the last couple of years. Click here to read more about the sustainable volunteering Moon&Star guesthouse is offering!
I want to encourage everyone to come to Africa, also for a longer period!
I’m not asking these questions to discourage you from coming to Ghana. In contrary!!!! I want everyone to discover Ghana. But not to save Ghana…… To enjoy everything Ghana has to offer! And enjoying that is fine when you come to volunteer in Ghana or the rest of Africa. I just want to make sure that you come with a mindset that allows you to enjoy, experience and learn. A mindset that will ensure that your good intentions do not inadvertently do more harm than good…