As the first colonized country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence, Ghana is a nation that prides itself in its progress while rooting itself in tradition. GESI students will live and work in Jukwa in central Ghana, about 30 min from Cape Coast. Jukwa is a proud farming town close to Kakum National Park, with the Sweet River at its core.
Life in Jukwa used to revolve around the Sweet River. Like many African towns, Jukwa has grown rapidly; just a decade ago, there was no electricity, public water, or cell service. However, with rapid changes often come a new set of problems—in this case, overgrazing, soil erosion, and water pollution.
Through partnerships with Amizadeand local organization Peace Humanity International (PHI), GESI students have the opportunity to work on a river reforestation project along the Sweet River.
The nearby palm oil factory and recently completed library also offer involvement in literacy, agriculture, and sustainable community development. Amizade is the pioneer of the Fair Trade Learning principals, a set of standards for ethical and fair engagement for both volunteers and host communities.
THE COMMUNITY EXPERIENCE
Most of the Ghanaian host families are considered middle income and are eager to involve students in their lives. One of the biggest social activities is funeral attendance, so it’s not uncommon for students to be invited to funerals, which will likely feel more like a celebration than mourning. Cooking is another central activity, and most food preparation takes time. While some homes will have stoves, many others cook on charcoal outside the home.
Amizade offers daily Twi lessons for students, as well as opportunities to learn traditional drumming and dancing and hear local community speakers.