While many university students spent their summers in minimum wage jobs or fetching coffee, I spent mine interning in Ghana.
In case you need a little geography and history lesson, Ghana is located in west Africa, and shares borders with Cote D’Ivoire, Togo and Burkina Faso. It’s also one of Africa’s leading examples for democracy; it was the first sub-saharan country to gain independence from its colonial power, and since the 1992 constitution was approved there have been five relatively democratic elections.
I traveled to Ghana with the Canadian ngo, Journalists for Human Rights, as one of five university interns. My internship was spent in the newsroom of an English radio station, Kapital Radio, in the country’s second largest city, Kumasi. Four days a week I would head to the station to work on daily news bulletins, go out to cover stories with local journalists, then head back to the station to edit sound clips and write scripts. Every Saturday I would help produce Ghana’s only exclusive human rights talk show, Know Your Rights, hosted by my supervisor, Muftaw Mohammed. Each week we would tackle one of the country’s human rights issues, from the highly controversial homosexuality to land rights under traditional rule.
Though I only worked at the station four days a week, I didn’t exactly get a long weekend. On top of the work I did at Kapital Radio, I had a series of deliverables to be completed for jhr, including weekly video and written blogs and research on Maternal Health. So I got to see a lot of adorable Ghanaian babies.
My summer wasn’t all work though. During our week long vacation, one of my Canadian colleagues and I traveled through six regions – from Accra to Bawku – in eight days, with many stops along the way. All on buses and tro-tros, which are kind of like a large van. Throughout my 14 weeks in Ghana I went on a walking safari at Mole National Park, trekked through the forest at the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, watched the national soccer team play and hung out at a popular beach spot at night.
My experience wasn’t your typical going to Africa to do development work and think you’re saving the world experience. I learned more from my time in the country than I’m sure anyone learned from me. I stumbled my way through Twi, the local dialect in Kumasi; learned how to properly eat fufu (a local dish) with my hands and learned about the history of the Ashanti people. The beautiful landscapes and welcoming people are just a few of the reasons I would recommend spending some time in Ghana.
Check out some of my amazing photos from Ghana below: