September 2019 – March 2020
When I decided I wanted to go abroad for one year about two years ago, I didn’t have any idea in what kind of project, with what type of people or even in which country this would bring me. To apply for a volunteer service at Baobab was the best decision I could have possibly made. Last September I entered the Baobab Center for the very first time and was overwhelmed. You can see pictures and read about it on the webpage or in a newsletter, but still you will never be able to imagine the complexity of this institution because you can not just describe Baobab in a few words. But I will try my best.
After my first week at Baobab, school started again and all the students came back from their vacation. Slowly I got to meet all of them and was able to find a routine in my working schedule. My tasks were in the academic as well as in the creative departments.
In the morning I supported Madame Hannah in teaching the Special Needs Class, which increased in in size in January. My work here has given me an incredible amount of pleasure and to work together with Madame Hannah in the lessons was perhaps sometimes a bit chaotic, but always eventful and joyous. Hannah taught me a lot, without even realizing it, especially about what it means to teach. The Special Needs Class was the main focus of my work at Baobab. Besides the Special Class you could often find me in the batik or sewing workshop.
On the weekend I was given the responsibility to lead the Beads Workshop, which was a bit confusing in the first weeks, but due to some failed attempts it turned out to be a happy and productive workshop. I also started a theatre group. We were able to write the play almost completely, but due to the sudden end of my work in Ghana we could neither perform nor rehearse it. Still it was a lot of fun time spent with the students.
One of the best features of this project is the diversity it brings. No day is the same and my schedule has changed or shifted regularly. Sometimes you plan a special event for the students, drive to Accra to buy new beads supplies, organize a fun evening with dancing, implement projects in the Baobab House, create sponsor profiles and help write the sponsor letters or play with the students. Therefore a large part of my work was also photographing and documenting, for which I am very grateful. I also got the opportunity to work more in the Baobab House and helped with the renovation of the shop and from this year on I was allowed to work shifts there as well.
During my intermediate seminar it became clear to me what a treasure Baobab is and how much this project should be appreciated. From the beginning I could feel comfortable and at home at Baobab, all teachers, staff and also all students were unbelievably welcoming and have grown dear to me. Only after a few days I miss being there already and I hope that I can continue my volunteer service with Baobab in Ghana as soon as possible. The students have become my friends and even though I was mostly Madame Elena to them, I had the honour of sometimes even being called Sister Elena by them. Every single one of them deserves Baobab and the chance for education so much and I wish them all the very best. Thanks to you if you supported these children and maybe have even taken over a sponsorship. Having a sponsor and especially receiving a letter always puts a big smile on their faces. I wish I wouldn’t have had to leave early and could have spent the remaining 5 months together with them, but unfortunately this is not possible at the moment. I thank Baobab for the time I had, there could not have been a better project for me. Baobab will always have a place in my heart.