Name: NICOLE ANNA DIETZEL
Country of origin: GERMANY
Program period: FEBRUARY-APRIL 2019 - 6 WEEKS
Placement: BRAIN AWARENESS
Country: GHANA – AFLAO
- Where were you? In Home of Brains, Aflao in Ghana. Worked in Aflao, but stayed in Denu.
- Type of Stay (Internship, Voluntary service…)? Internship in the psychology field.
- When and how long were you there? February until April 2019 for a total of 6 weeks
- Name of local coordinators? Justice Kumado
- Name of Institution? Home of Brains
- Name of Host family? Alice und Benson
- How did you enjoy your stay on a scale of 1-10 (where 1=not at all, 10= very much)? 8
- What expectations did you have when you were going to Africa and which of these were fulfilled? I did not have any concrete expectations, I was primarily interested in the care and treatment of mental health patients across Sudan. This experience (with all positive and negative aspects) enriched my understanding. The expectations were, through these experiences, fulfilled.
- What was particularly good? Support through the local coordinator was very good and cordial, also outside of the work setting there was ample communication.
- What could have been improved? As a result of few patients in Home of Brains, consistent and continuous therapies could not be carried out. Thus, my internship work on actual psychotherapy with patients at HoB fell to the background, and rather, I worked on bigger, newer projects (such as BrainDesk) or Brain Awareness Talks at schools.
2.) Local Coordinator
- Do you feel that your local coordinator supervised you in a competent manner? Yes, very. For example, in my time of illness, they were very good and went beyond the expected level of care.
- Did the local coordinator support you when you needed his/her help? Yes.
- Do you wish that the local coordinator would have spent more time with you? No, not necessarily, through the Brain Awareness talks and project meetings, I spent a lot of time with the mental health nurses.
- What was good? On-site support.
- What could have been improved? The procurement of the signature for the internship contract could have been organized on the day of my departure. Perhaps you can let future interns know in advance which signatures in which documents are necessary and set up a meeting with the signing authority (lead psychiatrist/psychologist) during the stay.
- How would you rate the work of the local coordinator on a scale of 1-10 (1= unsatisfactoru, 10= very good)? 9,5
- Do you feel that the institution looked after you well? Yes.
- Were your tasks clearly defined and easy to implement? I had to partially define my own tasks. A lot of self-initiative was necessary, though I did not find that to be negative. Perhaps you can communicate more strongly regarding the tasks in advance so that volunteers in Germany can prepare more concretely for them (researching for example).
- Did you have a local contact partner when necessary? Yes
- Did you have a structured daily routine? Yes
- Were your expectations fulfilled? Yes and no, the little number of patients at the center notably meant that there were little opportunities to implement therapies.
- What was good? The cohesion at the workplace, friendly and interesting team.
- What could have been improved? It could have been better communicated to potential interns that certain experiences were “unchartered territory” and that “student interns” from Germany are not panaceas for every situation. Sometimes I had the feeling that my competence was overestimated.
- How would you rate your workplace on a scale from 1-10 (1= unsatisfactory, 10= very good)? 8
4.) Host family
- Did you feel comfortable with your host family? Yes, very nice, courteous and cheerful people.
- Did the host family spend enough time with you? Yes they did, but sometimes I had to be clear with them about “break times” (for example, three funerals are sufficient to get a feeling for the length of them).
- Could you through your host family become acquainted with the land, the people, and the culture? At every moment.
- Did you have your own room at your host family’s home? Yes.
- Were you comfortable with the meals? Most of the time, yes. The host family took into account my dietary needs and dislikes.
- What was good? Helpful, friendly host family.
- What could have been improved? The location of the houses was not ideal, immediately in the neighborhood there is a prayer house that sometimes had Jukebox music at night and loud prayer. That impacted the quality of my sleep and sometimes made me tired during the day. (Complaining at a high-level 😊)
- How would you rate your stay with your host family on a scale from 1-10 (1= unsatisfactory, 10= very good)? 9
5.) Free time
- What did you do in your freetime? I led interviews for the Mental Health Expo, spent time at the beach in Denu, went on walks, photography, and had a lot of time for reading
- Did you explore alone or rather with people that you met in your stay? A bit of both. In Aflao and Denu, I was mostly on my own. During one stay in Kankum / Cape Coast with my host brother and other volunteers, one trip with my host family to Keta Lagoon and Ft. Prinzenstein.
- Do you have recommendations for other future volunteers? Cape Coast and the Kakum National Park are interesting, very historical places. Worth a visit.
- Do you have other tips? Sometimes, I had serious problems with my credit card. Perhaps in Germany, parents or friends can use Western Union should another volunteer also have problems with their credit card in the future.
- Did you feel well taken care of by “On the Move e.V.”? Yes
- Were your questions satisfactorily answered? Yes
- Was your stay in Africa organized satisfactorily? Yes
- What was good? The preliminary advice and support on site.
- What could have been improved? N/A
- How satisfied were you with the work from “On The Move e.V.” on a scale from 1-10 (1= unsatisfied, 10= very satisfied)? 9
- Can you represent our organization in the future (for example, supporting or speaking with future volunteers, or helping with fundraising)? Yes, primarily as a contact person for other future volunteers.
Name: LOREEN NATUSCH
Country of origin: GERMANY
Program period: 03/08/2014 - 3 WEEKS
Placement: HEALTH PROGRAM
Country: GHANA – AFLAO
My visit in Ghana was for 3 weeks. It was an amazing experience and IÅLve learned
a lot about the country, the culture and about myself.
I worked as an intern in the Sape Agbo Memorial Hospital in Aflao/Denu near the
border to Togo.
As a trainee to become a nurse I had a lot of work experiences but only in Germany,
so my question was: “How will it be to work in an African country?”
ThatÅLs why I decided to travel to Ghana.
My tasks at work varied from day to day. I had to check the patients vital signs, could
prepare the patient for examinations, had to prepare and to write the patients
documents and taking the medical history of the patients. Besides I had the
possibility to visit and help for deliveries. The hospital was very flexible, that’s why I
had the possibility to switch through the different wards and departments. There was
always something to do, it’s only important that you ask and show initiative by
yourself. In general I had to work from 8:00 – 12.00 a.m. and from 13:00 – 16:00 p.m.
On weekends, we had free time, so we could travel through the country, together with
the other volunteers.
But my best day was outside the hospital. For one day I had the chance to work in a
health station, to organize the first vaccinations for new born babies and to teach
young women and mothers in the use with contraceptives. It was a very busy and
interesting day, full of new experiences. After my time in Ghana, my opinion and
impression about Africa has changed. I visited a very open minded and safe country,
which is able to organize itself. And of course I had to become used to the special
motto: “No hurry in life.”
For me it was a great time and I’m already planning my next travel to Africa…