Priceless two months volunteering with TANF
Hi! My name is Brittany Wiafe, a student at the University of North Carolina. I had the amazing opportunity to spend two months volunteering with the Anidaso Nsae Foundation. The time I spent volunteering was truly remarkable. I worked as a medical volunteer in the Senya Health Care center in Senya Breaku (about a 2 hour drive outside of Accra). I spent weekdays at the clinic, after the work day I was able to go to Becky’s Home (a local orphanage) or just chill, and on weekends I was able to travel the Ghana!
The departments of the clinic I spent considerable time in included outpatient delivery, maternity, lab, reproductive child health, records, and consulting. In each department, I got to learn so much about not only the medical practices that occurred, but also about the health problems afflicting the community. From this, I saw the problems Senya faces with the prevalence of malaria, hypertension, and unplanned pregnancy. With these problems realized, I was able to work with other medical volunteers to hold health education and medical screening events. The first was a family planning education event. In this, we targeted the women of the community and discussed the benefits of family planning and debunked some of the misconceptions holding women back from using contraceptives. The next was a malaria screening event held in Wiae, a village in the Northern Region of Ghana. We heard of the major health risks of the community, including a high prevalence of malaria, snake bites, and water borne disease, and decided to fundraise for the trip up to Wiae to help as much as we could. We ended up testing around 1,200 people for malaria (of which, close to 50% were positive), dressed wounds, wrote referrals for health risks, were able to provide malaria medicine to all that were positive and deworming medicine to all that attended. At this screening, we also discussed with the community members present ways to prevent malaria, snake bites, and hygienic practices to decrease the prevalence of water borne disease. In my last week in Senya, I was also able to go to a local school to discuss the aspects of healthy relationships. Walking around Senya, you see a few of concerning relationships where the health of the women involved is questionable. It was my hope that with this education, I could equip the younger generation with the tools to stop these concerning relationships.
I also greatly enjoyed the time I was able to spend away from the clinic. The reproductive health units and mental health units hold community outreach events during the week that volunteers are welcome to join. I was able to attend a couple and would definitely recommend them! I also was able to grade papers at a local school for a couple days. This perspective on the community was eye-opening to see. In this, I became aware of the great job the educators in Senya were doing and how many more children need to be enrolled in school. I also grew attached to the children at Becky’s Home. They are ALWAYS overjoyed to see volunteers and the time I spent with them meant so much to me. In my free time, I also was able to take Twi lessons taught by a teacher at the local school. This meant a lot to me because my parents are Ghanaian and I have always wanted to learn my mother tongue. I also could hold conversations with patients, the kids at the home, and community members easier through these lessons. On the weekends, my destinations included Cape Coast, Kumasi, Accra, Wli Waterfalls, and local beaches. I would recommend each of the places I was able to visit!
Of course, my two months did not come without trouble. I had to adjust to bucket baths and no running water. There were times the food portions didn’t quite meet my appetite. There were sometimes one too many volunteers at the medical clinic limiting the work one could do. Despite these troubles, I would not trade my time in Senya for anything. I was able to connect to my culture and passions so easily in this environment. I know I will be back to Senya and would recommend TANF to someone looking for a life-changing volunteer experience. Laud was also a pleasure to work with and will respond promptly to any problem you may face. If you have questions, feel free to ask Laud for my contact to chat more!