Overall Rating:/ 10I signed up for a medical program. I went in without many expectations and I’m so glad I did because I ended up doing things I would have never expected. The local team was great in setting up outreach programs which were fantastic (although of course with any developing country the frustration always lies in whether or not the patients will follow up or be able to afford to continue their treatment), however my day to day “work” in the clinic or hospital would be better suited for a medical student (which I’m sure is the majority of medical internship volunteers), not a practicing provider. It was mostly observation and education. I truly did appreciate the education as I don’t see tropical diseases where I’m from nor do I see many HIV patients. It was fantastic seeing and learning about diseases I had only read about. But, i came to Ghana to be productive. A few weeks in I did see an opportunity to be more productive when one of the boys in our orphanage was not enrolled in school and so I decided to move away from the medical program and more into teaching him English and how to read. The local team okayed the switch (even though I still went to the clinic a couple of times a week). This by far was the biggest challenge and I am so grateful to have taken this on. This little boy taught me so much more than I ever expected to learn. Pablo taught him math and did a great job. We fell in love with the boys and in the orphanage and the kids in the community.
I have been in many developing countries so nothing really surprised me here. The biggest disappoint for me was all the trash everywhere (beach, street, parks). Our accommodations were clean and comfortable.
Project & Staff
The local team manager and her staff were GREAT. They took such good care of us. I really appreciate all the steps they took to ensure our safety, comfort and transition into a new country. I also appreciate how flexible they were in me changing up my program, as mentioned above.
Go with an open mind because things don’t always go as planned. Be flexible. Be patient. I think an actual practitioner needs to be aware that the only hands on experience will be through outreach programs that the local team can definitely set up. That practitioner should be prepared to either bring medicine or purchase medicine for the people after seeing them because the people won’t be able to buy it for themselves most likely. I ended up exceeding my budget (which I’m ok with) by buying medication for the people to at least start their treatments but it’s something to consider prior to going.