Hi! I'm an English girl hoping to go to the Keta District in the Volta Region of Ghana in Jan 2008 with a charity group. I had an experience of a village such as the one i'll be visiting when i stumbled through a bush during a holiday three years ago to be met by 50 hungry, but grinning, children dressed in rags! I fell in love with this place and it's people and all but abandoned my four star holiday to spend everyday in the village. However my involvement was limited as, at the time i had my baby daughter with me and so we would return to our hotel to wash, toilet and eat.
The idea in Ghana is to live and work in a village with no running water, no toilet and limited choices of food. It's 3 hours to the mainland via a walk, boatride and drive. It will not be possible to get to the mainland often. I am planning on taking my four year old daughter with me and hope to stay for the minimum of 3 weeks to see what it is like. I have been told by the charity leader that he ensures that my daughter will be safe and that she will adapt to the conditions. However, despite being very familiar with the village life and it's people, it will be the first time he has lived in the village himself and so he cannot be absolutely certain of what i can expect for my child regarding living as the villagers do. Therefore, i'm writing to anyone with experience of taking a westernised child to a rural village. I would also appreciate anyones views, opinions, tips, advice etc. Is there anyone who lives in or near a village who can tell me how my daughter would be made safe, comfortable and how she will be helped to adapt to the village lifestyle? Thanks for reading this! Hope to get lots of replies!!
[ Edit: Edited on Mar 16, 2007, at 1:08 PM by ghanasgirl ]
I can't comment on what it's like to take a child to live in a village, but I can sort of comment on what it was like for me living in a village as young child. I say sort of, because I was 5 or 6 when we moved to a larger town and so don't necessarily remember as much as I'd like. We did go back several times though and I have nothing but fond memories. We lived in a very rural situation, a couple of hours tractor drive (the only transport) from the local airport and then a few hours to the main island. I'm not sure what you mean by 'no running water and no toilet', but hope that it means 'no flushable toilet and no mains water'. Our house had a pit toilet and a rainwater tank for water and I pretty much consider that as appropriate facilities. And there was a pump down the road to get more fresh water. Clearly fresh running water is something that is needed for yours and your child's health.
At 4 years age, I would suggest that your daughter will probably have an easier time adapting to the situation than you will. Kids just love making friends with other kids and I have no doubt that your daughter will soon be running around and grinning along with all her new friends. I imagine leaving again will probably be your greatest challenge
Thanks Peter! I was just told we have to wash from a rainwater bucket but that there is safe water to drink. maybe this means there is a minimal fresh water supply. i'll check. Also, i was told there is a pit toilet but that it is really unpleasant and that 'going' in the ground, somewhere secluded may be prefered...i was thinking of maybe taking a potty. Anyway, your advice was very much appreciated and i'm looking forward to everyone on this site being as friendly and helpful! Thanks again!!!:
expect a change of lifestyle for your daughter. Life might be alittle bit harsh on her. you will have to teach her to wash her hands after playing, eat washed fruits,drink clean water infact you will have to get bottled water and there is the issue of mosquitoes.
Carry insect repellants
the best thing is you keeping an eye on your daughter and you teaching her how to keep her self clean and safe.
Tanks very much Maasai! In fact it was Kenya where i first saw village life! Thanks for your advice for my little daughter.