The Haj Adams' Clinic is a small hospital in the west of the city centre. It is meant for the poorest people of the city, who cannot afford to go to a "real" hospital. The prices in this clinic are very low: the only thing the patients have to pay are the materials.
The current clinic is based in a group of clay huts, and the facilities are very, very basic. The toilet is the most disgusting toilet I've ever seen in my life, the bedrooms are very small and very hot and the treatment rooms hardly have tools and materials.
The doctors and nurses who treat the patients have to make the best out of it, which often results in very poor treatment without any anaesthesia, and severe pain of the patients as a result of that. It is easy to judge the doctors as being insensitive, but if you just think about the things they have to treat the patients with, you just have to praise them for the work they do.
A new hospital is being built at the moment with the help of Dutch volunteers. The facilities will be much better in this new place, but there still is a lot of money needed to get the hospital ready for usage.
Working as a volunteer here is something I could never do. You have to be strong to deal with the things you see here, but it can be very satisfying to help the people with the best care you can give them.
Very close to "my" computerschool was this primary school. A lot of the children I have been teaching were attenting this school. The original building of "Zion's" was heavily damaged during a storm in 2005, when the roof was blown of. Ever since the children are being taught under an improvised roof of currugated iron and wooden poles. The furniture has been added in 2006, so now the students can sit down on decent chairs and benches.
The school is used for 6 classes: P1 until P6. Because there are only 5 "classrooms" available P1 is being taught outside, under the tree. The rest of the classes get their maths- and reading and writing-lessons inside. According to the maths, the students are doing very well. Sums until 100 can be done very well by the P6 children, of course with the usage of their fingers... But if you look at the level of reading and writing you immediately see that there is a big problem on that field. Even the P6-children, of the age of 10-12, are hardly able to read a text or to write a simple sentence.
The volunteers working here have taken care of the new shelter, the new furniture, and are working hard on implementing new teaching methods to improve -especially- the reading and writing level of the children.
During my stay in Tamale I worked at a small computerschool called Buzz Computer Center. This center was started by an American volunteer that stayed in Tamale until August 2006. The school teaches basic computerskills to Primary School children, from 4 schools in the direct surroundings of the center. Children from 9 years old to the age of about 14 are being taught here as well as the children of the community that don't attent school at one of these schools.
When I came there I had to teach a class that had never seen a computer before in their lifes. They didn't know the difference between a monitor and a mouse. I had to teach them that. And little by little they started to get more comfortable with the machine. At the end of my stay they were able to type texts in MS Word, safe them, open them, edit them... A great thing to see and very satisfying.
I also collected some money to pay for the future of the school. With the money I was able to pay for a year's rent for the classroom and I even could pay for a second room. After we broke down the wall in between the two classrooms we now have a big room with plenty of space for more computers in the near future.
Ghana is a popular destination for volunteers to work. The country is English-speaking, the country is safe and politically stable, and the country is in big need of people who would like to help a country in development. In Ghana itself, Tamale is a place where a lot of volunteers go to. When I was there, I worked there for two months as a volunteer. And in the same period I think that there were at least 50 other volunteers in the city.
Those volunteers came from all over the world: Holland, Belgium, Germany, the UK, Austria, Norway, Sweden, the USA, Japan... The biggest organisation that organises voluntary work in Tamale are Norghavo, SYTO, Voluntary Africa and Childaid. But I'm sure that there are much more that can organise something in Tamale.
In the following tips I will try to give you an image of what kind of work these volunteers do. I visited two other projects besides my own project. These are my impressions...