Volunteer Time Off
In late September I had brunch with my friend Susan and posed to her a first-world problem: For Thanksgiving, do I go to a health spa? Or do I do a volunteer trip to Ghana? Her response, “Ghana? I’ll go to Ghana.” 24 hours later we were booked with flights and two spots on Cross Cultural Solutions’ week-long Insight Abroad.
It’s difficult to find volunteer abroad trips that are only one-week long. A person can only do so much in one week so most organizations offers trips that are 2+ weeks. Not only does my company give me 6 days a year for volunteer time off (VTO), but Salesforce.com is also associated with CCS and so our employees do a lot of the one-week Insight Abroad trips.
The 10-hour direct flight from JFK to Accra, if you don’t count the fact that – on boarding – I got upgraded and Susan didn’t. I paused for second of feeling bad and then Susan said, “Are you kidding? Enjoy!” I at least gave her my neck pillow. That means I’m a good friend, right?
The flight was an hour delayed and in true Heidi form I spent the time getting to know the pilots and the cockpit.
When we got to Accra Susan and I wandered around the airport, dodging taxi touts and looking for our CCS pickup. He finally found us outside under the crowded overhang and took us in to meet the other people who had come on our flight: Kathryn, Dale, Andreia, Isaac, Ivan, and Emily. Then we climbed into a van and began the long 4.5 hour drive from Acrra to HoHoe (pronounced “Ho-Hway”).
We landed in HoHoe after dark and were shown around the CCS “Home Base”, which is a hostel-like building with 5 bedrooms with 2 bunks each room, a kitchen, a dining room, and a common area. We were all so tired and worn out from the flights plus the long, hot drive that we threw our bags down, ate dinner, and then crashed.