FAQs about Peace Corps in Ghana
From Peace Corps Wiki
How much luggage will I be allowed to bring to Ghana?
The authorized baggage allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight allowance of 50 pounds for any one bag.
Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (short-wave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an important safety precaution. Please check the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website for a detailed list of permitted and prohibited items at http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/permittedprohibited-items.shtm.
What is the electric current in Ghana?
If you have electricity, the current is 50 cycles, 220 volts. There are surges and cuts, which put a strain on voltage converters and appliances, so bring good-quality items. We recommend CD players that use “D” batteries since “C” batteries are a little harder to find. “AA,” as well as watch and calculator batteries, are easy to find. Highly recommend rechargeable batteries.
How much money should I bring?
Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. They are given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover their expenses. Often Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Travelers checks are preferable to cash. If you choose to bring extra money, plan on bringing the amount that suits your own personal travel plans and needs.
When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may not be taken during training, the first three months of service, or the last three months of service, except in conjunction with an authorized emergency leave. Family and friends are welcome to visit you after pre-service training and after the first three months of service as long as their stay does not interfere with your work. Long-term visitors are only permitted with the prior approval of the Contry Director. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa or travel assistance. However, if your family or friends plan to visit you in Ghana, they are welcome to contact the Peace Corps/Ghana country desk at Peace Corps headquarters at 202.692.2326/7 for a letter addressed to the Ghanaian Embassy, requesting their assistance to obtain a tourist visa.
Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects. Such insurance can be purchased before you leave. Ultimately, Volunteers are responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms have been enclosed, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. Further information about insurance should be obtained by calling the company directly.
Volunteers should not ship or take valuable items overseas. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, iPods, laptop computers, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.
Do I need an international driver’s license?
Volunteers in Ghana do not need to get an international driver’s license. Operation of vehicles is prohibited.
What should I bring as gifts for Ghanaian friends and my host family?
This is not a requirement. A token of friendship is sufficient. Some gift suggestions include: knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; or photos to give away.
Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
Peace Corps trainees in Ghana are assigned to individual sites during the second week of pre-service training. Most Volunteers will live in small towns or in rural villages, but will usually be within three to four hours from the nearest Volunteer. Some sites will require a two- to three-day drive from the capital.
How can my family contact me in an emergency?
The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, you should instruct your family to notify the Office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the special services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For non-emergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580, extension 2327/6.
Can I call home from Ghana?
Yes. The international phone service to and from Ghana is good. The Ghana telephone agency has offices and phone booths located in major cities and some smaller towns. There are direct lines to the United States in regional capitals. You can purchase a phone card locally to make international calls, or see mobile phones, below.
Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
You are supposed to be living at the local level, and, in most cases, that does not mean having access to a cell phone. However, many Ghanaians are now able to purchase mobile phones. If you need a cell phone for your job, there are many available in Ghana although coverage is not yet available in all parts of the country.
Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
There are more and more places (Internet cafés and com centers) springing up around Ghana although most are still in the larger towns and cities. Most Volunteers are able to access such places once a month or, at best, every two weeks. There are Peace Corps Volunteers with laptops, and some find them useful in their jobs. Even if you do not bring a laptop, it is recommended that you bring a high density memory stick, sometimes called a pen drive or flash drive. They can hold huge quantities of data. Volunteers like to keep letters, e-mails, photos, and project proposals, lesson plans, etc. They are far more reliable than floppy disks or CDs. They can be purchased for around $30 (U.S.).