Karen Dennehy: Orphanage and HIV/AIDS Volunteer in Ghana

Karen volunteered in Ghana in a combination program of orphanage and HIV/Aids volunteering. Karen, who has has a Bachelors degree in Sociology, wrote to us about her experiences:

“First of all I want to thank you Scott so much for coordinating this trip! It was one of the most incredible experience of my life. I don’t know how to put it all into words. From the moment we stepped off the plane I felt comfortable and accepted. Our Coordinator Elvis met us with a smiling face at the airport. He was amazing — showing us around, introducing us to our host family, his family and friends. Even though we were only there for two weeks we saw so much (Accra, Cape Coast, Kakum, Monkey Sanctuary, Wli Falls) — thanks to Elvis! I can’t thank Cosmic Volunteers enough for all your support!” 

Here is more of Karen’s feedback on her volunteer programs in Ghana.

The Pretrip Guide

Since I have very limited experience traveling oversees I was quite nervous and afraid I wouldn’t know everything I would have to do to prepare myself. Your pre-trip guide was a lifesaver!!

Local Coordinator

I don’t know how to express how great Elvis was! He is an amazing person and so helpful..truly an inspiration. He picked us up from the airport, gave us a tour of the city the next day (he was our own personal tour guide the entire trip). It felt more like family then anything.

Host Family

Our host mothers, Effie and Joyce (we stayed with two families) were amazing. Both women were very friendly, hospitable and I felt like family to them. Staying with a host family is truly a way to immerce yourself in the culture.


We did so much site-seeing in such a little time! We went to Cape Coast, Kakum, Wli Falls, HoHoe, a monkey sanctuary. In Cape Coast we toured the Cape Coast Castle..We walked into the dark cellars were slaves were held..that was really powerful. HoHoe and Wli Falls were very beautiful.

Did volunteering abroad changed you in any way? Would you volunteer again?

Absolutely. It was (and still is) difficult coming back to the States after leaving Ghana. In Ghana people have so little yet they are so happy (so different from so many Americans). Visiting Ghana has made me want to be a better person. I understand that I don’t need so many material possessions..I now want to live a more simpler life. I have worked in the human service field my entire life. Before going to Ghana I was starting to feel burnt out at my job. I was feeling frustrated by bureaucracy and what I felt to be lack of support and services for the people I serve (I work with developmentally disabled individuals). I now understand how fortunate and how many services we do have in the States and for that I am grateful and will not take anything for granted.

Karen Dennehy (USA)
Orphanage and HIV/AIDS Volunteer in Ghana