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Hi all,<br><br><br><br>
I wonder if anyone can help me - I'm going to volunteer in Ghana for 4 months (leaving in December), and I'm a little concerned about getting all the nutrients/protein etc. that I need when I'm there. I'll be staying with a family in a rural area, and I understand that the staple diet is generally some sort of meat or fish stew with rice or cassava or something - so I might well be limited to eating rice and fruit for the whole time.<br><br><br><br>
I was thinking that it would be a good idea to take some sort of supplements with me (protein/ vitamins etc) - maybe spirulina? Ideally I don't want to have to take a whole suitcase of the stuff so something compact would be ideal - does anyone have any recommendations?<br><br><br><br>
Also it would be great to hear from anyone else who's done Peace Corps, VSO or other volunteering in West Africa, who can offer me any other advice.<br><br><br><br>
Peace,<br><br>
Harriet
 

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hmm thats tough. i would also take with you some peanut butter and a bag of trail mix or some kind of nuts to snack on while you are there so you can get enough protein. also the supplements is a good idea. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Peanuts are extremely common all over africa and are packed with protein. You'll do fine with them.<br><br><br><br>
FuFu in the morning meal should be vegan and will fill you with starches for the days work. Ask for meatless Jollofs for veggie and rice dish. You should be able to find beans or black eyed peas. Remember rice and beans is a complete protien. Maize/corn is very common as well. Again, corn and beans is a complete protien. Just get some peanut butter to keep in your bunk just in case.<br><br><br><br>
You won't have a problem getting protein. Most westerners eat too much protein anyways.
 

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Hi Harriet -<br><br><br><br>
How exciting! I have never been to Ghana, but have Ghanaian friends who rave about it.<br><br><br><br>
You're right - the main meal will probably be a meat/fish stew, scooped up with fufu, which is a paste-like substance generally made from cassava (could also be yam or plantain). Particularly in the rural areas, I think the stew tends not to have a huge amount of meat/fish (especially if they use smoked or dried fish, which can be very pungent), because of the expense. As you get to know the family you will be staying with I'm sure you could get them to put aside some of the stew before they add the meat/fish, and still end up with something quite substantial. You will also have to make sure they leave out the dried powdered shrimp or herring, which I think is quite common. Palm oil is used widely - watch out if you're not used to it, as it can take a bit of getting used to.<br><br><br><br>
You should also be able to get beans, rice and peanuts (also called groundnuts) from markets. Depending on where you are, and how often you have access to a market, fresh fruit/vegetables may be a problem.<br><br><br><br>
I would take a good multivitamin with me, as well as a bunch of protein bars for the times when you're struggling and need something to fill yourself up quickly. I wouldn't take protein powder, as it can get clumpy and you would need filtered water to drink it. You may also want to take a few hearty soup packets along with you - you can reconstitute them with boiling water and, if you add a bit less water than recommended on the packet to get to a stew-like consistency, could eat that with the fufu so as not to seem too "picky". Personally, I would also take along bags of tart dried fruits because I find that I crave something crunchy and sour after constantly eating boiled/cooked vegetables.<br><br><br><br>
Non-food items to take: ziplock bags and that hand sanitizer gel stuff.<br><br><br><br>
Anyway, those are just some initial thoughts. I'm sure you'll do great!
 

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Cassava doesn't contain much protein. And staying in a rural area with a local family might pose a question or two. Your family might be adapted to another diet and if you omit some items they eat (fish, meat even in small amounts), you might not get enough of what you need. So best is to check your possibilities in local supply (beans, nuts) as soon as you arrive.
 

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Others covered it pretty well...I don't think you'll have a problem finding protein. Is your host famliy already aware of your dietary lifestyle though? Also, I'd definitely take along some B12, since it's unlikely to show up in your diet there.
 

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i think that, in this circumstance, it would be appropriate to eat available foods tomake sure that your nutrient needs get met. if you think that can be done (and it might well be done, since many cultures in africa do use a number of different kinds of beans and grains as well as fruits and vegetables) as a vegetarian, then do so. But if not, then the situation requires eating meat, which takes out the moral issue related to not eating it.<br><br><br><br>
but, it doesn't make it any emotionally easier or even taste-easier, you know what i mean? i mean, i am willing, when travelling in a developing nation, to forgo vegetarianism IF i absolutely have to (i've never had to but i only spent seven weeks in kenya, largely in areas with a number of westerners--developed areas or resort-like areas), but the very concept of eating meat just turns me off (taste wise), and emotionally, it's quite a hurdle.
 
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