Whanganui's Sam Collins had been working in construction in Edinburgh, Scotland before he travelled to Ghana in mid March to help his friend, fellow Kiwi Jaimee Perrett, build the Good Foundation School in the rural village of Tetrem.
The country's borders closed "without warning" the day after he arrived as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and Collins has remained in Ghana ever since.
"I met Jaimee in 2016 and she told me about her experience teaching in this village back in 2014, and she's the one running the [Good Foundation School] project," Collins said.
"I donated to the fundraiser in 2019 on Kickstarter and Jaimee invited me to come help a team of other volunteers to help rebuild this school."
The best thing Ghana did to combat Covid-19 was to close the borders early, Collins said, and he had his temperature checked and went through a thermal scanner as soon as he arrived in the country.
"Churches and schools were closed quickly too, and they have only just started reopening with strict rules in place, like hand washing, compulsory masks and social distancing," he said.
"There is a lot of elderly in the village and we only have a small clinic.
"The people here have been so welcoming, and everywhere I go I'm greeted and asked how I'm doing.
"The family we stay with cook for us and provide a room for us to sleep in. We live with a family of 17 and there's always a lot of laughs, dancing, singing and playing."
Covid-19 had meant the people of Tetrem were struggling financially, Collins said, and the Good Foundation volunteers had helped the family buy food and pay bills.
"If we didn't, some of the children wouldn't have been able to stay here."
Collins said the building project had slowed because of Covid-19, and the days were "feeling a lot longer".
"I've been invested in the family farm here, and we're growing corn, groundnut, plantain, paw paw and cashew trees.
"I've got some side projects, like building a table tennis table for the school and repairing furniture for the classrooms.
"We are keeping ourselves busy with odd jobs, washing laundry by hand, planning the next stage, and rethinking ideas about how to get the school finished amidst a pandemic."
While the school was yet to be completed, Collins said he wouldn't be staying until the end of the build.
"I was only meant to be here three weeks and now it's been four and a half months.
"We're all just trying to get home now so we can find work and see our families, but I hope to come back in the future to work on other projects around the school."
The Good Foundation School project can be found online at
https://www.facebook.com/GFSTetrem and https://www.instagram.com/gfstetrem/