March 25 2017
I’ve been back from Ghana for a little over a week and I’ve been reminiscing about my time there. It is crazy how things are so different but some things are so similar. I wanted to write my last blog and let you know what I learned.
What I loved about Ghana was the sense of community and respect everyone had for each other. They took pride in what they did and everyone was responsible for their friends and neighbors. They respected and valued their elders. I learned about a new culture and made friends with kids who seemed so different at first but actually we are not that different after all. I learned what it was like to stand out in a crowd and I also learned how to handle it.
In the US everything is so fast paced and material focused. Everyone seems wrapped up in their own little world and are sometimes unaware of their surroundings. Then there is the phone and social media addiction that is just our way of life growing up in the US. (If you know me, you won’t believe that I’m actually saying that it is so restraining.)
Ghana was so refreshing because it gave me a break from the fast pace that I was used to and allowed me to be in the moment. My phone wasn’t in my hand 24/7. I didn’t feel the need to be texting or on social media. I was aware of the world around me and wasn’t so focused on the tiny world inside my phone. It reminded me a bit of being a kid when there was no phone or people to impress. It was amazing!
The kids are genuinely happy and thankful for what they have despite it being nothing by our standards. They are grateful for the little things, food, clothing and a chance at education. It was amazing to walk into town to Jimmy Com, a small restaurant bar and local dance place. They welcomed us, we felt safe and respected. We were able to see where some the kids lived and also meet their families.
We met one girl from Heritage Academy who walked 5 miles to school starting in pre k. Heritage has since started a bus route. When I try to visualize a preschooler walking on the side of the rode it reinforces to me what we take for granted. The children we met didn’t want things from us. They were curious and happy to spend time with us and thankful we came to teach them and get to know them.
It’s amazing that maybe they have it figured out. It sort of gave me a glimpse or took me back to see vaguely what it was like in the old days before internet and the wired world. Back when playing, talking and being in the moment was life. Hopefully, I will be able to keep a part of that with me as I go through life.
The people of Ghana and the kids especially taught me more than I could of ever taught them and for that I’m thankful. Kwesi and Westtown gave me an experience that will never leave me. The kids gave me unconditional love, affection and a renewed hope in society.
They have a word for foreigners, Obruni, and despite the Obruni’s being different from them, they’ are welcomed and embraced fully.
It felt so freeing to be in a place where life wasn’t self-oriented. Everything was inclusive and group centered (even the meals).
Our county could learn a lot from this tiny village in Ghana. I wish others could have the chance to experience it. The kids in Ghana made me realize its the little things and moments that make you happy. They were also amazing at giving hugs and I miss that too. To them photographs and pictures are truly treasured and I’m thankful because I have so many pictures to remind me of this wonderful Village.