Day 2: Hello Ghana, I have arrived. It has been a yearly routine for me to believe that I am always prepared and know exactly what I am getting myself into. But reality is that I (extremely) overestimate my so called “readiness” when jumping into a foreign situation. I am currently in my host dad’s house bringing my thoughts together. The journey to this very rural village of Tafi Atome was no walk in the park. It was more like 4 and a half hours in a van packed full of people with little to no air conditioning. The roads were bumpy, but the scenery was breathe taking- from beautiful country sides to beautiful people living their everyday lives. There is a beauty in Ghana that is rare elsewhere, they are full of joy. Come here and you’ll know what I mean. To give you an example, Emmanuel was the first person I met and he has never stopped loving me so well. He helps run Compassionate Journeys and He surely does it with a humble heart. My host dad, Wilson, is a wonderful man too. He generously opens up his home to volunteers. He is a chair member of the Ghana Organization for the Disabled. He literally gives his life to others and does it with a smile on his face. Did I mention that Wilson is blind? Yes. I have only know him for a day and I already feel inspired in ways I did not know was possible. He trains the blind to use walking sticks and gives them skills to go after their passions. It is safe to say he understands what being alive means.
Side Note: let me know if anyone has any ideas or ways to donate to Wilson’s life dedication. Walking sticks and wheelchairs that are easily accessible on dirt roads are definitely needed, and anything else one can think of! PRAYERS always encouraged.
Back to my transition into Ghana… bucket showers are surprisingly very refreshing. Maybe that is because I have never been in a more hot and humid climate? Maybe I should’ve cut my long locks of hair off before I came… I’ll just find scissors here. The first days here have been uncomfortable, yet satisfying. Lonely, yet fulfilling. Overwhelming, yet perfect.
Welcome home, Hannah
DAY 5: It’s the end of the day- the power is out and all I can hear is rain falling on the tin roof of Wilson’s house. Yes, it may be over 100 degrees right now, but it truly makes one grateful for a tiny ceiling fan that was once spinning. I’m praying for the power to quickly turn back on and if not, I’m praying for snow…
This past weekend was the beginning to a great adventure. Tafi Atome (the Ghanian village I’m living in) is a place where welcomes and hugs are necessity for travelers. You’ll never pass someone on the street without gaining a new best friend. The food is amazing, thanks to the wonderful Mother Teresa ( aka Vinolia). She even caters to the crazy ways of a vegetarian…..guilty. I am grateful enough to be spending a lot of quality time with Vinolia. We went to a beautiful church service together and we also spent the afternoon picking mangos a mile or so up from the village. Her company is a blessing.
DAY 8: The first week of school is almost over. What a crazy fun week it has been. I have been assigned to teach kindergarten (of course, I was jumping for joy!)- they are VERY energetic, excited to answer the questions, absolutely the most adorable human beings, and yet the most easily distracted human beings…. That may even be an understatement. The village now knows me as Miss. Hannah Banana. My class has 46 kids, leaving me with no time to take a breath. Everyday after school I am exhausted, but I can’t get myself to leave the school. They are my family now. I don’t even notice the sweat dripping off my face or the dirt I am covered in- they make life fulfilling. My prayers no longer start with my needs, there for my students. Mata and her beautiful peacefulness. Porcia and her courage to be strong. Denis and his happy soul. Filisha and her bunches of energy. Wallapee and her love for others. Those are my prayers, that God shines their beautiful gifts everyday. I understand now why I was drawn to work with Compassionate Journeys. Alongside the teaching, the volunteers are implementing a new project in the village. It is going to consist of exercising, theatre, art therapy, sex education, woman empowerment and bible studies. I am beyond excited for this project. Be expecting many updates on this!