Humanitarian Adventure in Ghana
While you update your Facebook profile, catch up on favorite TV shows, and text your friends before you go to bed tonight, try imagining what it would be like to survive on less than $1 a day? You’d have no electronics, kitchen appliances, or even bathrooms with running water. This would be an enormous challenge for most of us, but for 4/5 people living in Africa, that is an everyday reality.
Fortunately, a group of motivated, adventurous and inspirational teenagers are currently in Ghana, referred to as “The Heart and Soul of West Africa,” traveling with GLA’s “Building Healthy Villages” Service Learning Program and discovering the challenges that the people of Ghana face. Over the 14 days they are spending abroad, they’ll provide important humanitarian efforts at the intersection of public health and poverty, and their hard work is essential in creating a more sustainable, healthy future for this colorful nation.
Although these students are putting in 4+ hours of hard work each day, helping to build sustainable composting systems and private restrooms that will help keep the people of a small fishing village outside of Accra safe, you’d never know that they had lifted a finger if you saw their smiles! While they are working to improve health conditions for the Ewe tribe who live in the village, they are also having the adventure of a lifetime!
“Guys, We’re in Africa!”
Read excerpts from the journals of Peter and Karisma, two GLA student volunteer who are currently in Ghana and see how they’re doing:
Peter: Today, after laboring over the foundations and floors of our compost toilets, we were fortunate enough to have a more relaxed schedule! After a spectacular breakfast prepared by the staff, we departed for the football (soccer) pitch for a game with the local children. During the 20-minute walk to the pitch, we passed through local villages and were showered with myriad smiles and cries of “Yevu yevu!” (white people!) from the children. After walking through a dense swamp, we arrived at the barren pitch only to find dozens of children performing unbelievable stunts with the soccer balls.
Although our GLA team didn’t win the tournament, we had a great time using our meager knowledge of Ewe (the native language) to meet and converse with the Ghanaian children. After a very late lunch, we spotted a six-year-old boy atop a massive coconut tree near our Home Base. The boy was cutting the fruit from the tree, and each one would fall fifty feet before landing with a resounding thud! The boy was kind enough to spare a coconut for each of us, so we enjoyed the sweet fruit together on a tree-shaded beach overlooking the Atlantic. Our group mate Jordan candidly pointed out, “Guys, we’re in Africa,” and we all laughed. It’s easy to forget just how incredible this experience is. Afterward, our group promptly jumped into the lagoon to cool down after all the day’s festivities!
Karisma: Everything in Ghana is extremely laid-back compared to life back in the US. Tonight, we contentedly sat around the table while enjoying the breeze and the sound of the Atlantic’s waves breaking on the beach. Just when we all thought it was time for bed, we spotted some of the staff dancing to Ghanaian music behind the bar table. Slowly, we all trickled into the room until it became a full-on Saturday night dance party! We even found out the names of the songs so we can find them on iTunes when we get home! Next, we took a walk along the Atlantic under a stunning full moon. Nobody wanted to leave after we finished our nightly leadership discussion, so we all decided to meditate for a bit at the foot of the waves. Overcome with a sense of inner peace, we headed back to the lodge for a good night’s sleep. The day’s events, however, were not over yet. As soon as I opened the door to our room, I saw a lizard sitting on the wall directly across from my roommate and I! After a chaotic 20-minute ordeal, the lizard was caught, thanks to the efforts of Peter and Steven. The adrenaline from the experience was such a drastic contrast from our meditation- our sincerest apologies to those who were disturbed in the process!
From the way that this group tells it, life in a country where 80% of people live on less than it would cost to buy a soda seems pretty amazing.
To learn more about Ghana, and how you can experience the serenity of culture worlds away from your own, schedule an appointment with one of our enrollment advisors today.