Dear Bubu & Susu family,
We miss you! Can you believe it has already been several months since we spent three
amazing weeks together in Ghana?! We hope you are all thriving back in school, sharing your
stories and photos of Ghana, playing “Sing My Name” and dancing agbadza for your friends.
You probably didn’t know what to expect when you signed up for this trip, or maybe you read
every single blog and Facebook comment from last year. But once here, we quickly became a
family and forged deep connections with each other. We have all been changed by the
experience and have taken a piece of each other – and of Ghana – back home. We would like to
invite you to take some time to reflect on the experience, the connections you made, and the
ways in which your GLA trip shaped you.
Remember when we drove up to the Pin Drop Hotel for the first time and were greeted
by swarms of excited children smiling, waving and yelling yevu? How friendly shouts of yevu
soon became the norm. We would have to pry you away from the kids to come to lunch, even
after long, hot hours of service, you were stuck like glue to their sweetness. Speaking of service,
Y’ALL MADE 2,200 BRICKS for Zico and Avete Basic Schools! AND WE SHAVED ALEX’S
BEARD. Enough said.
Do you remember how nervous you were the first day of teaching
compared to the tears you cried when you had to say good bye on the last day? It was amazing
to see you all gain confidence and incorporate your own creativity in the classrooms. Perhaps
even more inspiring than our own service were the many individuals and organizations we got to
meet. How inspired we were hearing Jeremiah’s story of rescuing Christian and starting Father’s
House. How amazing is it that his efforts also helped spark our dear Fafa’s work to start
Mother’s Heritage. Know that you can contribute towards those efforts and even begin your own
journey, no matter how small, to make a difference in people’s lives.
Remember when the monkeys were jumping all over us for bananas? When we stood in
awe under the strong misty spray from Wli Waterfall? When we sang along to songs countless
times on the bus rides, boat rides, and of course, the Saq Mobile. The countless dance parties
we had, at ANESCO High School or after the talent show, showing the locals the Cha Cha Slide
and Wobble, and learning Akwaaba and Azonto from Jerry and Wiz. We all looked so fabulous
in our handmade Ghanaian clothing on the final day banquet! Looking back on these memories,
we hope you feel immense happiness and pride. Don’t forget what you said you wanted to take
back with you. It’s never too late to reach out to someone— a fellow student or a staff, who you
want to keep in contact with! Don’t hesitate to reach out, it will surely make somebody’s day. We
Here’s some nuggets of advice from your wise mentors… 🙂
The most important thing I’ve learned from traveling in Ghana is to take it easy. Have patience
with others and with yourself. If you can fix it, then don’t stress about it. And if you can’t fix it,
then don’t stress about it! Life has a way of working itself out the way it was meant to be. I think
it’s impossible to go to Ghana and not feel the chill, welcoming vibe that emanates everywhere,
from the friendly smiles and waves, to the swaying palm trees lining cassava fields, to the
rhythmic sounds of hip life playing everywhere. Remember the simplicity of life, the way a cute
kid crawling on your back and mango for dessert was enough to make your day. The way you
could put up with the mosquitos and sweating and sand, for the sense of community, pride and
satisfaction of making a difference as our rewards. You adapted to a new group of friends, a
new routine, and a new culture, and that experience is one that will prepare you for success in
life like no other. I hope you take the lessons you learned— to be flexible to change, to embrace
discomfort, to look again at the stereotypes you’ve learned, to have a positive mindset, and
apply them when you face challenges at home. Ghana will always be with you in your heart!
And it will always be here for you to come back and visit. You know you are all welcome 🙂
Having just recently finished the session with you guys, I am humbled by your efforts here and
inspired by how you embraced this experience. We live in a strange time, when technology is
changing faster than our capacity to understand the repercussions of its usage. I too am guilty
of getting lost in the abyss of social media feeds late at night when I should be sleeping, or at
least using my phone for something more meaningful, like calling my mom. I hope that you are
all staying in touch – it is more likely than you think for your paths to cross again, given your
shared interest in travel.
I also hope, though, that you have taken from this experience the
valuable lesson of what it truly means to have a community, and to be present in your daily life.
It is so easy to let that voice inside your head write the script for your life, and to let the
monotony of routine dull your senses to what is important. Sometimes we need a change in
scenery, but more often than not what we really need is a change in perspective. That’s not to
say that you shouldn’t travel or chase more waterfalls – do it! But also remember that after the
waterfall and before the tears, there are all of those in-between moments. Seemingly pointless
homework assignments, awkward conversations, traffic jams, etc. Let your time in Ghana be a
reminder to take none of it for granted. Be present in those idle moments. Remember that just
as you impacted the lives of everyone here, so too can you have a profound impact on other
people wherever you may be. Also, tell your mom you love her.