To all of the fantastic individuals that made up our first Ghana: Children of Africa group at the Pin Drop Hotel Home Base in Anloga, we hope you are all doing well! It is a little crazy to realize so much time has already flown by since we were fortunate enough to spend an incredibly memorable three weeks together in Ghana. This ‘Time Capsule Letter’ is a great way to look back on the people we met, the places we saw, and the experiences we shared together.
Hopefully all of you are able to think back fondly on your time building one of the 2,670 bricks our group made, or one of the classes you taught at Avete, Zico, and Hafiakor Schools, or the relationships you built with the local community, the school children in Anloga, and each other, and you are able to smile, laugh, and appreciate our shared experiences in Ghana. As you all know, your group was the first of the summer for our Anloga staff team, and we couldn’t have been happier with how great it turned out!
We were incredibly fortunate to have such an interesting group of people that supported each other and got along so well from the very beginning of our time together. You guys were all awesome and it made the experience so much more rewarding to have been able to share it with so many other great people, and it made our job that much easier. That’s not to say everything was wonderful sunshine and rainbows all day, every day (but we did have a rainbow waiting for us upon our arrival at Home Base!!!).
There were mosquitos (lots of them); there were cold showers; there were upset stomachs and other various illnesses; there were schedule changes and long van/bus rides and nightly curfew checks. But that’s all part of what makes traveling to new countries and experiencing new cultures such a rewarding experience: you never know exactly what you will get. It’s all about making the most of those experiences while you are there, and you all did a great job of embodying that.
GLA programs can be exciting, a little overwhelming, and a whole lot of fun, but one thing GLA hopes to stress is how the experiences you have while in Ghana, Costa Rica, Thailand or wherever else you may travel with GLA can be an opportunity to learn about a new culture, become more informed about how interconnected the world has become, and reflect on ways you can make a positive impact on the world around you. In addition to being an opportunity to travel and learn about what life is like in a different place and culture, a GLA trip can also be a valuable opportunity to grow and learn more about yourself, about your strengths and values, and about what motivates you to be the best person you can be.
So as you make your way through your high school classes, or as you settle in to your new surroundings on a college campus, or wherever life takes you this fall, winter, and beyond, remember to think back to your experiences and the relationships you built last summer in Anloga, to cherish them, and to use them as a part of what makes each of you unique. And then go out there and keep being awesome!
Before we wrap this up, here a few of our favorite memories from Session 1:
- G-B-T-C… (with the z-snaps, of course)
- Meeting Grandfather, receiving our Ewe names, and hearing our stories of birth (Grandfather knows all!)
- Koko’s intensity while playing spoons (cover your ears!)
- Nat leading “I Get Loose…” (1-2-3, feet!)
- “Oh, boy.” –Remy
- Every time we heard “…because I’m young and I’m rich and I’m handsome…” Oy-ye …Shake body!!!
- Zico’s P6 classroom mayhem, and Nathan and Bella seeing the shovel-boy
- Ava attempting to teach her students how to pronounce “water”
- Hearing children yell “Yevu! Yevu!” all the time
- That time it started pouring and everyone ran outside to dance in the rain, which led to Lincoln getting dragged through the puddles and Remy seizing the moment by grabbing some shampoo to lather his luscious locks
- Singing and dancing at church… Hallelujah!!!
- Meeting Jeremiah and all the boys at Father’s House
- Opening up during the ‘Stories of Self’ mentor group sessions
- Penguins in the pool at the hotel in Ho
- The most epic game of manhunt ever. Especially when Nathan blasted through the bushes in an attempt to get to safety, and when Parlin and Brooke kept playing for an extra 15 minutes. Ha.
- Feeling the pure power of the waterfall in Wli
- Koko, Nathan, Lexie, and Lexi getting drenched in celebration for their birthdays
- Cole and Nam’s commitment to their group’s ‘Bust a Move’ performance
- The duet of ‘Little Talks’ by Matt and Jess (hey!) and Vera’s rendition of ‘Waiting on June’
- AJ starting the riddle domino effect with “Who has the ball?”
- Seeing all our students run to welcome us every day and saying our heartfelt good-byes on our last day of service
Finally, from all of us that had the pleasure of meeting you this past summer – Thank you again for being such a great group and we wish you all the best in wherever your future takes you! We miss you and you are all superstars!!!
-Dodzi, Stephen, Fafa, Wisdom, Ashley, Ariel, James, and Keith