Dear GLA Ghana Children of Africa Session 1 Alumni,
It has already been six months since we spent three incredible weeks together in Anloga, Ghana! We were united for a short while to achieve a common goal: to serve the community in Anloga, explore Ghanaian culture, and grow as a leader. None of us knew what shape this adventure would take or what friendships we would forge along the way, but we have all been changed by the experience and have taken a piece of each other – and of Ghana – back home. Take some time to reflect on the experiences you had here, the connections you made, and the ways in which your time here has shaped you.
What part of this experience changed your life the most? Was it the service? You spent hours sweating under the humid, West African sun to make over 2,500 bricks for new classrooms here. When it became too much, you took a short break for water and then we all blasted some music to keep ourselves going. Maybe you took a shovel from someone who was too tired to continue, or maybe you allowed someone to take the shovel from you. Even before all the tools were clean, the children would run and cling to you until it was time to teach.
What did you learn in Ghana that changed how you see your life now? Maybe it was meeting your peers at the high school. You watched and participated as students reflected on questions during Stand With Me. The mood became much lighter when the music started playing, and then turned into an all out dance party! Do you remember the moves that the students there showed you? Do you think that they break out the cha-cha slide every now and then?
What comes to mind when you think of a beautiful moment that you experienced here? Was it Wli Waterfall, or the River Tour? Crossing nine bridges, with Bless yelling after us, eventually we arrived at and were all mesmerized by the towering Wli Waterfall. Some us waded in and went far enough to stand right below the falls. Later on in the session, you got to relax on the beach after the river tour, and feel satisfied knowing your days of service were behind you. Whatever you remember, we hope you have kept in touch with the connections you made here, and are continuing to learn about yourself and the world around you!
Pieces 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 🙂
I am so happy that I got to know all of you, and that we got to share a part of our journey together in Anloga. In venturing here you all had the willingness to try something new, and to be exposed to a different way of living. With every person you meet and every adventure you take, a little more of this world is revealed to you. Keep expanding that perspective and listen when life calls you on to new adventures and to a new purpose. The stuff of life isn’t just in the highs and lows we experience, it’s also in all those moments in between: in the pettiness of homework assignments, traffic jams, and long checkout lines. Let your time in Ghana be a reminder to take none of it for granted. Remember that just as you impacted the lives of school children here, you can have a profound impact on other people wherever you go.
Continue to share your story about your time in Anloga whether it’s with your family and friends, people at school, or new connections. Take what you have learned about yourself and apply it to your life – this experience will stay with you and continue to change you forever. Keep challenging yourself and explore the world!