They all take care of one another and they all want each other to succeed. I remember back in my first few weeks here I would get frustrated because I am only a 19 year old, right out of high school, trying to teach a class of rowdy children. But once I got the hang of teaching it became easy and we had a lot of fun times together.
My kids knew Friday as “Bingo Day” because I would come to the orphanage in the afternoon and play bingo with my class and then stay after with just the orphanage kids. I would get out of the trotro and hear my class shouting, “Bingo! Bingo!” It was fun and a good way to keep them on their best behavior during the week. It amazes me how mature young kids can be here. Young kids take care of younger kids and everyone always makes sure everyone else has food. They share everything; even a biscuit is shared among multiple children. On multiple occasions I witnessed an 8 year old giving some of her food to the youngest girl, Naomi. They have so little yet they share everything and are always happy (well most of the time). They might not always be full of food but they are full of love. I may have been their teacher but I learned more from them then they could ever learn from me. I wish I were a few years older so I could adopt one of them but I have to go back to school. I am planning to come back in 4 years and adopt one of them. I will never forget these amazing children.
Along with going to the orphanage I also traveled quite a bit in these three months I have been here. I’ve been to Cape Coast where I went to Cape Coast Castle (a castle that was part of the slave trade), seeing first hand where the kept slaves and hearing about how they were treated and what they went through was very powerful. I also did fun things like Boti Falls and going to multiple festivals and shopping at the Wood Market near Accra. I had a mini vacation on the beach in Cape Coast watching the beautiful African sunset and I even got pancakes for breakfast. I feel like I experienced a lot of Ghanaian culture in my time here. I don’t even taste the pepper in the food anymore!
I am leaving these children right before Christmas so of course the kids have been talking about Christmas for weeks now.
They don’t go from house to house eating meals like most people in Ghana do but they do eat a big feast at the orphanage. I was sitting on their play ground with a few of the kids and they were talking to each other about all the food they were going to eat on Christmas? jalov rice, banku, fufu, Coke, Fanta, and the list went on and on. Christmas for them is a day when they get to eat as much as they want, a day where their stomachs are actually full when their plates are empty. I remember when I first got here I was very surprised to see such young children eating meals all on their own. I remember I was especially impressed when Naomi ate banku with her hands better than I could. No one ever has to tell a Ghanaian child to finish their food or eat 5 more bites; their plates are empty in a matter of minutes.
I am very sad to leave Ghana and especially my kids but I feel like I still have half of my journey to do, now I have to go back to America and share stories of all that I’ve experienced here and teach Americans about Ghanaian culture.
Hopefully upon hearing my story another young adult will decide to spend a few months volunteering somewhere and trying to enrich the lives of the people there while being enriched themselves. I strongly encourage everyone to go abroad and volunteer somewhere. It will open your eyes and change your understanding of humanity and the world. My hope is to come back in 4 years when I am done with University and visit again. These kids have meant more to me then words can express and I will miss each and every one of them. I hope they all grow into wonderful men and women and I can’t wait to come back to Ghana and see all their bright shining faces again!