When my friend, Krista, and I traveled to Thailand a couple years ago, we’d hiked into the hills of Chiang Mai with our adventure group and were staying in bamboo huts in a small village. In the middle of the night, it was a completely surreal experience to wake up to Christmas carols being sung over and over again in the hills.
What sounds like Christian praise music rock-style thumps on my window and it takes me a second to remember where I am. It’s 12:22am and I’ve been asleep for exactly 1 hour and 22 min (that’s nearly 6 hours in the last 56 hours). As I peer out my window, it appears there’s a concert going on in a tiny lit stadium-type building near by. Though I cannot make out what words they’re singing, I’m pretty sure it’s something like hallelujah, because the same word is repeated indefinitely. I’m temporarily transported to the hills of Chiang Mai, and I smile as I float into memory and eventually sleep…
I arrived at the Pink Hostel in Accra giddy with delight over my amazing traveler’s luck. I expected to have a long flight with no sleep, but I didn’t expect to meet a really beautiful woman who’s aunt ended up driving me to my hostel! My room with this view far exceeded my expectations; bed with a bottom sheet and pillow, air conditioner, a shower, and a blue towel! As if this wasn’t enough, a friend of a friend’s boyfriend who’s here in Accra working with the U.N. met me at the hostel, showed me around the city a bit, helped me shop for a few things I’d left at home, and we had a bunch of laughs over dinner. Thank you, Ernest! Look forward to catching up in Ho!
Tomorrow morning, I hope to snap a few photos around the neighborhood before heading to Ho… I’ll need to leave my blue towel behind, but am so excited to meet the Globe Aware staff and the people in the village of Ho.
“The best journeys answer questions you didn’t even think to ask.”
These words from adventurer Jeff Johnson in the documentary 180 Degrees South resonated with me as I snuggled into my coach seat crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Ghana. Some people dream of one journey their entire lives and do whatever it takes to get there, putting most of their time and energy into it. This is something I deeply respect and was true for Jeff with his dream to summit Corcovado Mountain, Chile. My dreams and journeys have evolved over time, as is true with this one to Ghana. Some have asked, “Why Ghana?” and others have wondered why I would you spend three weeks of my summer to volunteer to help build schools and work on projects to improve infrastructure in Ho, Ghana. I know it doesn’t actually make economic sense for one person to fly half way across the world to help in a small village in Africa for three weeks. The total cost of this trip would probably pay for 5 water pumps in 5 different villages… Though I struggle with this knowledge, and how to make sense of the economic end, I trust that there is a much greater purpose for this trip than the physical change the dollars bring. I trust that the connections I will make and the learning I will gain and share, will grow beyond the economic value and be more than worth it. I know this journey will bring up questions I didn’t even think to ask, though the answers remain to be seen…
Thanks for Katie Proal, an amazing 9th grader at San Dieguito Academy, I’m traveling to Africa with well over 100 friendship bracelets to give to kids in Ghana. Katie’s and my passions merged perfectly with this project; love, friendship, and a global connection. She came to my classroom to teach my students how to make these vibrant bracelets, and collectively my students made over 80 bracelets. Katie, herself, made 100 bracelets for me to bring on my trip! Thanks Katie! My hope and intention is to share not only these beautiful, heart-string creations, but a cultural exchange between Africa and the place I call home.
Kids at an orphanage in Tanzania looking at photos of my students here in San Diego. At the end of my one month stay in East Africa (Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya), I’d received one marriage proposal, two job offers, and many new friends for life. I almost didn’t come back. I left part of my heart in Africa and have longed to return since my last trip in 2006.