As you might gather from the title, my life seems a bit too luxurious right now. Today was the day that we have been building up to for 1 whole month. We arrived in Oklahoma on July 31 and began training for this moment. Today I said goodbye and was dropped off by, what feels like, my family. I embarrassingly teared up… Not because I am sad to be here, just because living together has been absolutely amazing.
So where am I? I am in Macrosec, in the Manya Krobo district of Ghana. I am at a Senior High School made up of nearly 2,000 students from around Ghana. I am overwhelmed. This school is incredible.
The school is surrounded by hills covered in plantain trees and rainforest. The school is like a small city, resting in the cradle of the misty mountains surrounding us. The students and teachers live on campus in bungalows and dormitories, as do I. I am living in temporary bungalow while they wait for the finishing touches to be put on my new one. Supposedly it will be nicer, but I find that difficult to imagine. I have 2 beds, a dining room, full kitchen, leather couches lining the walls, a TV, a toilet, and a working shower. I’m sure you’re thinking, is that all? But no… I could list more. This place is far too nice. And this is just my temporary home.
Let’s talk about the remaider of the school. When I look outside my bedroom window, I can see the maize field that had just been harvested by the students. When I look outside my kitchen window, I see the corns husks on the ground from where I helped the students stack their produce today. They will be selling the corn to buy seeds for this years crop… How outstanding is that?! That is just one project… They have already begun many and I can see that the potential for the students is powerful.
With that being said, I am overwhelmed. I hate to say this, but I feel like this is unfairly nice. They are catering to my every need and treating me like a princess. I know that this is the Ghanaian hospitality, but I want and need to show them that I am not weak. (As least not as weak as they think I am…) They intended to cook and deliver 3 meals a day (of my choosing) to me in a cute little basket every single day. What!? I told them to cancel breakfast. I told them that I would be dining with the students and eating what they were. The teachers couldn’t believe it.
When I think about my game plan for the year, I feel a wave of anxiety rush over me. This isn’t the type of situation where you see what needs fixing and you simply handle it. This school is successful. They were successful before me and they will be successful after. I am nervous about finding my purpose…
I intend to spend the next month observing the teachers and students. I want to assess their needs, but most importantly listen to them. I think this will be the way in which I find my purpose. Hopefully.
One side fact: I have been carrying around a damp napkin filled with three cocoa beans for 2 weeks. All three successfully germinated and have been ready to plant. Judith (the leader of girls in the school) showed me around and helped me move in today. We also planted my seedlings. I can feel myself getting sappy here, so be prepared…. I was crouched down in the corn field with Judith filling water satchets with dirt. She was telling me about what she wants to do when she grows up, and I was telling her what I want to do. It was starting to get dark and the mountains had the glow of sunlight behind them. It was a surreal moment. I was planting 3 cocoa plants on my first day of the next 10 months in this school. In 10 months, they will be trees. Judith will grow into a powerful and intelligent woman. In 10 months, she will graduate. I am so happy that I can be a part of the process. I am also happy that she can be a part of mine. This is my new home…
***It will be a shame if my cocoa trees of symbolic personal growth die, huh? Just kidding ????