This morning I walked out of my compound to see vibrantly blue skies, the kind that looks like it’s been painted on top of the land, the kind that seems to never quite meet the earth. I stood there for 2 minutes, a whole 120 seconds, with my eyes glued to the clouds. It was astonishingly beautiful.
I’ve been in Ghana for almost two years. Two years. And I don’t really have any profound words to describe my time here, my life here. I think the realization that I really live in West Africa is finally hitting me. I am about to move to another West African country. I have built community here in Ghana. Made friends, family really. Experienced so much laughter and love.
Ghana has changed me. I’m slowly getting over my fear of chickens. I can struggle through a conversation in Twi. Waiting for a tro tro to fill for 2 hours doesn’t bother me (most of the time). I play card games with people from all over the world. I can navigate markets. Putting together a lesson plan is easy now. I’m so good at eating from a plastic baggie. I’ve helped build partnerships that will help grow both AgriCorps and 4-H Ghana. I’ve learned so much about the agricultural systems here.
But in 4 weeks I’m leaving. Exactly 4 weeks from today. The mixture of sadness and excitement is a little overwhelming. I mean, I’m finally getting to go to Liberia! But there’s still a part of me that’s going to miss my life in Ghana. The simplicity of it, the complexity of it.
On June 15, I will be moving to Monrovia, Liberia, continuing to work with AgriCorps. I will be working closely with the executive director of 4-H Liberia, Umaru Sheriff, to help spread agricultural education throughout Liberia. Liberia is so different from Ghana. I am ready for this challenge, for this change. It’s a big step forward for both AgriCorps and global agricultural education and its thrilling to be a part of it.
Melissa Tabke received a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and a masters in Ruminant Nutrition from Texas Tech University. This is Melissa’s second year as an AgriCorps Member in Ghana and she previously served as an agricultural intern in Panama.