The Greeks believed creative brilliance was divine. The Romans believed it was a genius being within that helped one in their creative endeavors. Our best work isn’t behind us, therefore, the anxiety that I will never experience or do something as great again is moot. I have gone on adventures and thought I would never experience something so amazing again. I would look back and live in the past but then along comes another trip just as great. The process would repeat. If I keep doing what I love then I will continue to experience the greatness of my genius. Maybe he doesn’t show up one day and everything falls apart but the next I fall upon serendipity. Creativity comes and goes but never stops, if you don’t. It doesn’t own you and you don’t own it. I must always be open to the flash of creativity, share it with others, write it down, venture deeper into it, but most importantly I must never stop kicking that cup.
I attribute much of my success, not only in Ghana, but also throughout my life to acting on creativity. It has been difficult to facilitate success here. Looking back I almost find it hard to uncover a major success. Often we think of successes and impacts as materialistic and do not contemplate the unnoticed. Nonetheless, if I consider all things fair, there have been successes. I think back to the first success, re-establishing the Mensah Dawa 4-H Club. Sir Alex contributed greatly as well as Sir Debra in organizing the students and giving us a platform. Patience and determination led to elections and future meetings. If you take a step back and listen, observe, and share; success will happen. Another milestone was the creation of the Aggie Farmer Meetings: a once-a-month community agriculture meeting. It took the assistance from my caretaker, John, and my Chief, Dadematse Kudadi Doler, putting the invite out and bringing the individuals together. It started small and grew through perseverance. It is also important to understand that you don’t have to do everything on your own, and if you do, it will most certainly fail. If you depend solely on your creative ability, however, you may face challenging times like writers’ block. Therefore, we must accept or recruit help to aid in our journey of accepting our own and others’ creativity through the process. Ask questions, such as ‘what issues are farmers faced with’ or is ‘there a market for this?’ This is exactly what I had to do. The farmer meeting facilitated a broad understanding and maybe stimulated creative ideas but I realized through these meetings that one-on-one time is the most crucial. People can be hesitant to open up their creative mind to the public in fear of backlash rejection. One-on-one, I started a cocoa nursery with a farmer when others said it would fail. One-on-one I worked with a farmer to develop a vegetable plot, a first in the community. Have confidence in others and in yourself. When I didn’t know the answer, I asked around and I made myself open to other people’s questions, as well. Furthermore, when embracing and trusting our creativity to take over and to allow us to reach and help others reach their fullest potential, the most important thing to remember is don’t be afraid to trust your creative genius.
Over the course of my time here I have undertaken the job to instill in my students and counterparts to believe and express their creative mind. Not only have I worked on instilling this confidence in them, but also in myself. The system seems to be against us; however, I believe in these individuals to persevere and, through their innovation, elevate Ghana. Never stop learning and for the most part never stop listening.
Ryan Tomlin received a degree in Plant & Soil Science from Texas A&M University. Before becoming an AgriCorps Fellow Ryan worked as an agronomist for Robinson Fresh in the southwestern U.S. and Mexico.