Akwaaba – You are Welcome
As I settle down in my little room on the top floor of a hostel in Asylum Down area of Accra I finally take some time to process the past few weeks of what seemed like non-stop travel throughout the country.
I was traveling with Wagner’s Hunger & Food Security course for the first 3 weeks of June. We began in Accra and traveled up north through Cape Coast, Kumasi, Tamale and back down towards Accra with a stopover in the Volta region. There are a lot of things I can say about this trip, but I won’t right now. I will just say that from that afternoon I spent watching women who spend hours sitting on the ground kneading shea nut/paste to separate the oil to create shea butter gave me a appreciation for things I take for granted and reminded me to be mindful of how I consume and how I waste.
This week I started my internship with World Vision Ghana. One of the major projects I will be working on this summer will be on a capacity building project being funded through USAID. This project is supporting community-based organizations working with the vulnerable children population in 100 different communities in 10 districts all throughout Ghana. Though there has been a decrease in the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, the orphaned population due to HIV/AIDS continues to grow. Education rates among this specific population is lower than the average and this project aims to not only strengthen the capacity of community-based organizations, but works to improve enrollment and attendance of the vulnerable population at the basic, secondary and vocation training school level.
Ghana is a beautiful country filled with some of the most friendly, hilarious, and welcoming people I’ve ever met. From the rasta man named Iddy who read my palm and predicted that I would have 17 twins, to the t-shirt designer at Kokrobite who presented me with a gift as I left for Accra and Dr. Abdullah who has given his life to love and care for the outcasts of society. They remind me of what it means to be human: to sit, laugh, listen and give until you have nothing left (and then give some more).
My first job out of college was with World Vision International. Now as I get ready to attend a Health Forum this week hosted by the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health and gear up to be back on the road (potentially) again to visit project sites to complete monitoring checklists in the Eastern and Western region I am excited to return to the organization that initially sparked my interest in international development with a new perspective, knowledge and hopefully understanding that I’ve gained through both my career and my time at NYU.