“I’m gonna be really surprised if you actually do it-” my roomate’s comment when I tell her I’m about to begin my long-procrastinated blog post. I’ve been avoiding writing it partly out of laziness, and partly because I’m struggling to boil down the multitude of experiences I’ve had in Ghana into just one page. Ghana has been a whirlwind of new faces, customs, and experiences. Overall my impression of the country and its citizens has been overwhelmingly positive. People here are incredibly friendly and welcoming, and the culture, though vastly different than my own, is one I am starting to better understand and respect.
Our first week in Ghana was spent at an eco resort called Meet Me There. Our time there consisted of interacting with the staff, getting to know the group, and cultural activities such as learning how to make bricks, print African fabric, and singing Ghanaian songs around a bonfire. We then traveled into Ho and moved in with our homestay families. Our days consist of worksite- shadowing nurses as they provide family planning and child welfare services throughout Ho- TBB public health seminars, and evening discussions with my roommate and host mother. My host mother (and new personal hero) is named Victoria. Through her stories of starting her own school, singlehandedly raising her daughters and sending them to university, and being an active leader within her church, Victoria has redefined strength and determination in my eyes. Hearing her speak about saving for a week to buy a plastic chair for a child at her school puts into shocking perspective the wealth I possess and how little I have appreciated it.
There are many things I will never again take for granted upon my return to the United States. Access to pizza, washing machines, and not constantly having at least four mosquito bites all make the list. On a more serious note, I hope I never forget how lucky I am to have constant access to reliable and consistent health care. If I fall ill at home, I can easily be transported to a clean, well-staffed hospital that will almost always posses the resources I need to get healthy. So many people in the world will never have that privilege. We live in a society in which your skin color, geographic location, and socioeconomic status determine the quality of health care you receive, and I hope to never again forget the injustice of that reality.
This experience is not only helping me grow my understanding of Ghana, but also of myself. The past month has really been the first time I have been away from my comfort bubble of friends and family, and a chance to see who I am as an individual. I feel that I am making progress on my journey towards confidence, self-love, and adulthood. Overall, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be here, learning and growing in a fascinating place with a wonderful group of people. I miss everyone at home but am confident that where I am is where I need to be.
Please excuse the poor writing- as my roommate says “this is my gap year not school!” I miss all of you and please email me if you ever want to chat!!!