Winter Break in Ghana (4 of 4): Taking It Home

by Brandon Blache-Cohen

This 4-part blog was produced by WVU service-learning students over winter break.  In this, the final post, a student reflects on the warmth and hospitality that she felt from the community in Ghana, and wonders how she can best show those back home how much she learned from her new friends.

Our plane back to the USA boards in 30 minutes.  As I sit here waiting, the feeling coming over me is bittersweet.  On the one hand, I’m extremely excited to eat sugary cereal with cold milk and see my mom when I get home. On the other hand, I’m incredibly sad to see this trip at an end.  I wish I could properly put into words my experience here in Ghana, but I simply cannot.  It’s hard to believe just how many wonderful and inspiring people we have met in the past two weeks.  I hope that when I get home, I can show a fraction of the warmth and hospitality to people in the USA that I felt from the people of Jukwa.

Ghana Winter Break

Sitting here, I’m reflecting on everything that we have encountered in this New Year. I’ve had such a wonderful time dancing when the faint beat of popular Ghanaian songs are heard (which is ALWAYS), fetching what seemed like endless buckets of water, playing rummy with other students, drumming at the Nana’s (the Chief’s) house, going to a truly Ghanaian beach party, watching Bobby beatbox with the kids, and so much more. It truly has been wonderful.

Coming into this program, I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me. I don’t think any of us really did. Yet, over the past two weeks I’ve had some of the best times. I will always remember this experience and all of the things we did. I find the fact that I won’t be able to summarize Ghana, Jukwa, and the people here to anybody back home so frustrating.  I can show my friends and family pictures and tell them stories about what we did, but I connected with this place on a much deeper level than photos of “red red” and rope bridge climbing will show. It is my hope that my fellow participants and I can do the great people of Jukwa justice when I describe them; that will be, perhaps, the best service I can do.

This is truly an amazing place, and I honestly hope to come back one day. I can’t wait to see updates of the library’s progress and help make our student-initiated projector project a reality (where we assist the community by supplying a subsidized projector to act as an income generating activity for cinema and workshops). This place has given me lasting friendships and memories that I will never forget.  Afi  shaaba everyone (Happy New Year!)!

To learn more about the opportunity to serve and learn in Ghana, click here!