Within these last few days, we’ve already seen, heard, shared, done, and experienced so much. The ABAN staff has been warm and welcoming right from the start; it feels like we’ve known them much longer than just three days. The amount of love and patience that they’ve shared already is unbelievable. And the same goes for the girls of ABAN. They already tease and laugh with us as if we’re old friends, share stories, and help to teach us the Ghanaian language Twi, which, believe me, requires a tremendous amount of patience with us.
We’re staying with Uncle Dan, who is treating us like royalty. He has gone above and beyond in making us feel welcome. Dan is a Ghanaian artisan that lives with his family about ten minutes from ABAN. He is the supervisor for the bead center we are building at ABAN, meaning that he has planned the center and is leading us in the building process. He’s been a great help to ABAN for years already and it is great to be able to join with him to create this bead center. He often sits and shares his stories with us, and there is an infinite amount of wisdom to learn from Dan.
We’ve already made great progress for the center! Today and yesterday we’ve been clearing the land to begin building. It is hard work, but with the support that the staff and the girls have already shown, it will be no problem to finish the center with time to help with other projects.
We’ve experienced the market in Medina, tro-tro rides, the mall in Accra, and we even played a football (soccer) game against the ABAN team last night. (we won! The rematch will no doubt be intense)
I fail to capture in words how loving and peaceful everything has been. Ghanaian culture in general is much more patient than the American hustle that we have become accustomed to at school. It is not that they do less – I find that they are always working, always doing something to improve the lives of those they love, but they maintain a calm and understanding nature.
The work that goes into ABAN is unreal. They are constantly learning new ways to care and provide for the girls, to ensure that they are wholesome women when they graduate. The opportunity to spend time with the staff and witness all of the work that they is an invaluable learning experience. I feel as if I’ve learned a lifetime of lessons already, and it’s only Thursday. Soon we’ll post more about what each member of the staff does, and how big of an impact they create. (There’s no way we can capture the magnitude of ABAN in words, but we’ll try.)
I hope all is well with everyone, wherever you’re reading. All is great here.
Peace and love,
Hey all! Our team is preparing for our project in Ghana that will begin on May 28th. We’ll start our travel this Saturday, and arrive in Ghana on Sunday night. This will be the official blog of the University of Kansas & University of New Mexico partnership with ABAN this summer. Follow our journey here! We’ll update atleast once a week with the progress of our project, the impact of our project in the community, and the impact of the project and the community on ourselves.
ABAN is an organization in Accra, Ghana that provides aid to street girls in Accra, as well as help to improve the environmental conditions of the city. Every day, the same streets that these girls are forced to sleep on are littered with over 40 tons of plastic waste. ABAN helps to teach these girls to recycle these waste products into materials that they can then transform into profitable items, such as bracelets, aprons, and cosmetic bags. ABAN not only teaches the girls the seamstress skills for this trade, but also provides them with shelter, an education, and a savings matching program upon the girls’ graduation. ABAN’s aim is not just to temporarily aid these girls, but to provide them with the life tools they need to end this cycle of poverty.
While we are at ABAN, we will spend our mornings building an outdoor bead center, which will hold the kiln (for the girls to fire their beads). In the afternoons, we will be working one on one with the girls, learning their stories and helping them grow. We’ll be doing a homestay with a man there named Dan, who works with ABAN, and will drive us there and back everyday.
I don’t know exactly what to expect on this trip, but I do know that I am excited beyond belief, and look forward to helping these women and this program grow, just as I am sure it will help all of us to grow.
See you soon, Ghana; I can’t wait to experience what you have in store for us!
Less than six weeks away from our trip to Ghana! With the semester winding down, the trip is going to come fast. My excitement builds more and more each day!