I can’t believe that I’ve already been in this amazing place for over three weeks now! I’m amazed at how quickly time has passed by but also excited to see how much we as a group have accomplished and to see how our relationships with the other volunteers, staff and ABAN women and their children have continued to flourish.
Work on the land has steadily continued with the help of our Ghanaian heroes, also known as the master landscapers. At this point, we have filled up well over a dozen crop beds with carrots, sweet peppers, maize and lettuce. It’s crazy how excited a group of students gets when they see little green leaves spring up from crops that they planted with VERY little experience. The summer hut has also officially started construction on the land. Although we are unable to do much with the building at this point, we are very good at pretending we are building the hut and even better at taking pictures next to it. After the frame is built though, we will get to sand it and then choose what colors we want to paint it. I’m rooting for KU’s crimson and blue but since I’m the only student here not from North Carolina, my chances are looking pretty slim.
What’s a trip to Ghana though, without a little friendly competition? Recently, we engaged in a soccer game with all of the American and Ghanaian staff and the ABAN women. The end score was too close to call but since it ended up pouring/monsooning on us and we all were covered in mud, I’d say it was a successful game.
For me, I think that situations like the soccer game are my favorite experiences here. At the beginning of this trip, I came to Ghana and primarily focused on the differences in culture and spent much of the time contrasting this trip to the way my life is in America. However, it’s indescribable to be able to join together over something as simple as soccer but something that is also prominent and important in both places.
Although our cultures may be different, we as people are the same. We crave for acceptance and friendship and love and to freely desire these things, without the fear of judgment. Through the use of soccer games, projects and just hanging out and enjoying each other’s company on a daily basis, I feel like we get to know the ABAN women in their natural habitat. This allows us to build strong relationships with the girls and I honestly can’t think of anything that I enjoy more.
For the second half of my trip, I hope to keep in perspective how truly blessed I am to be on this trip and to also take advantage that I am given the opportunity for daily interaction with these remarkable women and staff. I’m excited to see how the land continues to develop as well. This is easily the most gorgeous place I have even been to and with an upcoming trip to hike one of the largest mountains in West Africa as well as a trip to a beach resort, Ghana is full of all sorts of wonderful surprises that I can’t wait to discover!
With so much love,
My name is Taylor Cady and I am a member of Nourish International from the University of Kansas. The purpose of Nourish International is to join with different organizations in countries around the world to help create and join in forwarding sustainable environments. Last year, Nourish sent five students from Kansas and New Mexico to build the ACE center at ABAN’s compound. This year, Kansas joined forces with Wake Forest University and sent three of us to return to ABAN.
Our main focus for this trip is to build a summer hut on ABAN’s newly acquired land. Last year, ABAN bought six acres in Dumpong with plans to develop the ABAN compound and eventually create a fully functioning village or sustainable community to replace the currently rented compound.
We began our work on the land shortly after arrival and have already experienced plenty of blood, sweat and tears (but mostly sweat). We started off by clearing all of the trees and shrubbery with our machetes and pick axes. We pretended to know how to do all of this until we actually caught on. Once the land was cleared we were able to make paths leading up to the placement of the summer hut. In those paths we planted grass, which we hope will actually grow and not just die. After the paths were completed, we were each given our very own bed of soil. We all planted carrots which are expected to germinate within a week. However, the best part about our newly found farming talents is that once the carrots begin to grow we can start making our own pizzas because many of the Ghanaian pizzas have carrots on them!
My favorite part of the trip though, by far, has been my interaction with the ABAN women and their children. It is so inspiring to see that many are the same age as myself, but have overcome so much but still continue to find joy and happiness and a have a spirit that cannot be diminished. My favorite part of each day is going to their compound and just talking with them in English and my very limited Twi. I adore hearing their stories and the reasons for their children’s names and anything that they are willing to share with me. It’s been great to see all the love and compassion that they have for each other and the hope that they all have for their futures. In a world full of sadness, despair and depression, it brings me so much joy to see the endurance and happiness that I find here in Aburi.
I’m so excited to see what is in store for me during the next five weeks of my time here in Ghana and cannot wait so see all that the girls can teach me.
With so much love,
I am very very excited for this project! It will be my first time going to Ghana and I am so ready for it!!! Love volunteering!!! 😀