Never in my wildest dreams when I came to learn a culture and try to help out would I have thought so much
of myself would be in this little village. As I pack my bags with all the Ghanaian things I am taking home I look
at the 2 years in the things I have learned.
I met people who have worked so hard just to put food on the table and get their kids in school in the hopes of a
“better life” for their families while doing it with a smile and a song. The culture dictates they take care of each
other and they take that to heart. You never see someone eating that they don’t say “You are invited”. The children
have a small cracker they will share in small pieces with the other children. The woman always come to help another
lift a heavy bucket of water to her head. The children learn early they work with the family by helping to get a meal,
get water, or clean the dishes. Families and friends work together to get the ground nuts or maize in from the fields,
and daughters and wives at home making HUGE pots of food for them to feed them when they come in with the crops.
The children all want to go to school but it is not easy in Ghana. In primary and Junior High School you have to have a uniform,
shoes, paper and pens. To get into Senior High you have to pass a test at the end of JHS and wait for sometimes up to a year
for your grades to come back. Then you again have to pay to go to Senior High School. Next step you have to have good grades,
a little luck, and the help of someone that has influence to get you through to a college, or technical school. Young people take
time to “friend” others and encourage them to stay in school and keep trying when things get in their way. Many of the adults who
have jobs help with fees and encouragement because they know how it made a difference in their lives.
Who would have dreamed the people would be so welcoming. They would greet me with a smile and want to tease a “white” lady that
has come to make a home in their village. When I came to the village they would look in amazement when they find out I am here to stay
for 2 years, and so sad when I say the 2 years are up and I have to go.
Yet in two years I have seen growth in so many places. They can take a small loan, 100 Gh cedis (about $50) and turn it into a fowl or two,
seeds for the farm, and reeds for a basket, the beginnings of a small business and they come in every two weeks with their money to repay
the loan. Here in Nyariga it is seldom you see a child not in school. We have more small businesses in the village, more animals, more places
to sell their baskets, more children going to private schools, a computer lab for the girls school, and that is in the two years I have been here.
The possibilities are endless as they are seeing the rewards for their hard work.
This village has been fortunate to have a few volunteers over the last 5 years, and community leaders that listened to the village about their needs.
Leaving the village is exciting because I can’t wait to be with my family again and it is also exciting because I know this one village in Ghana for sure
has the right leadership, right attitude about education and the willingness to do what needs to be done.
Peace Corps says that this will be the hardest job you will ever love and that pretty well says what my two years was.