Nicole: I seriously can’t believe that I have been in Ghana for more than 10 weeks. I have faced so many challenges during these weeks but have fought them with all my strength – even though that is not saying much. During my most recent illness battle, the doctor had much difficulty finding a vein to stick the drip into. I was in so much pain and every time he took the needle out and had to try again, the pain intensified. Eventually after two unsuccessful attempts, I told the doctor that all I wanted to do was go home. It really was not what I wanted to do but I was in so much pain that it felt comforting to think of home and imagine that I was there instead. Other than my sickness battles, I have been quite happy during my stay in Ghana.
On Friday, we said good bye to one of the volunteers from Ireland who had been here for about 6 weeks. It made me so sad to watch Catherine as she tried to hold back her emotions. All I could think about was how soon it was until I would be leaving Ghana. And while I have done so much here during the last few months, I feel like I have so much left to do. As I lay in my bed crying over the fact that I am leaving so soon, I remember that I am only 20 years old and need to finish my schooling.
Although I have been very interested in joining the Peace Corps, I realize that I cannot decide where my placement will be. I am so invested in the children here in Wegbe and don’t think I could bear to leave them and serve in any other community. The community of Wegbe is my community. I am known by almost all the residents and I feel at home here. Although it takes me longer to get places as I am stopped many times along the way, I love it. I love that everyone loves me so much that they want to stop me, greet me, shake my hand, and talk to me. I love that the people notice when I am not around and ask me questions, making sure that I am okay. I love that the women continue to laugh when I communicate with them in Ewe and that the children enjoy greeting me in Ewe just so they can hear me reply in their language. I love that the parents entrust me with their children and enjoy having me around. I love that almost all of Wegbe knows my name and I cannot go anywhere without hearing ‘Sister Nicole’ screamed out at least once. Not everybody could do this. But I can and I am. I have found my community. My home. And I know that this trip is not my last one to Ghana.
Raymond has many dreams and hopes for the children of the orphanage, the orphanage itself, his family, and himself. But one of his dreams that he likes to remind me of is that one day, after I complete school, I will come to live in Ghana and run the orphanage. I too share this dream. It was amazing to return to Christ Orphanage and see the progress made during the year. It has been amazing to watch the progress that has been made since I arrived in May. It will be amazing to continue to be a part of the orphanage, watch the progress that is made, and help the children grow into successful adults.
It’s incredible how much the children of Christ Orphanage have influenced my life. I have a very strong connection with the children and staff -- a connection that can never be taken away. I will work hard to finish school so that I can live my dream in Ghana and help be a part of the lives of the children of Christ Orphanage and the people in the community of Wegbe, Ghana.