Saturday, June 12, 2010

Three Weeks Til Ghana!

It’s only been seven months since I was last in Ghana but it’s been the longest seven months of my life. December 28th is the day I left Ghana and returned to America after spending a majority of the year in Africa. Three more weeks til I am back there. Only three weeks but it feels like it is going to be the longest 3 weeks of my life.

The plan was to wait until 2011 to return to Ghana again. As I plan on moving to Ghana after I graduate from college, I should be saving my money so that I can start up my new life there. As the flight is quite expensive, there was no way that I would be able to return this summer. It broke my heart to have to think about not returning to Ghana and to my kids in Wegbe this summer but at the same time, I had to be realistic. So, how am I returning to Ghana this summer?

Last summer, while I was in Ghana, I began thinking about my thesis project, something that is required in the Anthropology/Sociology major at Lewis & Clark. I discussed my ideas with Raymond and Patrick and they helped me come up with a topic that would not only serve as a good thesis, but a topic that would also benefit the local community. This is exactly what I wanted. So, I got to work. I developed a questionnaire – actually three different questionnaires, one for children, another for older youth, those in secondary school or university, and one for adults. I received help distributing the surveys and ended up collecting a total of 70 completed surveys. These surveys served as my pilot study. When I returned Lewis & Clark in January 2010 with the smelly, dirty surveys, I knew I had to find a way to continue my research. But I didn’t have the money to get back to Ghana and carry out the rest of the research with a greater sample size in order to write a more accurate and reliable thesis.

Although I was beyond stressed with school and my health problems from Africa, which were still affecting me, I wrote a grant to SAAB, Lewis & Clark’s Student Academic Affairs Board. I went through an interview process where I presented my proposal to a roomful of students who were to decide if my research and proposed project were worthy of a grant. The committee liked my proposal and granted me my optimal budget to carry out my research in Ghana. By this time, I was also working with IRB, the Institutional Review Board, a committee that formally reviews research proposals involving human subjects. This was a difficult process but my hard work paid off a few weeks ago when I finally received approval from the IRB to officially carry out my research. So, I am returning to Ghana to carry out the research for my thesis. I extended my trip, as I wanted to have plenty of time to spend with my kids at Christ Orphanage, my boyfriend (who is a local Ghanaian) and the local community. I will be in Ghana for 5 weeks this summer and I could not be happier. While there, I will also be making plans for my move to Ghana, which is planned to happen next summer.

Of course, I will be updating my blog throughout my journey. Feel free to contact me while I am in Ghana. While I will not have internet access as often and reliably as I do in America, I will do my best to reply to all my emails.

Hope you are all having a great summer. I look forward to sharing my experiences from this trip with you!