Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Farewell Party

Writing this final blog entry from my summer 2010 trip to Ghana has been an unbelievably difficult thing for me to do. I have been home for two weeks already and although I keep trying to write it, I keep putting it off. In my mind, it is like, if I don’t write this final blog entry, then the trip really isn’t over. I know that this reasoning doesn’t really make much sense but in my head, it seems to make sense.

It’s amazing how quickly my trip flew by and how much I wanted to get done that didn’t get done, but at the same time, it is amazing how much I did get done that I didn’t plan on doing. Unlike my previous trips to Ghana, this trip was more about me. Yes, I was going to see my kids at Christ Orphanage and to spend some time volunteering, but I was also going to do my research, see my friends and kids in the Wegbe community, visit my adopted family in Ho, and of course, spend time with my boyfriend, Alex.

The night before I had to leave Ghana, Alex threw a going away party for me. The family prepared fufu (and jollof rice for me because I am not a fan of fufu) and we danced the night away. My local kids came over and we danced together as they begged me not to leave. I promised them that I would be back soon as I know that after I finish school, I will be on a plane, back to Ghana. It was a very special night. During the party, which was of course held outdoors, it began to rain. It was so magical to be dancing in the rain, something I have to admit I probably haven’t done since I was a child.

I danced with Mawuse in my arms (and Cynthia holding onto my legs), and just hugged her as tight as I could. I couldn’t believe I would be leaving the following day. I couldn’t believe that my little girl Cynthia wouldn’t be coming to my room every afternoon and evening to join me for meals any more. I couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t be there to see Cynthia’s baby brother or sister be born within the next few weeks. I couldn’t believe I wouldn’t be able to hear the kids at Christ Orphanage singing songs as I walked from my room to the orphanage every morning. I couldn’t believe that I would no longer hear ‘Sister Nicole’ called out every second of every day. I couldn’t believe that I would no longer be where I feel so at home. I couldn’t believe I was going back to America, back to school, back to the fast paced, capitalist life style that has overtaken America. Its amazing how fast five weeks can fly by.

The following morning, I went to the new site to take some final photos of the site. I witnessed Raymond and some local volunteers and parents planting corn, which will help to relieve some of the food costs when it is harvested. By this point, the classrooms were completely decorated and we worked on decorating the bedrooms. I must admit, the rooms look pretty cute with the stickers adorning the walls and the glow in the dark stars on the ceilings.

Following my visit to the new site, I went back to the orphanage to say a final goodbye to the children and teachers. The kids sang for me as I sat there taking it all in and realizing that I was actually leaving (again). Alex refused to let the kids sing the ‘Goodbye song’ as he knew that I had already cried enough about leaving Ghana and he didn’t want to see me cry anymore. That song gets to me every time the kids sing it so I have to admit, I was quite happy that they didn’t sing it this time.

As my flight was at 11pm, Raymond decided that we should leave Hohoe around 1:30pm. I knew that we would not leave at 1:30 because, come on, this is Ghana that we are talking about, but I didn’t expect that we wouldn’t leave til 4pm. Luckily we still had plenty of time to drive to Accra and stop by Alex and Raymond’s uncle’s house before my flight. As we drove out of Wegbe, the Christ Orphanage kids were crossing the road to go to the park to play. They yelled out my name as I waved to them and started crying. It was nice to see them again before leaving but it was very difficult, as I wanted to go play with them at the park. I didn’t want to endure the 4 hour drive to Accra and then the long flight back to LA. I wasn’t ready to leave.

Although I didn’t get to see the kids officially move into the new site or do everything that I wanted to do while I was there, I think I accomplished a lot. I learned so much more about the Ghanaian life style. I learned more about what life would entail when I finally make that step and move to Ghana. I realized that I have the potential to continue to make great things happen for the community in Ghana that I care about so much and other communities that I hope to be able to help in the future. And most of all, I learned once again to appreciate life and live every moment to the fullest. I learned the hard way that nothing in life in certain and that things can change (for the better or worse) in the blink of an eye.

I treasure every moment of this trip and cannot wait to get back to Ghana after I graduate from college (what a crazy thought!). Thank you to all of you for taking this journey with me and for reading about my experiences in Ghana for the fourth time! If you would like to make a donation to The Ghana Project or purchase a beautiful, one of a kind bag, coin pouch, or purse, or other item, please email me. Your purchase could provide a school bag for a child at Christ Orphanage.

Thank you to all of you for your love and support! It means the world to me!

Until next time,
Nicole

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