I feel like each time I come to Ghana, it changes my life. Guys, I can’t tell you how many amazing experiences I have had in Ghana. It is seriously everyday I have a cool, hard, crazy, or fun, life changing experience. I honestly don’t know where to start!! Lol.
But before I do, I have to tell you the exciting news!!! Ghana Make A Difference recently launched a contest that whoever raises the most money for GMAD will win a trip to Ghana for a service adventure of a lifetime! Ghana will CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!
Anyone can enter so if you’re interested go to ghanamakeadifference.org to find out more!
I have loved living in Ghana at the GMAD home! The kids are amazing! (as always ;) But seriously. I have connected with each of the kids on such a personal level. All of them have become my best friends. :)) As much as I love Ghana, I really mostly love it for its people. Being in Ghana for a long time is hard! I don’t really like most of the food (If someone brings me Costa Vida, I’ll love them forever!! ;), its very hot, dirty, sometimes no running water and power outages occur daily. So it definitely gets hard sometimes. But the people outweigh that stuff. I don’t know how I’m going to leave Ghana in 6 MONTHS!!! (P.S. guys my family is coming up on the 6 month point of our trip which is crazy!! We are about on the downhill to coming home!)
Kofi is one of the GMAD kids that I have really come to know and connect with. I love this kid beyond words! He was abandoned on the street and he was treated very wrongly which breaks my heart. He was treated badly because he has special needs. Kofi was brought to GMAD by Ghana’s Social Welfare. Due to being mistreated, he tends to be aggressive towards the other kids. He has dealt with a lot of trauma in his life. BUT Kofi has definitely got a sweet side. And man!!! This boy has stolen my heart! In church I went to the primary class and at the end of class we had a prayer. Kofi was next to me and I told him, “fold your arms.” And he did! He did it so reverently, I had never seen that from him! He folded his arms and closed his eyes, and bowed his head. It was so cute and so cool!! Lately he’s been coming over to me a lot to hug me and he told me the other day, “I love you, I love you.” Ahh kofi I love him!! And of course I love his usual “Kofi is a good boy” or “Kofi go to school.” Honestly I have seen improvement in him from the start of my time here. He still has some bad times but I know he’ll get to where he needs to be. ;) I just really love this kid and hope he knows how special he is.
Another person I’ve come to know is Fatima and her son Abdullah. These two are amazing!! Abdullah has a facial disorder, meaning he looks different than a “typical” kid. Fatima is his mom. When I first met Fatima, she told me a little of Abdullah’s story. She told me how Abdullah would get hit and people would throw rocks at him. He had no friends. Life was so tough for them! It was just as hard for Fatima as it was for her son. When Abdullah was a baby, people brought her poison and said she should kill him because he’s not human. People would refuse to sit next to her on the bus. In Ghana, people like Abdullah are believed to be cursed. Isn’t that crazy?!
I told her my story and how many surgeries I’ve had. I will never forget her face when I told her. She had such soft eyes, almost to where she was about to cry. Then I was talking to her about what I like to do and I mentioned friends and she was like “you have friends?!” In a nice way of course. She just didn’t think I would because she’s seen Abdullah’s situation where he’s had none. Of course I’ve always been beyond grateful for my friends but it reminded me to always be grateful for them and I am so grateful to have grown up in a good environment. I can’t imagine my life right now without my friends. I feel completely normal around them and I’m just so grateful they don’t treat me differently.
When I saw Abdullah for the first time, tears came to my eyes. I had to leave the room to get a minute alone. I was thinking about what a blessing it is for me to have the medical care I need to keep me healthy. There in front of me was just a normal kid, with a different face, who would just get treated very badly in his community! Ahh it broke my heart guys!
A few weeks ago we had a soccer/football game and we had a game for the smaller kids. Abdullah joined in the game and he was having the time of his life. He’s never been invited to play a game of soccer before. His mom was taking pictures of him and she was very emotional seeing her son be part of the team. It was totally a proud mom moment! The older kids were bragging about how good he was in the game. And he was really good! It all was just such a happy time!! Now that I’ve gotten to know him a lot more I have seen how sweet of a boy he is. When I’m outside, he’ll come over to me and just hug me for a good long time. And I love it. I hope someday he will find and know his worth and his purpose. He is something special.
There are kids at the GMAD home who have not received education due to being a part of child labor, (or in Abdullah and Esther’s case, their special needs have not “allowed” them to attend school). They are very behind in school. So we started up a school here at Ghana Make A Difference. On the first day of starting this school, we had kids at age 14, 15 who didn’t know how to hold a pencil! I have had the chance to teach the kids and work with them in school part of the time. They have come SO FAR from where they started!! It is amazing!! I have tutored some of these kids in math or reading and it is so fun for me to see when they master something and they are so excited about it! It’s awesome!! But anyway the GMAD school has been super life changing to the kids in their education.
I could go on and on about everybody’s stories. But these are just a few that have really impacted my life. Literally everybody here has a story. It changed MY STORY so much for the better. I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for what the people here have done to my life. My first time to Ghana, I was expecting to be helping and serving the people and making their life better. But really they made MINE better! And they continue to each time I come. They have showed me the true happiness in life.
I’m so grateful that all these kids here at GMAD have this amazing place to just be kids and they can receive education and learn how to be successful and also learn who they are! All these kids are always going to have a special place in my heart. When I leave some of these kids I will never see again in this life. But I will always remember them! And I never want to forget the experiences I have with these kids and other people in Ghana.