It has been 3 weeks since I left Ghana.
The moment I stepped back on to U.S soil I cried. Not because I hate the U.S and I didn’t want to be here but because it finally hit me that the trip had officially come to an end and that I wouldn’t know when I would see those kids again. The moment I arrived in the U.S I rushed back into the hurried life. I had to set up appointments with advisers and start working again. Everything about my month in Ghana felt like a dream. Nothing in the U.S reminded me of there, the lifestyle is just so different. When I would tell people about my experience I would get different reactions. Some didn’t really seem interested even though they asked, some were curious but it was still hard because they couldn’t fully understand what all just happened and some looked at me kind of skeptic as another white American girl coming back from “helping” in Africa.
I have always been somewhat against short term missions trips or short term humanitarian trips. I find that the most impact you can make and the way to actually help is devote to a project long term. Unfortunately, with college I was unable to do that. But that is why I am so happy to know that Devon is living there and has devoted her life to the kids at Project Nyame NSA. That’s what these children need, they need long term attention and love. That is why I also love that Project Nyame NSA has Ghanaian foster parents, so they will be there long term and the same culture as the kids. The last thing we need is another organization in Africa that only has American volunteers and workers… every person who works at Project Nyame NSA is Ghanaian except for Devon.
Although I was only there for a month I feel as though I really grasped what the children need and what is really going to help them. I learned so much about orphan care and learned about each child’s individual need, which many times when visiting orphanages it’s not always easy to get to that intimate relationship with the children. That is why I will forever cherish those relationships because I got to be there from the beginning when the kids first arrived and was able to watch them come out of their shell and feel at home. I wish I could of stayed there longer and even live there to fully be able to watch them grow and help them. But for now I am happy to know that they are in good care and a part of an organization that truly loves them and is always looking for what is best for them.
Being back home has made me reflect a lot on what I want in life. What am I living for? What should I spend my time and focus on? What should I spend my money on? What do I want to do with my life? The rich life I felt in Ghana and the fulfillment it gave me has made me want nothing more than to continue to devote my life to helping others. I can’t sit back and watch the news on TV and not want to do something. However, I have learned while being back in the U.S that it doesn’t mean I need to go to another country right now, the U.S has plenty of problems that need to be addressed and people to reach out to. Right now I am in college and need to finish my studies but that doesn’t mean that helping others is paused, it means continuing to reach out to people around me. Reaching out to my neighbors, classmates, being there for family and friends, volunteering with urban ministries, talking to the “weird” girl or boy that no one else does, the list can go on. I can’t just sit here and wish I was back in Ghana to start living and doing what I love, I can do it now where I am. You can make a difference wherever you are. God has each of us in a place for a reason and has brought people into our lives for a reason. Take advantage of the opportunities God has given you and take action and love others wherever you are.