Ghana Team Journal

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I have fallen in love with Ghana! I am with a remarkable group of Americans who continue to respond to the call for volunteers around the world, despite and economic downturn. We're in Senchi Ferry, a remote inland village, building a library and teaching conversational English. The remarkable children are open and loving and welcome us in the classroom each morning with shouts of joy, hugs and kisses. I am astonished by their brightness as they speak both TWI (their local language) as well as English. They are so eager to learn that I feel blessed to be here to work with them as we challenge their gifted and eager minds.

My life is forever changed by this phenomenal experience. THANK YOU, Global Volunteers for offering me this "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity. To be here, sitting side-by-side with black Africans as we watch President Obama take over leadership of the United States is a gift beyond imagination. How far we as a global community have come! I will be back here again some day. I must come back!
-Kathleen Ismail, grateful and frequent Global Volunteer

President Obama's Inauguration from Ghana

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reflections by Deb McNally, Ghana VolunteerTuesday, January 20, 2009

Photos by Kathleen Ismail

In all appearances, today began as every other day. Yet for many of us, I think we knew from the moment we woke that something was very different about today. Inauguration Day in the U.S.!

We are still focused on the work before us – our service to Senchi Ferry – yet, today, a piece of our minds and hearts are back in the United States celebrating the historic moment about to unfold. I feel privileged to be in Ghana for this experience.

So, off to work we went, wind blowing with great force. Dust flying about – a rather harsh element to contend with. We witness a fire out-of-control on the mountainside. Some people will lose farmland. Another reminder of the harsh elements around us. The one thing that remains the same – a beautiful contrast to the harshness – is the heart of the people we’ve grown to love in the village. Laughter seems to flow so easily and so authentically day after day. I so often wonder what there secret is? How, in the midst of such hard work and harsh conditions does a spirit stay filed with laughter? I’d like to learn the secret for my own life.

Work goes on as usual. Kathleen and Sam work their magic with the children. Katie takes a break from the clinic to join Jack and me on the construction site. We tried our best to impress the local masons with our mortar laying skills. There are times I look at the work we do and just pray to God that the library stays standing. It’s another trust walk.

After our traditional lunch of red red and plantains, we begin preparing our living space for the Obama Party about to take place. We head to the village for our tutoring session, but we’re ever mindful of the cloice today. We were determined to return in record time so as to mot miss a single moment of the Inauguration Celebration.

It’s really difficult to put into words the experience and energy of this afternoon. The anticipation, the excitement, the hope – embracing the possibility of what can be. A smorgasbord of emotions fills the room as we all gather around the TV to witness and share the historic moment when Barack Obama becomes President.

As tears fill my eyes, I feel a sense of awe. I am proud to be American, I am proud to be a part of this team that represents a service consciousness of America, but most of all I feel proud and privileged to have members of our Ghanaian family sitting next to us sharing this moment together, This, I believe is where peace on earth begins. We watch the entire inauguration with laughter, applause, reflection and thoughtful conversation. Today an African American stood in Washington DC before millions as a beacon of hope for the possibility of change. On this same day 7 Obrones working in a village in Ghana stand as a beacon of hope for the possibility of change. What a powerful day!