In my late twenties, I was given the gift of traveling to Ghana, West Africa to live and teach in a village outside the capital of Accra. It was an experience that impacted me deeply.
One of the things I learned was the importance of community and interconnectedness, and upon my return I was highlighted in a calendar of women “acting up” on the behalf of children. I wrote this for the feature:
I’ve discovered that village life and the families they hold are truly amazing. Unfortunately, still, not everyone has a voice that is heard. The world walks around in silent desperation—yearning to be noticed, to be understood, to be supported. As Americans we have untouchable privilege compared to other countries and yet we seem to be the only culture that fears one another. Interconnectedness is crucial—working toward breaking down the underlying barriers in the nation and among the nations.
The other discovery I made was that regardless of the lack, the struggle, and the oppression…in Africa, joy has a texture. The people are rich with joy and laughter and song and dance. Always…no matter what, there is praise.
That has been forever stamped on my soul. And for years I’ve wanted to give back, to go back, to return to them what they gave to me, but I’ve never quite found the way. Until recently.
A few Sundays ago a woman from our church wept as she shared her experience of sponsoring two, now teenage, children through Compassion International and the impact that she was able to make in their lives and what they have meant to her. When she finished, I looked up at my husband with a raised eyebrow and a smile.
We walked away that afternoon sponsoring an adorable little girl from Ghana, West Africa named Angela. Which, by the way, means angel or messenger of God.
Normally, this isn’t something I would share too much about, except I also signed up to be a Compassion Blogger and my first assignment was to share our story. So, there it is—my journey to Ghana and back again, just not quite in the same way. At least not yet.