Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A to Z: Honorable Mention for A...Africa

In 1994, a trip to Ghana changed my life. The opportunity came and I didn't hesitate. I had never thought about taking a trip to a third-world country before then, but I felt there was a reason and purpose behind it. Ghanaians are an amazing community of people. I certainly learned more from them then they did from me.

Our objective was to build a piggery. Arriving to the site we learned right away that in Ghana, time is not important or at least not a priority. The site wasn't even prepped for building. The funny thing is, they didn't want us to work at all. They treated us like kings and queens and insisted on us sitting in the shade of a cocoa tree drinking bottled soda. (I drank a lot of soda! It was rude not to accept so my bladder had tons of fun.) We did work though. Not as much as we wanted to, but we did what we could considering the site wasn't ready.

One of the days we went out touring and saw six-foot anthills on our way to visit different people (all of which offered soda). We took longer than expected and was three hours late for either our welcoming ceremony or one for our farewell. Do you think they were ready for us? Nope. What a great time though! My best memory of that event was the moment hundreds of kids surrounded me. I must have been "dancing" or something to catch their attention. Hundreds of eyes and smiling faces were looking at me...waiting for me to do something. So I did the first thing that came to mind. I made a fist and moving my hand in a circular motion above my head I started Woo Wooing just like Arsenio Hall. It was a hit. All of the sudden, a sea of children were Woo-Wooing. It was an amazing scene. Hilarious and amazing all at once.

The next day we were walking through the town and kids, one after another, came up behind me and did a little Woo-Woo. There was one girl in particular that took a liking to me and I fell in love her too. She was about six, being raised by her grandmother. Every time no matter the size of the crowd surrounding us, she would find me. Her little tiny hand would find mine. I didn't even need to look down. I knew it was Afi.

Africa became a part of me thanks to that trip. My thinking hasn't been the same since and neither has my heart. Some day I wish to return perhaps with my family in tow. And perhaps our mission will not be to build a piggery, but rather to adopt a young Ghanaian child.

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