I visited Ghana in June of 2013 with Routes founder, Chris Bierbrier and for me, the trip was incredibly challenging. I was in a state of cultural shock and mighty embarrassed that I was struggling. My coping mechanisms while at home include running and yoga, a glass of wine in a quiet room at the end of the day, mindlessly navigating Facebook and other social media sites and chats with my boyfriend. None of these things were available to me while I was in Bolgatanga and I struggled to find myself. I struggled to find beauty.
I also fell in love, but I would not know that until almost two years later. I am just now beginning to write this beautiful story, a story that was personally painful on multiple levels. Levels I barely understood until recently.
I fell in love with the children, the shy youngsters who hid behind trees when I brought out my camera or who stared at me with curiosity as I snapped away. I fell in love with the gentle way these little boys and girls silently flirted with me trying to get my attention.
I fell in love with the confusion and joy on the faces of these little ones when I showed them the screen on my digital camera.
The reasons for my struggles while in Ghana are deep and personal, but suffice it to say that I felt draped with a confusion that surrounded the purpose of my existence here on earth and the awareness that despite the comparative ease I enjoyed in my life as it relates to creature comforts, this back-home ease did not obliterate the longing in my heart to belong and for a village of my own.
Everywhere we journeyed in Ghana we encountered gratitude. And everywhere we went, we also encountered hope. Hope in the eyes of the children.
Thank you from whatever part you play or intend to play in keeping this light of hope burning. May it never die out.
Written by Robin Enright