Towering, white historical doors awaited us on the other side of the glass windows of the bus. Peace met us at the doors along with our tour guide. Two steps and there I was in the slave forts, where many inhumane situations had taken place. The walls were tattered and the white paint was disintegrating, erasing symbolic but devastating memories. We walked through the dark and old tunnel-like "cave" while each student held onto one another trying not to stumble over craters in the ground which resembled openings where the slaves urinated. There were dents located on the walls that related to places where slaves were hung and brutally punished.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
As we tirelessly walked up the incline and out of the dungeon, the stench of sweat left my nostrils and the overbearing heat left my body for a moment only to realize that humidity was still there. The slave forts in Cape Coast were harmonious and peaceful. Having the opportunity to walk through the door of no return and having the chance to return while many slaves long ago did not, was very captivating and a life-long experience.
Arriving at the homebase in Ghana, Africa with other Global Leadership Adventure Students, I was welcomed into the Anloga village by local Ghanaians shouting "Woezori"(welcome). Walking into my new home for three weeks, I was astounded to find beautifully designed sofas with an array of colors and a small kitchen. The drummers officially welcomed us with a celebration filled with traditional music and popular African dances like the Azonto.
Each day, we walked through the sand passing tall palm trees and through the large cornfields only to reach our destination: The Anloga Primary School. Children were scattered around excitedly and I attempted to assemble a circle with the children as I noticed curiosity they had in their eyes. I stood in the middle of the circle and taught them how to play the Hokey Pokey. Soon after, the children ran off to class while we began our community service project which consisted of building bricks rigorously under the beaming sun and also, to teach the children the English language. Many of my peers were in Ghana to earn community service hours, however, I completed all of my hours needed prior to joining GLA. My compassion for helping others was very noticeable especially through my hardwork and dedication during our service. The elementary class I taught, Primary 2, was very literate and by the end of our service, they were experts at the "Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" song. I believe that I have instilled in their minds to continue their education through Secondary School, which Ghanaians have to pay for.
Our weekend excursions were filled with exciting trips to different towns like Cape Coast, Ho, and Klikor. We visited monkey sanctuaries where I fed harmless monkeys bananas. We visited New Seed, an organization that provides care to children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Our journeys also included a walk 130 feet high above a rainforest during the Canopy Walk. The breath-taking scenery at the Wli Waterfall, the tallest in West Africa, was an amazing experience, too. Watch the below video to see some of the highlights from my trip:
The trips we took were all amazing and life changing especially at New Seed International. Many of the children lost their parents to HIV/AIDS and surprisingly, they were so content and happy with their lives. Before leaving New Seed, a girl named Deborah approached me and said "Don't forget me" and in honor of her I will never forget where I come from and where I've been in my life. I've learned to appreciate what I have instead of always acknowledging what I don't have.
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