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Jan
21

As the Winds Change, So Do I…


“Fret not where the road will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step. That’s the hardest part and that is what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything  do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Do not go with the flow. Be the flow.”- The Forty Rules of Love, Elif Shafak

At the end of every West African December, the rain disappears as the winds change. Sands from the Sahara Desert  are lifted up and carried thousands of miles, floating over Ghana, Benin, Nigeria and further. A fine dust covers palm leaves and roof tops, creating a hazy blanket and turning the sun from a formidable force to a light dull bulb in the African sky. They call this the harmattan.  As this  natural phenomenon ends now with dying winds and settling dust, it has ushered an omen for a change in my own life.

Sometimes life gives us an unexpected turn. I have left Joy2theWorld as the Program Director. I will miss my wonderful friends in Medie and at Naa Kordey school and plan to keep in touch. I cannot discuss the reasons for my abrupt departure, as I signed a confidentiality agreement which I will, of course, honor.

I can, however, say that I am safe, happy, and richer for all the experiences I have had here, and am that much more ready to embrace my future. In five short months in Ghana, I have enjoyed the local cuisine (and increased my tolerance for spicy food), learning how to cook such dishes as light soup, okra stew, and palaver sauce with plantains. I have tumbled in the waves of Takoradi and climbed the ominous (to me, at least) Upper Falls at Wli. I have transformed some students’ relationship to the English language, and alerted the administration to learning disabilities of others. I have fallen in love with my class and been equally heartbroken by all that I cannot accomplish to affect change in the educational system as a whole.

While my the beginning of my sixth month in Africa has ushered the end of one chapter, I am not done with my love affair with this great continent. I have received an invitation from a wonderful family in Benin, thanks to a good friend. So it is with a happy heart and open mind that I will take a eight-hour bus ride through eastern Ghana and then Togo before arriving in my new home city of Cotonau. With a new visa in  one hand  and a French-English dictionary in the other,  I will start another chapter of my West African journey. I leave in one week, and before I depart, intend to blog as much as I can about all things Ghana I have not yet shared.  I may come back to Ghana before I leave for the U.S., but I don’t want to forget anything or take any chances. Thank you for continuing to share this journey with me, like the quote from Forty Rules of Love ( a beautiful novel about Rumi and Shams), I have no idea where this road shall take me, but “fret not where the road will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step.”

I have included some of my all time favorite photographs of my time in West Africa so far:

From school days…

To polio vaccines…

To Cape Coast…

 

And Kakum National Park…

And my Mom’s visit and trip to Ada Foah…

And of course, some wild animals…

And a very Happy New Year’s in Accra..

I have fallen in love with this country and the people who have so warmly welcomed me…

I am so looking forward to the new experiences to come. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 comments

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  1. lila says:

    Sounds exciting. What an amazing opportunity you now have to see more of Africa! Awesome! I can’t wait to hear more about Ghana, the 8 hour bus ride and the new chapter in Benin. Safe travels!

  2. Bertil says:

    Thanks for sharing. We heard about the turn in your adventure. We think you will be that much richer for it.
    And BTW, you are a good writer……
    Best…….

  3. DAVID MOITOZO says:

    Dear Cuz Sy,

    First, I ditto what Betil says… you are a great writer! (First thing I noticed when I read this blog!) I too send you many blessings for continued safety, great health and experiences that fill a lifetime with fond memories.

    Please do keep us abreast of your whereabouts and adventures. GOD Bless & Shalom!

    Warmest regards,

    David

  4. dana dakin says:

    Lovely to meet you here at Joy Family Lodge. Ghana will always be in your soul. Indeed, it already shows in your writing. First steps are all that count (and “returning”). Dana

    “Fret not where the road will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step. That’s the hardest part and that is what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Do not go with the flow. Be the flow.”- The Forty Rules of Love, Elif ShafakDana

  5. Gary Aquilina says:

    Sy:
    Waht an opportunity and a generous act of humaness!
    You are in a place very few Americans visit, and are making a difference.
    Go forth and create new relationships and experiences. You will be a more powerful human on this adventure. I enjoy your writings and sharing, almost like being there.
    Warm regards,
    Gary

  6. Barry North says:

    S,

    you are doing what a lot of people would love to do at some point in their lives but hold back. To me you represent the free spirit in all of us. keep riding the wind until it brings you home.
    Barry

    1. admin says:

      Thanks, Barry! I really appreciate your kind words! Much love.

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