My Return ‘Home’ to Ghana

Knowing that I would be re-entering the world of the 9 to 5 day this week  (actually mine is 8 to 6, but who’s keeping track) I took the opportunity to return to my first African home country and took the nine hour bus to Ghana last week. My friend, Sangeeta, who is the Fulbright Scholar for Togo, accompanied me to Accra and my former village home.

The first day in Accra, we were invited to the Tedx Conference where we would participate in a live stream from Melinda Gates, who spoke about birth control in developing countries. For those who aren’t familiar with TEDx,  it is a conference series devoted to the concept of “ideas worth spreading.” TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a non-profit that has been devoted to this since 1984. It is global and growing, (ironically, my mom, J.J. Martin, spent yesterday volunteering at a TEDx conference in our home town area.)

Melinda Gates was fascinating, and so incredibly relevant to the world that I have been living in for the past 8 months.  She diplomatically tackled controversial issues  that surround the contraception debate with a grace and simplicity that spoke truthfully. I’ve included the link here and highly encourage you to watch! –>Link to Melinda Gates …. Please feel free to share your thoughts about the video on my blog comment box.

After the conference, I introduced Sangeeta to the wonderful modern world of Accra. When I left Ghana for Benin, I knew that I would be taking a step back from the modern world, but returning to Accra made me realize how drastic the difference was.  When I got off the plane from the U.S. to Ghana, I felt like it was so far behind what I considered to be modern society.  But who knew five short months later, I would be moving even farther away from that concept. I mean, Accra has coffee shops and a mall (though a pretty crappy one by U.S. standards). Sangeeta and I spent the weekend spoiling ourselves with salads, milkshakes, sushi… we even went to see “The Lorax” at local the theater.

The next day we ventured back to my village, Medie. This was by far, the highlight of the trip. I called the headmaster of my school and told him I was coming. He told me that the children wouldn’t be in school because of the Easter holiday, but to come anyway. When I arrived,  my entire class was at the school waiting for me!!! Apparently he had gone around the village and gathered them for me. When I walked up to the class, I got the BEST group hug ever!

I sat with the kids and asked them if they had remembered things I had taught them. One by one their hands went up, and their answers were astounding. “You taught us about water purification, which is when we remove bad things from the water so that it is safe for us to drink…” “..The three states of matter are solid, liquid, and gas. Matter is anything that has weight and takes up space.” And on and on..

After the kids left, the headmaster, Raymond, told me that when I taught them about personal hygiene, like washing hands and keeping perishable foods cold, they went home and told their parents. The parent’s came back to the headmaster and told them how happy they were to have learned from their kids, and now at home, everyone washed their hands before they ate. It was so moving to know that my small lessons were spreading throughout the community.

We also went to visit my old neighbors, who run their own NGO called AFRICED, which takes medical students from the U.S. to Africa so that they can gain clinical experience in a developing country. They invited us to stay the night and made us dinner. I have missed Ghanaian food so much!



I took some shots of my ol’ stomping grounds like I was there…

I also took Sangeeta to the Accra Art Market, where my friend Jackson lives and works. For those of you who have been following my posts since the beginning, Jackson is doing really well, he has continued to learn how to read since I left and is trying to return to school.

On Sunday, Sangeeta and I jumped back on a tro-tro and headed home… I took advantage of photo ops along the way and have included them for your viewing pleasure!





That’s all for now. Sending lots of love from Cotonou! xoxo


No ping yet

  1. Alex Sylvester says:

    Sy, I’m so glad you were able to go back to the school for a visit! Did the kids tell you they received our pen-pal letters and fundraiser money? We raised $1500 for the school! Any idea what they are going to spend it on or if the kids were able to write back? My students are so excited to get letters back. I miss you over here and hope you are doing well!


  2. Bertil says:

    We took a brief look at what is happening in life. Very nice to be able follow a little bit about what you have been up. You have some rewarding experiences – nice!
    Best to you, and give our regard to the good students you have….
    Bertil and Alicia

  3. Priscilla says:

    Hi Sy,
    I have been following your travels from stateside. You have had a lt of amzing experiences since I last saw you at Joy Family Lodge. I saw Melina in Denver recently. When you get back and are in the New York City area, let me know. I am close by.
    Have a good time during your remaining time in Africa,

    1. admin says:

      Thank you, Priscilla, I would LOVE to meet up when I arrive!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>