Marisa, Ghana

Marisa Worked as a Teacher in Ghana

 

Unforgettable, powerful, inspiring, and eye opening. These are just a few words that describe my life changing experience in Ghana. Whether you’re fresh out of high school or looking for a break from university or college, this is an excellent opportunity to “find yourself”.

I’m not going to say this experience has been flawless and has not come with challenges, because that would be a lie. But looking back I’ve realized that each struggle I’ve faced has been a learning experience that’s made me that much stronger. It’s given me the ability to open my eyes and view the world from a whole new perspective and a greater sense of appreciation and gratitude for our standard of living.

Travelling to Ghana is like stepping into a whole new world. Every aspect of life is overwhelming and different. The people, food, language, temperature (yup, definitely the temperature), clothing, DRIVING, and the ways and norms of society are just a few of the things that are incredibly different than what we’re used to…but that’s the beauty of it. By embarking on an experience like this you learn: to adapt, about a new culture, and more about yourself.

Teaching is SO much fun. These kids are still crazy and rambunctious like all kids back home, but there’s no need to be intimidated by them. These kids are guaranteed to love you as long as you show up and teach. These kids thrive and benefit from your expertise in English and are thrilled to have you there. While teaching, you create many bonds with the children and memories that last forever. Even the small moments like listening to them sing during worship or watching their eyes light up when they understand or receive a sticker makes the whole experience so worthwhile.

The people are genuinely kind. They go completely out of their way to help you find your destination and will go into lengthy conversations just to find out more about you and why you’re there. Some even go a step further to hold your hands throughout the entire conversation to express their sincere compassion.

Some of my many highlights from my trip would definitely have to include having deep conversations under the stars with my host dad and fellow volunteer Mason, going on a field trip with my school to Kakum National Park to brave the canopy walk, travelling up North with a couple great friends to witness the elephants and monkeys during Easter holidays, coaching a group of phenomenal soccer players and really getting to know them, fundraising with Mason and Sarah to help build a library and classroom, hanging out with my little sister Ellen doing absolutely anything and everything together, having African clothes made (African pants are the best!), pounding fufu/banku, having a lizard climb up my pants while passing through the thunderstorms, being called “Madam Marisa” or “sister Marisa” on a daily basis, and the many weekend escapes to the beautiful beaches with my friends.

I taught at a small, ambitious school by the name of Timoskay School Complex. The family atmosphere was everything I hoped it would be (I already miss them to pieces), the school’s staff was so welcoming, and the students were a blast to teach. This kind of experience is a gift. It’s an opportunity you need to take advantage of because who knows if you’ll get the chance later on. I’m so glad I took on this adventure because I’ve now gained life long friendships, a second family, and an endless collection of unforgettable memories.