Mar 292010
 

“Ooo, you were CRYING last night, ooo!” laughed Sena Comfort this morning, pulling me into a hug.

How true her words were! Yesterday, Youth Creating Change threw me a “Thanks for the Past Three Months” Bon Voyage party with all my students in the afternoon, followed by a powerful ceremony with beloved co-workers in the evening. The day was unbelievable… and I cried a ton!

During the student party, kids belted out songs, performed traditional Ghanaian dance (replete with live drumming, singing, and stunning outfits, pictured to the lower right!), and gave both heartfelt speeches and sparkling gifts.

In my own speech to the students I choked back tears, explaining how much they’ve inspired me with their dedication, beautiful personalities, and hard work. I vowed that I will continue to follow their exploits forever, no matter where I may be. I want to see the amazing things they will surely go on to do in the future! Those kids are AWESOME.

During the evening staff celebration, I cried so hysterically that my bench-mate Sena Comfort nearly drowned. We went around the whole circle saying things we appreciated about each other over the past three months, and noting ways we can do even better in the future. I passionately love my YCC colleagues! They have awed me each day with their dedication and hard work, and with the fantastic impact they make on this community.

So how does all this relate to YOU?

I have now been traveling around the world for seven and a half months, but these three months volunteering in Ghana have been the most glorious and life-changing part of the whole journey thus far.

The moral of the story for you is this: if you ever have the chance to volunteer in another country (preferably for at least three weeks), TAKE IT! If you don’t think this opportunity exists for you, MAKE IT!

Still not convinced? Read the following letter from YCC student, Delightful Derrick (pictured to the left). Now please excuse me while I start crying again!

Dear Madam Lili,

I was not happy when I heared that you will be leaving us soon. Madam Lili, thank you for the great job you’ve done for us. Thank you for spending the last three months for teaching us. May God pay you for your work. I want to write all the great jobs you’ve done for us but I would use too many papers.

Madam Lili, you gave us a lot of respect. You are so kind, lovely, and mercy-ful. You were patient and did not yell at us. You let us touch your camera and your books. I gave you a lot of respect. Madam Lili thank you for helping us in our articles and penpal exchanges and reading. Thank you for accepting my Ewe language classes. Thank you. Please send my greeting to your family, your students, your friends, and your neighbors.

Madam Lili, I would not like to say bye bye to you but I will try to say it. May God, the Almighty, Most High bless you and protect you from evils.

Madam Lili, I wish you a safe journey back home. A big THANKS to you. And Madam Lili, you have to visit the Spa before you go. Here is a drawing of an airplane. Thank you!

Yours Faithfully,
Sarpong Derrick

Ohh, sweet Derrick and sweet YCC! I believe I will never be able to fully repay this organization for all that its students and staff have done for me, but I will try!

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  16 Responses to “Why International Volunteering is a Glorious Way to Travel”

  1. Ms. Marshall I think that it is very cool that you had the ability to go out into Ghana and visit people in Africa and talk to them. Now you are able to spread this information with Family, friends, and your students.

  2. I like how you added in the letters the kids sent to you about leaving. It added a lot more to the article and really explained how much you volunteered and how much you helped them.

  3. It was swell to read of your journey in Ghana, as well as your disembarking. It was emotional to read about the letter that Sarpong Derrick had written you. It was a lot of fun to read about your journeys in the great African country that is Ghana. I’m glad to hear you had a great time teaching internationally!

  4. This is so emotional! You are amazing. The letter that was written by Derrick made me all emotional!

  5. Bumped into this article, and happy I did. That note written to you made me smile. So beautiful!

  6. […] Post you’ll love: Why International Volunteering is a Glorious Way to Travel […]

  7. […] Why International Volunteering is a Glorious Way to Travel […]

  8. This is awesome, indeed. I loved Derrick’s letter. Your students look all so cute in those pictures!

  9. […] Why International Volunteering is a Glorious Way to Travel: A love letter to international volunteering, travel blogger @WorldLillie shares her volunteering abroad experience.  This soulful teacher had spent three months volunteering in Ghana and had a heart opening time. This article is sweet and she also has a whole list of articles on volunteering abroad. […]

  10. Awww, Ms. Marshall that letter got me all teary eyed. So sweet.

  11. […] Why International Volunteering is a Glorious Way to Travel: A love letter to international volunteering, travel blogger @WorldLillie shares her volunteering abroad experience.  This soulful teacher had spent three months volunteering in Ghana and had a heart opening time. While this article is sweet, she also has a whole list of articles on volunteering abroad. […]

  12. Ugghh…..you must have balled your eyes out! What a beautiful letter!

  13. Anne said…
    Lillie, YOU are awesome! If Blogger hadn’t made you it’s Blog of Note, I would never have found you. I’m a new admirer. What a beautiful person you are.

    March 30, 2010 7:22 AM

    A Good Moroccan said…
    What a great way to travel AND do something really positive.

    March 30, 2010 10:17 AM

    Gillian said…
    Love reading your travels.

    Congrats on Blogs of Note!

    March 30, 2010 11:20 AM

    nodebtworldtravel.com said…
    You did good work there L. 6 weeks ago I said time in flying for your time in Ghana and I can say it again ANOTHER 6 weeks later.

    Onto Portugal.

    March 30, 2010 4:27 PM

    ::: tellin’ it like it is ::: said…
    I just discovered your blog and really love your spirit. You are inspirational! 🙂

    March 30, 2010 5:07 PM

    sand in the winds said…
    I do volunteer work as well at far-flung areas in our city thus I could relate to the joy you feel from within. I’m so touched by letter which derrick wrote to you. I, too, have received similar letters from two of our scholars and they fattened my heart. I’m not into teaching but I only bridge the donors to the less-fortunate recipients. Just like you, the children whom we have touched hearts are inspired by our works. Sharing with them the blessings from the donors is my way of teaching them the value of generosity when one day they get out of poverty. Keep up the good work Ms. Lili. Nice and inspiring blog you have here 🙂

    April 3, 2010 5:06 PM

  14. Lil, I cried reading that note. (Just a little.)

    You are *such* an inspiration. And not just to people who know you!

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