Jan 132010
The Ghana-Americas Connection

“Why do we feel so at home here in Ghana?” Dan and I have been asking each other.

Slowly it’s dawned on us: it’s not just that the people are amazingly friendly and kind, though that helps. It is that the echoes of our American culture are everywhere here in Ghana, because, we are now understanding, the echoes of Ghana are everywhere in America. Oh the power of the African diaspora!

Here [...Read More!]

Jan 122010
Heat and Development in Ghana

It was too hot today to exist. My fellow YCC Ghana volunteer, Dan, and I spent most of the baking hours attempting to work while draped on chairs and benches and other surfaces, trying to remember to breathe and drinking giant bottles of Voltic Water and Alvaro Non-Alcoholic Pear Malt. The ceiling fans whirled wobbly circles at their maximum speed and only seemed to stir the thick air soup slightly.

This is [...Read More!]

Jan 112010
The Barriers in Flying Students from Ghana to Britain

How can you bear to do it? How can you send the baby of your womb out across oceans, into this wild, scary world? Moreover, how the heck do you help pay for it?

The roosters sprinted across the yellow dust between the parents of YCC children and the YCC staff as John stood up to speak. He started the meeting at 2:20, only twenty minutes later than scheduled, [...Read More!]

Jan 102010
An Awards Day Intro to Youth Creating Change

A delightful way for a teacher to be introduced to her future students is to attend an award ceremony celebrating their previous year.

It is scientifically proven that if a teacher comes into a classroom thinking about the talents and strong brains of her pupils, the pupils in turn will achieve greater academic success. We humans have a nice way of rising to high expectations, don’t we?

So huzzah and tra la [...Read More!]

Jan 092010
Where the Volta Meets the Ocean Meets Food Poisoning

Under the curve of Mother Africa’s head, before her long neck, the blue Volta river spills forth from Ghana and meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Today we had a free time before the Youth Creating Change holiday party tomorrow, and so American Dan, German Alexander, and I went with Ghanaian YCC Staff Member Collins to the meeting of the waters.

Seth pointed to Dan as we were leaving. “You,” he said, “you bring [...Read More!]

Jan 082010
Epic Fundraiser Shopping in Aburi

“Please do not be offended,” said the soldier at the Volta River roadblock, “but are you a spy?”

“No I am not.” replied Dan respectfully.

“Are you sure?” asked the soldier, eying Dan’s fancy camera.

“I am sure,” said Dan.

And thus began our epic journey to the distant hill town of Aburi to fulfill the mission of Backpacking Granny: 1) Take seed money from the U.S. to Ghana to buy hand-crafts, 2) which Dan [...Read More!]

Jan 072010
Arrival at Wonderful YCC in Sogakope, Ghana!

What luck that brought us all together at this wonderful organization in Sogakope, Ghana!

When Ghana emerged as my dream destination a few months ago, I joined the Couchsurfing.org “Ghana” group. (Tip: Do this on CS before going to a new place!)

Almost instantly, I received a dozen welcoming messages from various people and organizations in Ghana who were eager to have visitors and volunteers. One emerged as the most interesting [...Read More!]

Jan 062010
9 Epiphanies of Around the World, 2009!

Hello! Welcome to the last pre-programmed, 2009 Reflection post before we delve into the thrilling world of Ghana news!This here is the biggie, isn’t it: Epiphanies, or, as we teach it in Boston Public Schools: “The ‘AHA!’ Moment.”

Indeed, why do we travel but to shake up our lives and force an “Aha!” from our nose to our toes? Sure enough, the first five months of this joyous Around the [...Read More!]

Jan 052010
Most Loving and Funny Moments of Around the World, 2009!

It’s happy time: Love and Laughter! And as you read this pre-programmed post, I am awaking in my first full day in sunny Ghana, West Africa!Accompanying this article, please enjoy photos from in and around the famous Uffizi Museum of Florence, Italy, including, pictured left, Michelangelo’s gorgeous sole existing non-fresco painting. Look at those muscles on the Virgin Mary!

(Disclaimer: we DID see all these big-shot paintings at the Uffizi, [...Read More!]

Jan 042010
The Diverted Flight and Airport Madness!

Our plane had been circling around and around Frankfurt, Germany for an hour when the captain’s sing-song German came on the loudspeaker.

“Nice!” I smiled to myself, gazing at the bruised purple snow clouds below us that had delayed our arrival so far, “I should still be able to catch my 10:30 flight to Accra if I run!”

The captain cleared his throat and the English translation began. “Unfortunately,” he said sheepishly [...Read More!]