Article #13 in the YCC Kids Club Ghana Student Life Stories Project
Attending School Far From My Family
By Bekoe K. Harry, Age 16
My parents are both subsistence farmers who grow barely enough to feed our family. It was very difficult for them to support me in my education when I was living with them. My parents could not afford to pay house bills, and so we had to rely on smoky fire-lit lamps instead of electric light. Moreover, the school in my hometown was not good.
At first I felt unhappy moving so far away from my parents. But they made me know how important it was for me to go.
On the twenty-first of November, 2006, I left home to go live in the town of Sogakope with Madam Agnes Appiah. Madam Agnes Appiah is an Evangelist who runs a school and home for orphaned and deprived children. This school and home is called Living Faith.
In fact, it was so difficult for me to cope with my new destination! I was not used to anyone there. I had major challenges making friends, repeating my grade, eating food I was not used to, going to a new church, and much, much more!!
Academically, life was so unfruitful. I had an extremely poor level of understanding in each lesson the teacher’s taught. The weak educational background I had received in my hometown had left me way behind. At Living Faith (pictured to the right), I was always doing my best to understand, but it was like pouring water over a stone. Nothing sunk in!
The teachers would always ask the class, “Have you understood?” The whole class would chant, “Yes!” and I would have no option but to agree, since the majority had understood. I was always beaten at school because of incorrect work.
One day after school, I sat down and thought about what to do to improve my situation. I concluded: I needed to have the determination to learn at all times. To succeed, I needed to spend my nights learning while my friends were asleep.
I told Madam Agnes (pictured to the left) about my problems. She listened well, and then she bought me some books. My determination was so high by then! From then on, I spent all my leisure time learning, to catch up in what I had lost.
It was all a success! I passed my exams and moved on in triumph to the next class!
Then one afternoon, I received a call from my parents through my Madam: my only sister was pregnant. “Oh no!” I wailed. I was so unhappy because it was going to be another burden on our family to raise the baby. For two straight days, I was staggered by what I had heard.
But finally I gave up all bad feelings and continued with life. I focused on the positives. I have indeed learned so many things both at school and by living with Madam Appiah. My foster mother has helped me so much, and has truly taken me as her son. I have even had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world as they flew into Ghana to volunteer at Living Faith and YCC!
I also had the amazing opportunity to spend three whole weeks with youths from Kingston, United Kingdom, thanks to the YCC Cross Culture project. These three weeks added to my life-changing achievements in Sogakope and made me realize that my parents were right: I really could grow here in this place so far from them.
Confidence, volunteering, teaching, helping others, and developing personal skills are some of the benefits I gained from the three weeks of being together with the Kingston students, and these treasures will last with me until eternity.
As of now, our Cross Culture group is trying our best to raise money to send our group of Ghanaian students across the ocean for the return exchange to the United Kingdom this August. I am thinking and wondering how hard it will be for my family to raise so much money for the passport and visa fees, not to mention all the other expenses.
Taking the risk to move so far from my family to attend school seemed emotionally impossible before I did it, but now I see that the sacrifices have paid off. Likewise, my family will do what it takes financially to allow me those three weeks in Europe. This international exchange is the opportunity of a lifetime, and if I hadn’t moved to Sogakope, I likely never would have even had the opportunity to see the world beyond my family’s farm!
Lillie’s Note: Please leave Harry a comment on his heartfelt article, stating your geographical location! If you are particularly moved by his story, please allow me to direct your attention to the “Donate” button to the upper right side of this website. Any contributions to the Ghana-U.K. Exchange would be much appreciated, dear readers!