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Harry’s Article: School Far From Family

Article #13 in the YCC Kids Club Ghana Student Life Stories Project
Attending School Far From My Family

By Bekoe K. Harry, Age 16

For the past four years, I have been living many, many kilometers away from my parents so that I can have access to a proper education.

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!!

I was not having a single hope for the future at that point. But still, since first appearances last longer, I dressed my best.

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!

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Jenny G Rankin

Saturday 7th of January 2017

What an incredibly inspiring story! WOW! You should be so, so proud of all you have accomplished, Harry. WOW! I am having trouble spotting the "donate" button for your next UK trip. Can you please tell me the link? Thank you so much! :-)

Lillie

Monday 9th of January 2017

Thanks so much for your comment, Jenny! I'll message you with an idea.

Harry

Thursday 28th of July 2016

After 7 years...reading this has brought a huge smile on my face. There is really a lot that has changed. There is more to learn but I believe my next article on this site will have no baring to my past. You should expect that one day. Thanks Madam Lillie. For everything :)

Lillie

Friday 29th of July 2016

It's been so exciting watching the great things you've been up to! Looking forward to continuing seeing your journey.

Harry

Sunday 6th of March 2011

This article was indeed a wonderful one i will never forget in my life time.

Seong Jun Cho

Wednesday 30th of June 2010

Hello. Harry. I read your writing. Now I have almost same situation with you. I am learning english in the U.S and I am far away from my family. So, I know your feeling. I am inspired from you because I do not speak english very well, but so far I did not do my best. I know you have more difficult situation than me. However, you did them you want and learn. I respect you and I will challenge myself again to achieve my goal. I hope you study hard and get a good job in the future and I will also endeavor everything as you.

Imported Blogger Comments

Thursday 27th of May 2010

Luddy Sr. said... Harry,

Hi. It's Kwabla! How are you? I really enjoyed your story. I suppose I have met you after all your hard work and sacrifice had already started to pay off. I remember you being a smart and confident young man!

Please tell Madam Agnes and the other children that I say hello. Keep up the great work.

Kwabla - (Connecticut, USA)

March 2, 2010 8:38 AM

Alexander Nechanitzky said... Hello Harry, Hello Lillian!

Thank you for writing the story, giving us more insight in the actual challenges, the youth faces in Ghana. Harry, we first met a couple of years ago and your progress since then is great. A big thank you to your parents to make this hard step to send their son far away. I wish you will finish junior high school with similar results like your elder brother in Madam Agnes' home! Don't give up learning. Best results at school enable not only to get a good job, but also to succeed in your live. So you will be able to give something back to your dear parents.

And hope to see you in London!

March 2, 2010 9:39 AM

Anonymous said... Hi Harry,

It was amazing to read your story, on my birthday, you have put a huge smile on my face. You are an amazing young man with great respect for your elders, your hard work will bring you many rewards. Stay focussed on your goals and always believe that you have the resources to make good things happen for yourself. Can't wait to see all of you again this August, with hard work and the help of those who are able to it will happen.

Melissa - (Kingston, London)

March 2, 2010 1:54 PM

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