“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!
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!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!