My trip to Ghana was the most amazing trip I’ve ever taken, in my many travels to the world’s continents.Thanks to Kathy and George, the Tomorrow’s Stars community, and the people of Ghana.
It’s hard to put the experience into words. At the beginning, I was feeling almost mute.It’s as if I was functioning from my belly - which actually has lots of nerves. Those gut feelings are real things. I'm guessing that a lot of Ghanaians, especially in the primitive villages, also spend a lot of their time in a rather non-verbal mode.
Here are a few observations from my 2 weeks in Ghana inAugust 2011:
Ghanian handshake!It's a real meeting of the hands, as opposed to the Western handshakes I'm used to.
In the village of Abrem Essiam, it was delightful to watch Kathy discussing bags of concrete, concretely, with Nana, the village elder. The money gets well spent, and the people spending it get the positive feedback of the nuts-and-bolts attention that Kathy loves and bores George. They're an awesome pair.
The 2 pictures give an example of the impressive contributions of Tomorrow’s Stars.The colorful library in the top picture was developed by Tomorrow’s Stars in Abrem Essiam. By contrast, the overall level of development in Abrem Essiam can be seen from the wood-fired cassava “factory” in the picture below.
In the colorful library picture above, look at the little yellow-bordered picture on the blue post – it’s the paper cover from a hard-back children’s book!When I found a damaged paper cover on a book I got for Tomorrow’s Stars in San Francisco, I simply threw it out – not knowing that it was potential wall art!
“Yesterday’s visit to Heritage Schoolis heavy in my mind,” I wrote in my journal. Heritage School, in another Ghanaian village, was the site of a workshop for its high school grads. Tomorrow’s Stars was a contributor to this workshop, and a participant. These grads now face a situation where the only real employer is the government, and the jobs go to the people with connections, not the people with qualifications or ability. A college education is out of reach financially. What are they to do? Kwesi, who grew up in this village and now teaches in the U.S., wants to inspire and empower the kids to become entrepreneurs, starting with tiny services and businesses. It was poignant and sad to compare their situations with mine and my kids’, where we had parent-paid college; and then we could go job hunting.
I came away from Ghana, delighted with Tomorrow’s Stars and with the people of Ghana. Kathy and George Weir are both absolutely amazing, and they are empowering and networking with so many Ghanaian people.