Sunday, January 26, 2014


Aly Fossett

While in Ghana we were able to interact and listen to some of the most interesting and insightful people.  Lecture after lecture I left with new knowledge whether it was about African proverbs, what tree leaves will cure a sore throat, or about the lack of slavery education in the local schools. These were just a couple of my favorite speakers. I have gained more than I could ever imagine from this trip.
But, It wasn’t the teachers, Rabbis, castles or museums that left the biggest impact on me. It was the people, the every day people. The cliché saying “a smile is the universal language of kindness” never rang more truer that it did while I was living amongst the most generous people I have ever met.  The people were so god damn happy. It was contagious. It is hard not to be happy around them.
The people I connected with the most were the kids. I have always loved kids but the children here were so pure, raw, and indescribably happy.  
They didn’t hid shyly behind their moms legs, or cry when they didn’t get their way.  They were vibrant, full of life and wanted nothing more than to be loved.  One afternoon at the beach I was about to go for a swim and out of nowhere four little girl came sprinting towards me, a stranger, and jumped into my arms. “Oburoni(white person), Come swim with us! Come on Oburoni!”. After we swam I sat for another half an hour playing hand games with them. 
Over and over again we chanted the same rhyme, and over and over again it ended in a roar of laughter. Something so simple made me, and them,  so happy. 
I also got the amazing opportunity to volunteer at a local orphanage called Weep Not Child . Again, these children continued to amaze me. 
As we pull through the gates to the orphanage, nothing but smiles.  Even though they share one bedroom with 20 other boys or girls with only 9 beds, even though they play soccer on a piece of dirt land covered with rocks and old nails, even though the babies constantly have dirty dippers because they don't have enough to change them; they are happy. Happiness, what is happiness? What does it mean to be truly happy? I don't think I knew the true meaning of happiness until I went to Ghana. There I learned the simplest form of happiness, not needing anyone or anything to create happiness for me. Just being able to love and enjoy the life I was given.

 Another thing I learned from these kids is that no matter your situation never loose sight of your dreams. These were some of the brightest, well spoken kids I have ever interacted with. You would think that their school work books were the latest video game or a bag full of candy the way they were fighting over them. They love to learn. And they were smart. Daniel, loves math. As we flipped through his math book, page after page, I noticed things that I couldn't even do. After my math session was over I asked Daniel, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" without hesitation he said;

 "A Pilot."

"Why do you want to be a Pilot?"

"So I can fly anywhere I want and see the world."

Daniels dream sticks with me, his optimism sticks with me. If he can live in the situation he does and can dream that big, than anyone can. It's astonishing to me that someone with so little can think so big for themselves. Daniel, my sweet boy, I believe in you "there is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."--Nelson Mandela

Daniel, the Pilot

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