June 29th, 2017
I had just gotten back from staying in a villa in Santorini, Greece with my family, and I had 2 days to pack and prepare for a month-long stay in Ghana. To be honest, I didn't really want to go. In my mind, I didn't have enough time to get my things in order, and the thought of being away from my friends before they all begin their careers in other states didn't appeal to me. I wanted to be able to be in constant contact with my close-knit group as they experienced their first days in a new city. I wanted to be able to have dinner with my little sister after she had her first day of her first real internship. For some reason, being a part of my friends' and family's important moments trumped making important memories of my own. After mindlessly checking off things from last year's packing list, the day came quicker than I had liked. I loaded up my clothes and supplies into two overweight suitcases and made my way to the airport with my parents. The first time seeing this country was exciting and new, but I had a feeling of reservation clouding my mind. This reservation didn't subside until being in Ghana for a couple days when I finally was able to appreciate this experience for what it is- once in a lifetime. Never before and never again will I be able to walk the streets of Mampong at night shopping for Fan Ice and fabric with Anna and Ashley. Never will I get the chance to work alongside 12 remarkable strangers aiding in improving the health of 5 Ghanian towns. Never will I have that shining moment of confirmation that my plans to pursue Midwifery and Nurse Practitioner school are not in vain. Never will I eat red-red or banku in a home filled with such love, or grilled corn off the streets of Kumasi. Never again will I experience such a sight as the one of women carrying fish heads and flip flops on their heads through the narrow streets of the jam-packed market. Never again will I see a wild elephant for the first time, and never again will I see baboons steal mangos out of Rachels hands. Never again will I be so inspired by a teacher to make my own community a better place, just as he does every day. I will never get another chance to learn so much about the world or myself as I already have here in Ghana. Though I do not have the constant opportunity to talk to those back home who are hitting important milestones in their life, I no longer care at all. In my opinion, I am hitting much more profound milestones in my life over here. I have learned who I want to become, how to live in a place not always comfortable to me, and that I should never prejudge a place or group of people before I arrive. I do not share any of the same sentiments as the Annie who boarded the plane to Ghana, and for that, I know Ghana has already changed me for the better.
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