Follow up & Let Us Shine

My time in Ghana was one of my biggest highlights of the year so far. It was nice to see my family and friends. It has been a while, three and a half years.  See, I don’t get to go home all the time so whenever i do, i get overly excited. People get tired of me talking about going home….but unless you are in my shoes, you will not fully understand.

A whooooolllleee lotta things have changed since the last time i was home. I am going to try to fit all the changes in this one short paragraph. Accra seems even busier than before. There is a huge shopping mall in Accra that is equivalent to any other mall in the US. It is pretty impressive. It has been designed so it operates like foreign malls. There are still dirt roads, but many of the dirt roads i remembered have been repaired. The traffic is even crazy now. You can sit in traffic for about 2-3hours. Since they changed the money rate, casual things like food and drinks is a little expensive now. All the young boys are being influenced by hip hop rappers in the US.  Electricity and water has improved. Technology has really improved. These are all the changes i notice right away. But Ghana is still Ghana, so a whole lot of things are still the same, and needed improvement. But we are on a right path.

This time, my trip was a whole month, so I did all I wanted to do. I had enough time to hang with my family and friends just as much as i wanted. I did few community service like teaching at the UCC (Underprivileged Children Center) and the School of Excellence. I had time to watch few practices and a game of Mandela FC, a football club where i began my football career. I share with the younger boys my experience in the US, and they all loved it. I was able to bond with the Right to Dream boys. Three of the Right to Dream boys have earned full scholarships to three different prep schools on the East-coast, one of which i attended; the Hotchkiss School. Since i went to a prep school, i was able to answer all their questions while i was there. Looking back, I realized that i did a whoooollee lot, which am happy about.

One of the biggest highlights of my trip was my time at the Let Us Shine Girls Academy, up in the Northern Region of Ghana. I have never been to the North, but i have heard and read all about it. In school, i learned the North is the poorest part of Ghana. When i had chance to go, i didn’t hesitate.

The Let US Shine Girls Academy was founded by Fiona Mawuena and Samuel Mawuena. After about 4 years in Ghana, the Scottish woman realized that girls in Ghana do not have the same opportunities as men in terms of exploring their talents and knowledge. So with the help of his husband, they established a non profit organization in Kpandai, up in the North, to give young girls a chance in life. They reach out to deferent villages, selecting young girls who are eager to learn, bring them all to gather at the academy, and offer them the change to go to school, eat well, and play sports. When i was there, i taught them the role of each position in the game of football. But there are other sports that the girls love to play, like volleyball, track and field, and table tennis.  Words cannot describe how great these girls are. I put together videos of my time there. Its on my Facebook page. You can also see it on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gU9sx_kjRX8&feature=share

The Let Us Shine welcomes people from all over the world who are interested in doing voluntarily work at academy such as teaching specific type of sports, teaching a course, tutoring  individual girls, etc. The staff members are also open to take suggestions. There are about 105 girls at the academy right now. about half of them are being sponsored by individuals all over the world. If you wish to sponsor a girl or wish to spend some time in Ghana, doing voluntarily work like this one, get in touch with me….and i will connect you with Fiona and Samuel. Or even better…I MAY COME WITH YOU TO GHANA.

Where Did You Start??

What’s up everybody? Last weekend I visited Mandela FC, a club football team in Labadi where I began my football career. I played for Mandela until I was 11 years old when I was recruited to join the Right to Dream program. My experience on this team is unforgettable. Even though, deep down, I know such experience will never repeat itself, each time I go back to visit, I expect to feel as though I am living through it all again, even if its just for a day.

It was a GAME DAY for them, which means that everyone is hyped and ready to prove something. We got there late so we missed the U-13’s game. But we sat through the first half of the U-17’s. It was a pretty good game. In the first 15minutes of the game, there were about 10 fouls. The kids are going hard on each other. First goal came in the first 2 minutes on a free-kick against Mandela. We left after first half, but I later heard that Mandela tied it up.

I was especially proud to see the players wearing some Marquette gears, thanks to MU Men’s Soccer. It makes me feel as though I am still contributing to the life of the team. I am going to have a life lesson class with the U-13 about how to make it by being themselves. I am looking forward to it.  Until then, Adios !!

Academy/Family

What’s up everybody? It’s been almost a week now since Grace and I arrived in Ghana. I was up at the academy for few days to see the new academy and to introduce grace to everyone. The academy not only look different, it feels different as well. Many of the people I know were away at a tournament in Europe, and i didn’t know all the new players so i chilled with a couple of  boys from my generation. It looks like the boys have even tighter schedule now than when i was there. How is that possible ?? The level of football hasn’t drop a bit. They are still playing like crazy; high intensity.  I am in Accra now but am looking forward to go up again soon.

I visited my  family yesterday and today. Grace came  with me today because she didn’t get here  early enough yesterday. I had a lot of fun with them. After i gave them their gifts, all of them ask to take pictures with Grace. I became the photographer for a little while.We took them out for lunch. The little brother can’t eat with a fork, so what did he do? he put the fork aside because he thinks his hands would  be better. We had a pretty serious conversation for about 30 minutes, and before we know it, we were done. We took them back  and  head over to see my formal football team play.  These are all the pictures i took with my family.

Here We Go!!

What’s up everybody? I am one laundry away from being fully ready for my trip home. In two days me and Grace will be at the center of Accra, all swagged up (Ghanaian style). I am excited for her to see and learn about my country.  She will be working at the Right to Dream Academy. As a Right to Dream graduate, i know what kind of experience she is going to have, and I am pumped about it. Check back for more updates of our trip. God Bless!!

3 Things I Need to Get Off My Chest

Whats up everybody? Three weeks have flew by since Easter break. Man is feeling good. Three things i need to get off my chest.

1) My man is back on Facebook. Everyone say congrattss to frat boy Jack Dickinson. The man had to delete his Facebook for his frat pledging process. I don’t understand all of that stuff, but HEY MAN, am glad you are back in one piece. I miss you.

2) On Sunday B made my day when he scored 4 goals in 2 games. As a team we had a good day but the man of the day on C’s Sport Center goes to B. The man is little but he’s got a football swag. But cogratts  to everyone  for ending the spring season on a good note.

3) Whats up Jessie? The girl says she is making a list for all the things I hate!! GOOD LUCK.

Time Out! We Got A Problem.

What’s up everybody? Back on crutches man, back on crutches.  Hopefully this will be the last.  I’ve been home since Monday. I thought I’d take time off to seal up the pain and the wounds and get back to my rhythm. But I know am gonna be back at it in no time.

Shout out to Pauly D. The man visited me at the hospital on Saturday night when i was knocked out. He could be doing a WHOLE  LOT on a Saturday night, but he choose to hang with me. Shout out to Lo, coach B and coach  Bode. They all rotated to make sure I was ok. Finally shout out to everyone that texted and wished me good luck.

My boys are playing against UIC this weekend at Toyota Park. Good luck. Hoover and RockFace work your magic. Dennis before you get into the boxing ring against me, you need to work your magic too. I won’t be there to see it, but i will see y’all that night b’cus we are hosting y’all for dinner. It should be fun.

Try not to be too pitiful when you see me. It makes me loose confidence in my progression. I don’t know if that make sense to you…but it definitely make sense to me. Adios!!!