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.

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