Ten seniors from Los Angeles Leadership Academy—a number of whom had never been on a plane–their college counselor and an AFS volunteer, flew to Accra on July 16, 2014. They were welcomed (Akwaaba in native Twi) by AFS Ghana. After two nights with Accra families, the students went by public bus to the Cape Coast region, where they performed community service (painting and teaching) at a local underserved school for children of fishermen. They also attended lectures on the slave trade at two famous “Slave Palaces”, on the coast. From there, for three hundred years, tribesmen and women left through a “Door of No Return” to their lives as slaves in the Americas. The students spent five nights with volunteer families in the Cape Coast (many who were educators), eating Fufu and other Ghanian dishes. The students then were treated to a whirlwind tour of Ghana, including a hike to the highest waterfall in Western Africa, a lesson in batik fabric printing, a chance to barter in local markets and large mounds of food and hospitality from generous people. Our students made the following statements about their experience: “I didn’t mind the bucket baths. We did that in Guatemala.” “I learned to be thankful for what I have.” “I want to help the poor. This is my life’s work. I will be joining the Peace Corp”.
This trip was supported by our very own generous donors, by the LA Leadership Academy, by Dr. Tipu Khan, who administered vaccinations to students free of charge, by Fred Cho, a pharmacist, who provided vaccination medications at cost and by countless volunteers in Ghana who toured with us, organized the events, gave us beds to sleep in, buckets to bathe with, and food to enjoy. To all who made this life changing trip possible, we say Medasi pa (thank you)!
– Barbara Hensleigh, GLA Scholarship Committee