ErinCraig's Travel Journals

ErinCraig

  • 33 years old
  • From Idaho, United States
  • Currently in Idaho, United States

Erin's adventures in Ghana

Many people have asked how they call follow my experience in Ghana. I'm hoping this blog will be a good way for everyone to read about my journey.

Helping, fixing and serving

Ghana Cape Coast, Ghana  |  Oct 20, 2012
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Hello my wonderful friends :) I hope everyone is doing wonderful. Life is Ghana is amazing...as always :)The past few days have been busy. Yesterday morning I woke up (well I was up most of the night) and my throat was still hurting really bad. It was the last day of my antibiotic and I knew the infection wasn't gone. I called Dr. Andrew and went back to the clinic to see him. He gave me some new meds and told me to rest my voice. I missed 4 days of school last week so there was no way that I wanted to miss another day. I went to school, against his orders and was sent home after 30 minutes. Auntie Mary (the headmistress) said that I looked like I wasn't feeling well and told me to go home to rest. I went to ProWorld and took a nap before our meeting. We had our weekly ProWorld get together. We talked about Service Learning. I love our meetings. I always feel like I learn so much more about myself and about my journey here. We were asked a few questions that really got us thinking about our time here. I want to share a few things that we talked about. First, I'd like to define helping, fixing and serving.Helping:*Perceiving person as "weak" helped by the "strong". *Based on inequality of strength. It incurs debts. We may inadvertently take away more than we could ever give.*Experience of strength. *Bases of curingFixing:*Perceiving person as "broken," their brokenness requires me to act*A form of judgement that creates distance. Experience of different. *Experience of mastery and expertise. *Bases of curing.Serving:*Perceiving person as "whole", which I see and trust. *Mutuality. We can only service that to which we are profoundly connected, that which we are willing to touch. *Experience of mystery, surrender, and awe.*Bases of healing. It definitely got me thinking about the difference in the words. The difference in the meanings and what they each mean to me. So many people say to me "you are helping so many people" but after reading this, I'm not sure that helping is the right word. I definitely think that I came here with the "helping" mentality but this place has definitely changed me. I can see myself moving into the serving role more and more every day. We were giving a really great article about the differences between these three things. If you are interested, I would be happy to post it. Its very relevant to the work that I'm doing here and the work that I do every day at home in child protection. After our meeting, Adrienne and Danielle made us a delicious dinner. It was very similar to the dinner that Alex and I made last month. They made delicious nachos. So so good :) I was craving them as I went to sleep last night. I'm missing American food more and more every day. Probably because I know that I will be home in 18 days and will be able to have all of my favorite foods soon. I have a feeling I will be gaining about 20 pounds in the first few weeks that I'm home :) I went to school this morning and it was pretty great as always. I got there during worship. I think it might be one of my favorite thing that the students do. It wasn't as lively as the first one I attended, probably because a lot of the staff wasn't there s the energy level wasn't quite as high. It was still great tho. After worship we worked on beading. I made a few bracelets. I actually made 3 of the same pattern. I made it pink, white and blue. My sister's favorite colors....or so I thought. When I got home from school I showed it to her. She didn't like it. :( Apparently it looks like red, white and blue which are one of the political parties colors here in Ghana...and its one that she really doesn't like. I made 3 because I planned to give one to her, one to her mom who is leaving tomorrow and keep one for her. Well my plan failed :( Her mom is leaving tomorrow so I'm just going to let her take another one of my bracelets that she likes better. The election is coming up in December so they politics are crazy here. I thought America was bad when it came to politics. Back to the beading, the students make the bracelets and then sell them for 2 cedi a piece. That's a pretty high price for here, but they sell them around the castle which is a very touristy place. The profit goes directly back to the school which is pretty cool. One of the guys that is in Patrick's group sells them for the school. I love all the little connections that I have with people here. It makes it even more special to make the beads, knowing that it directly impacts the students that I work with every day. If anyone is interested in buy some, I would be happy to bring them back to America. They are great :) On a sad note, one of the students had a seizure today. It's been a long time since my CPR training but somehow I remembered what to do. He's a bigger kid, so one of the other teacher's helped me put him on the floor. We moved everything away from him, put him on his side and made sure nothing was in his mouth. We placed a pillow under his head. He finally stopped seizing after a few minutes. It was pretty scary tho. So, my mother requested that I talk a little more about the school that I'm at right now. The Aboom Special Needs School is a government run school that was established in 2006 to provide education for children and young adults with "intellectual handicaps" such as autism, cerebral palsy and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is one of the 23 similar schools in regions all over Ghana and currently has a total of 33 children. The main aim of the school is to permit a greater number of children with intellectual disabilities to receive an education that fits their needs. One aspect of this is to provide a transition for the students from school to work, teaching vocational skills such as beading, fabric bag, wallet and purse making to provide the opportunity for the students to eventually become more independent. It is hoped that this project will also provide some extra funding for the school's long term development. It's a very special place and my cheeks hurt from smiling every day when I leave. The children are so full of life and so inspiring. Love love love them :)Patrick came and met up with me after school. We hung out in town for a bit and ran a few errands. I came home and hung out with my sister for a while before she went to church. I told her my schedule for my last few weeks. She was very sad because I'm going to be traveling a lot. :( I'm so thankful for the relationship that I have built with her and all the things she has taught me about her culture. I also had the same chat with Patrick about my schedule and he was sad as well :( I just got off the phone with him and he was quite emotional. He always tells me that I'm his angel and tonight he was saying that God put me in his life for a reason and he was very sad that I would be leaving soon :( I'm going to miss him SO much. I can't even think about it. My sister isn't feeling well. I hope I didn't get her sick. She has a bad sore throat. I gave her some of my theraflu and told her to take it before bed. I am loaded up on meds from home so I am happy that I can give her some. I'm going to be leaving a lot of my things with her when I leave. I still have a ton of shampoo, conditioner and body wash. It weighs a lot so I figure if I leave it here, she will be able to use it and then I will have more room for gifts :) Everyone will be happy! It's almost 10, way way past my bedtime. I'm going to try to get some sleep. I had some crazy dreams last night so my sleep wasn't great. Love and miss you all. See you in 17 SHORT days! Holy crap. Not ready to leave this beautiful country and my beautiful friends and family! XOXO"Experience enhances understanding; understanding leads to more effective action."

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