I live in a beautiful neighborhood.
A town just north of Chicago filled with the best food and prettiest views of the city.
It’s filled with some awesome DePaul students doing some inspiring things.
Lincoln Park is bustling with families and young children and loud school playgrounds and t-ball games on Saturday afternoons.
It’s an absolutely wonderful place to be raising a family.
But amidst the beauty and quaintness, this isn’t where I see my life.
I see my life in a little African country that most people can’t locate on a map.
In a small village where the kids call me Sister Ruh-beck-uh and the grandmothers call me Auntie Becky.
A place with little running water and power outages daily.
A village with winding dirt roads and houses made from red bricks.
A country overflowing with love. If you tried to bottle it, you would be at it for your whole life, and not even get half.
This is the place I started to plant seeds in the summer of 2011.
This is the place I’ve been watering and sowing these seeds ever since, and slowly watching them become sunflowers that touch the clouds.
This is the place that I will get to call my permanent home in just a few short years.
Every single day I get asked, “So what’s your dream in Ghana?”
To be a mother.
To be a mother to children who’ve never known what unending love is.
To kiss scraped knees and wipe rolling tears.
To help with homework on Sunday nights, and dance in the kitchen on Saturday mornings.
To sleep with 20 sweaty bodies snuggled against mine.
To wake up early and make pancakes or cinnamon toast and see their faces devouring their special treat.
To be covered in slobbery kisses and enveloped in warm hugs.
To be called “momma”.
I believe children need to be empowered.
Empowered to believe that they are more than “child bearers” and “farm workers”.
Empowered to dream bigger than they ever have before.
Empowered children can change the world.
This entire world.
Its in their hands, to mold and shape it however they please.
They can shake it.
They have and they will.
I know I am meant to build the Education Center of these children’s dreams and fill it with so much light and love and laughter.
I am meant to build spaces for these children to learn and love and learn to love.
I am meant to create programs for orphans, mothers, fathers, and families who love endlessly.
I graduate from DePaul in 2 1/2 years.
These next 2 1/2 years are going to be rough, really really rough.
My head, heart, and soul are in a little country across the ocean in a tiny village filled with smiles and laughter.
My feet are in Lincoln Park finishing the degree I promised myself, my parents, and my Atonsu Kids that I would.
My heart aches every single day that I’m not in Ghana. That I’m not covered in orange dirt and showered with baby kisses. That I’m not going to sleep listening to the church sing down the street and hearing my kiddos chit chat across the road. That I’m not doing work that fills my heart with so much happiness.
PS. Today is a BONUS DAY for our Global Giving campaign for the Education Center. We need to raise $6,000 by the time I leave for Ghana on November 28th or we can’t begin ANY work on the center while I’m there. For TODAY and TODAY ONLY every donation will be matched by 30%. If you happen to have any extra money, even $10, to spare, please consider donating it to the help my kids’ dreams come true. You can donate here. Thank you thank you thank you!