Wow, what a crazy few days it’s been and I know it will only get crazier from here onwards.
We left Accra early on Saturday morning and hopped on a 5 hour bus ride to Kumasi. When I was here a year ago the ride from Accra to Kumasi was absolutely terrible. The road was under construction and the first two hours were filled with potholes and winding roads. Thankfully the road construction is almost complete so our ride wasn’t too bad and we made good time getting there.
Accra is one crazy city filled with people and smog, and isn’t my favorite city in the world. I feel very trapped and congested in Accra, but the bus ride from Accra to Kumasi is so calming with the rolling hills and tiny villages. We arrived outside the city of Kumasi and took a taxi into Atonsu because we had a lot of luggage and taking a tro tro would have been an absolute mess.
Right when I saw the big, green, Light for Children building I knew I was home. We were passing the old woman that sells popcorn, the pineapple lady, the woman who cooks yams, the barber shop, the steel shop, everything was there, everything was the same. We arrived at Yaw [Light for Children co-founder]‘s house and I walked in and saw Yaw and his wife Maria sitting under the mango tree sipping water and eating fufu, just like they do every afternoon. They jumped up and welcomed us inside. Winston and Bean [friends from the US who will be volunteering with Light for Children for 3 weeks] will be staying with Yaw and his lovely family.
I needed to see my kids. They were only a few streets away, and in my head I could hear their calls of Auntie Becca and Sister Rebecca and their huge smiles when they saw me. We put Winston and Bean’s suitcases down and practically ran to the kids’ compound. We were a block away and Junior, one of the oldest boys, spotted me and almost dropped to the ground. He jumped into my arms and we walked hand in hand to the compound. I stepped over the threshold into the open area and 20 children ran towards me screaming. I wanted to greet and kiss each of them separately but they all lunged towards me at once. They kept saying over and over “You didn’t forget about us Auntie, you remembered your promise, you remembered. We loooooooooovveee you”. They had all gotten so tall, so grown up looking, so much more mature, but I knew they were still my lovable and oh so sassy children. Prinsela was missing her baby teeth. Tina had shot up like a beanstalk and is now 4. Gloria’s legs are longer and more super-model-esque then ever. Owura now has a mohwark. Deborah got into the best girls school in the region. I could go on and on forever about how much the kids have changed and grown up in the past year.
My heart was so happy to be home with these children. All the mommas came out and greeted me and said I was bigger and more pale [thanks for the…errr…compliment?] and of course asked me if I was hungry. I just wanted to sit down with Tina in my arms and soak in the moment. I wanted to stop time and enjoy this exact second for the next 10 years. I wanted to remember what it was like to come home to a place, to feel my heart exploding with happiness and love.
It feels like I never left Ghana, like a year a half hasn’t passed, because all the feeling, smiles, happiness, people, children, and laughter is still here. All my kids are healthy and happy. Light for Children is thriving and growing daily. The village remembers my face and name, and people stop me on the road every time I go out to say they remember me and are so happy I’m back.
Ghana, thank you for not changing too much and for welcoming me with the most open arms.
Kids, you are the best and make me smile constantly.
The village of Atonsu, your charm and quaintness still astounds me.
And to you all my wonderful friends, family, and supporters, thank you for following this crazy journey I call life and supporting me in many ways, shapes, and forms. Pieces of each and every one of you are with me in Atonsu. I wish you could all come to Atonsu and meet the kids and feel the happiness, but through this blog I hope to bring a piece of Ghana to you.
Forever thankful & blessed, Becca
Photos by Winston (check out their blog here!)