The Expo staff house in Anota, formerly the village post office.
As I write this blog post I am sitting outside a coffee shop in Louisiana and wondering how soon I can leave for Ghana again.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to come home for the holidays and witness two weddings for family members. However, I find myself itching to go back to Ghana and continue the work with our Peer-to-Peer Programs and Girls LEAP. I’ve truly been blessed to find myself at Expo, in the community of Antoa, and with the amazing members of both communities.
Being in the US now and after living in Ghana for almost 11 months puts a lot of your priorities and values into light. To come from a country of such abundance and wealth, and then, in contrast, to also live in a country that deals with power outages and poverty makes you rethink things. Being home makes me realize how great education is and how much of a game changer it can make your life. So many of our students with Exponential Education realize this and desperately want to finish their schooling. It also, for me, allows me to appreciate the community I live and work in as well. I live and work in the village of Antoa. Although there are days that are challenging and sometimes I may want to scream at people (I promise I don’t!) I truly enjoy the people and community. In my mind and to my friends and family in the US I refer to my little post office room as my home and the people there as my family.
Being home also makes me feel like an ambassador for our students. I am working part time at a local all girls high school as a technician while I am home. Many times they excitedly ask me what life is like in Ghana. I am quick to tell a funny story about a tutoring session or a game played with the kids in Antoa. I am also quick to highlight the developmental issues in education and how such little money, for US standards, can dramatically change the life of an individual and family in Ghana. Many of the girls do not realize the great privilege they have in being able to just be allowed to go to school and have a family who will feed them. The girls who hear the stories all ask ways they can help, and I am excited to help them start a vlog so they can meet Expo’s Girls LEAP students. I think the exchange will benefit both parties and make them both realize that they are not part of just an individual community, but a global community.
Above: All hands on deck for dinner.
Being home means spending time with my family and friends in the US. It means sharing stories and laughs, eating all the dairy things I can’t find in Ghana, and driving my own car. It means exposing my friends to hip-life Ghanian music and telling the stories of the children we work with. It means recognizing home isn’t just the place you are born and raised. Home is the place where you have community and I feel honored that I can say Antoa and Ghana are becoming home for me.
I will enjoy the time I have left in the US, but I will also be excited to travel back to my next home as the incoming Senior Program Manager for Exponential Education. It will mark a new chapter and I am exhilarated to begin working with this vibrant community more.
Senior Program Manager (SPM) Taylor with friends, enjoying a snack and prepping for dinner in Anota.