As Rashae Hobbs made her way to Cape Coast, Ghana from the Accra airport she spoke little and observed much. The tour director, Peter, asked countless questions and tried terribly to engage in conversation, but Rashae was too amazed at her view. She watched as one guy pushed a minivan up the road, and as a strong, beautiful woman carried both, a heavy child on her back, and a heavy basket on her head as she walked the dirt road. She listened to the roosters, and smiled at the scared, stray dogs. Soon enough Peter had realized that Rashae wasn't being antisocial, but embracing what would be her home for the next four weeks.
When they arrived in Cape Coast, Peter introduced Rashae to her host mom and family. She was welcomed with open arms and warm hearts. Rashae instantly became one with her family and was quite surprised to meet another volunteer. For months before her US departure Rashae was under the impression that she would be alone in Ghana, but it was to her great surprise and pleasure that she'd be sharing that experience with one Lisa from Germany. She and Lisa developed a sister like bond and would examine much of Cape Coast together.
Rashae observed much of her surrounding culture and environment, and quickly became a part of it. It wouldn't be long until Rashae would have to part with her newly found home, but she sure did make the most of it, from the first day she landed in Accra.
CEE Title: Water Wasted
As a member of the 2016 Cohort of VIH awardees from Lincoln University, the goal of my Community Engagement Experience was to encourage members of my community to travel outside of the US. To better enforce this idea of travel, my accomplices and I spoke highly of our abroad experiences, then narrowed our personal travel challenges to one issue that each of us could relate to; water deficiency. Water scarcity, quality, and availability were the main focuses of our water concern. Surely we explored how each of these issues revolving around water had impacted our travel. I expressed how I was put to the challenge when I found myself hand washing nearly three loads of clothes using detergent and three buckets of water in the garden of my Ghanaian home. I even spilled the details about my first time fetching water from a well outside of my home after the faucet failed to release water. I grew comfortable to the bucket showers; using the cold, brown colored water to cleanse my body, hair, teeth, and face. It was these details that held the audience’s attention, and it was then that I turned their sympathy into curiosity. After explaining the environment I lived in abroad, I had explained the local water quality and scarcity issues we face here in the US. After detailing the water quality issues in Flint, and the water scarcity issues in California, I reminded the community that we face challenges here in the US, and so will you in Africa. Challenges shouldn’t sway one away from traveling. Explore to witness things for yourself. While I faced challenges in Africa, they didn’t keep me from having a wonderful experience or planning a second trip to Ghana.