Having completed our teaching at Heritage, we had one last, full day to ourselves before flying home. Early this morning, Sydney and Jake accompanied Oduro to a gym in Ajumako, a fifteen minute walk from the guest house. And by “gym” we mean a wooden bench press with a mattress for a cushion and four cement weights in the corner of some abnormally jacked guy’s house.
We left around mid-morning with our young friend Kobe, a student at Heritage and a helper at the guest house, on an excursion to Kakum National Park, where we walked across rope bridges through the rainforest canopy. In the parking lot, we were surprised to meet a group of students from Elizabethtown College, which is no more than thirty minutes from F&M. It really is a small world! It was a brief hike up to the entrance for the rope bridges, which hang forty meters above the rainforest floor, providing wide vistas of the surrounding area. Although our reactions to the swinging, creaking rope bridges ranged from terror to amazement (all the while, planning elaborate escapes in the backs of our minds if the bridges gave out), we all survived and enjoyed this amazing adventure. Except Lilah, who tragically fell to her death attempting to do yoga on the bridge. Just kidding (but not about the yoga part)! As Anita put it, “I wasn’t sure whether the bridges were creaking because they were supposed to, or because it’s Ghana.”
Everyone agreed that today was a lot of fun, but one common low in our daily reflection was that the van ride to and from Kakum was hot, sweaty, and cramped. But, it was totally worth it. It was late afternoon when we returned to the guest house, and everyone reluctantly began to pack for the trip home (another low). Our cook, Theresah, prepared our favorite Ghanaian meal for our final dinner at the house: red red (a thick bean stew with plantains), rice, pineapple, and popcorn. With perfect timing, Mike finally finished the bottle of Tabasco he’d been using the entire trip. We already miss the wonderful pineapple!
Although we’re all excited for American food and to see friends and family, we are also sad to leave the country and school we’re just beginning to know. Both Ghana and Heritage Academy will stay with us forever. We hope we’ve been able to have a small impact on the students at Heritage and on the readers of our blog, and that the group of students who come next year enjoy their experience as much as we have. To anyone reading this blog and considering this trip (or a similar one), we’d encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and lend a helping hand, knowing it’s a unique experience you’ll never forget.
Stay tuned for one final, special blog entry from us tomorrow morning…
Sydney, Mike and Teresa