My name is Molly Vocino, and I am a senior at Franklin & Marshall College. I, along with 8 of my new friends and 2 awesome trip coordinators will be traveling to the Heritage Academy next week and I could not be more excited. I am also a bit nervous, because while I know certain hopes for this trip will likely be met, certain expectations about what we will experience will likely be left at the gate.
I plan to pack as little as I can so that I can bring back with me as much as possible. I think we all mean that both literally and metaphorically. We all have expectations for what our trip will be like, but I think I speak for everyone in the group when I say we are leaving a lot of space open in our hearts for the unexpected, the wild, and the wonderful that will come along with this visit to Heritage Academy.
For the past month or so, we have all been working hard on preparing our lesson plans for the courses we plan to teach to the students at Heritage. Here are some of the subject matters we will be exploring with the students: Animal Behavior, Creative Writing, Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Human Rights, Art, Environmental Science, and Public Health/Nutrition.
We all met shortly before winter break (in the midst of a small blizzard) to run through logistics, learn about Ghanaian politics and history, enjoy some delicious homemade Ghanaian food (made by our Ghanaian friends at F&M), learn some simple phrases in Fante, and learn some Azonto dance (I think we all need to do a little more work on that!). What I found particularly helpful was our discussion of our own expectations, as well as those of the people we were telling about our trip, namely our friends and family. Figuring out how to respond to opinions that our journey is not enough to really make any kind of impact, or questions of why we even want to go to this place, was an important reflection process for me, and one that I continue to think about as I plan and pack.
We all decided to embark on this journey for our own personal reasons, but we are united in our hopes that we will impact the lives of the students at Heritage, if only just for the short amount of time we are there. We hope that this trip will also affect our own lives and our own thinking about what it means to be a student, a person, and a member of society. I, for one, am excited for the food, the dancing, and the friendships that I know will form between myself and the other members of the group, and with the students of Heritage and the people I will meet in Ghana.
More blog posts to come – see you in Ghana!