For good reason, many of these “Notes from Ghana” posts have focused on the youth in Baobab and their experiences in Ghana; their connection to the kids and culture, especially Dagbamete. You have also heard about our terrific manager, Hayley, and some history about my relationship with Ghana. However, these kinds of trips do not happen unless there is solid support from the Baobab parent community, and in particular, those entrusted with accompanying the youth on this important journey. We had six chaperones, Evie Gray, Jenni Tipper, Christopher Duschenes, Shelagh Murray, Lynn Rainboth and our Baobab Board Chair Nadine Powers. And serving as a first aid point of contact, Claire Thompson. Also accompanying us were two other musicians, Rory Magill and Jennifer Moir who provided some great mentoring and connection with the kids. What an awesome team we had! This is the third trip to Ghana we have taken with the youth since 2001. When deciding the right “next time” to go, there are many factors that I look for, including of course, the particular kids in the group. I am also looking for the elusive but cohesive parent factor, as that can make or break 18 months of fundraising followed by a VERY intensive trip. This particular group of adults, got along famously and we shared many, many laughs and poignant moments throughout the trip. Their curiosity and connection to village life was amazing and they spent a lot of time getting to know locals and helping out in the school, making friends, talking about development issues, and of course looking out for the Baobab Youth. Our daily conversations at the “Spot” and at mealtimes were at times, funny, gross, illuminating, interesting, over the top and occasionally delving into “Eat Pray Love” territory (insert personal opinion here). We learned and have now adopted as our personal mantra, Kwasi’s Ghana phrase “Happy Yourself” as “No one go happy you”. No kidding. Now that we are back, this group is galvanizing to direct their energies to better the village in whatever way works best, as well as wanting to keep the connection strong between themselves, and keep that sense of daily community present. I am extremely grateful to ALL the parents who have taken the leap with us to go to Ghana with teenagers each of the three times we have gone. Here’s to you all. Yes it is crazy and yes we did it.
On our last night in Ghana, at a special outdoor restaurant in Accra, we thanked and paid tribute to these wonderful individuals with a special Kente cloth woven with the Dagbamete name in a nearby town by a master weaver. THANK YOU.