by
on June 22, 2014 on 6/22/14 from ,

Living Life Through Your Viewfinder

Lessons Learned from Ghana

When I told Wisdom, the waiter who works at the restaurant located inside of the Miklin Hotel, that I would be back to Ghana soon… I was not telling him a lie.  I will be back.  Leaving Ghana this past week was not so much of a “goodbye”, but rather a “see you later”.  I have connected with this country (it’s people and rich culture) more than I have ever thought that I would have.  I came into this trip with a bit of apprehension… I wanted to figure out what was going to be my purpose coming to Ghana.  Yes, I had previously done some international work with Dr. Dorie Gilbert and the West African AIDS Foundation back in 2012, but that was not going to be the full reason why I would visit the country.  I still didn’t have a solid answer until near the end of the trip.  And that is when it hit me—sometimes you do not need an agenda, plan, or reason to do something… you can just live life and reflect on your experiences. 

Throughout the past month in Ghana, I was challenged, uplifted, mentally stimulated, and always ready to seize the moment before me.  Many of the lectures, excursions, and pieces of historical artifacts helped shape my understanding of Africa… and West Africa.  What had been done in the past was in the past, but the consequences and impact of other’s choices affect the living today—and that is something to recognize. 

I was able to explore my understanding of race and transform more into a global citizen.  This does not mean that I do not see color… I do see color because that is something that will never go away… however, I see the potential of unity and collaboration among people.  We live in such a divided world where class, race, and social standing define who people are… not their qualities or character.  Being able to be in a country for a month helped me understand how I view the world through my own viewfinder and allowed me to shift the lens to capture the world through the view that I want to live it. 

Life, experiences, and elements of being are all about perception and how we view things.  It takes acknowledgement, awareness, and courage to stand up to view things the way that they should be viewed.  We have to start living to experience things the way we want to live them… not the way others want us to live by.