Monday, May 31, 2010

Empty as a Pocket

We just took a walking tour of a slum near Jonestown, in downtown Accra near the coast. I feel as if I’ve aged ten years in only two hours. Everything I’ve been studying for the past three years has just come alive in the most unimaginable sense. It’s amazing how few tears I saw – laughter was abound. I suppose that’s the culture and the coping mechanism at work. Kids were playing soccer, ping-pong, and foosball, and they showed off karate moves and gave us high-fives when we gave them some biscuits we purchased for them.

The atmosphere was hot at times and cool at others, the living spaces where people sleep (for those that are fortunate enough to sleep indoors) have no ventilation and few comforts of any kind. The people we met were sociable, warm, and welcoming. I talked to a girl who was waiting for her parents support to be able to afford college. She wanted to study Journalism. It made me feel horrible for abandoning that former dream of mine, if only because switching my field of interest was so easy to do. Because of the family I was born to and the place I happened to be born, I can do anything I set my mind to do. The people I met in the slum were all full of potential and dreams, but only lacked the capital needed to achieve them.

There is more to be said about today’s trip, but I’ve only just returned, and wanted to write some immediate reactions. I’m going to need much more time to process the sights, sounds, and smells of walking around an urban slum in the developing world.

1 comment:

  1. I can't imagine what you're going through right must be tough taking all of that in. It's one thing to see it on TV or read about it in class...but poverty up close and personal, ouch. I think 'us' Americans would all be a lot happier if we could spend a day in a less-developed part of the world. We take SO many things for granted.