Ethan Miller

A Community of Service Interim 2010
Elementary School, Volta region of Ghana

 


When I arrived for my final day of school, my kids knew it would probably be the last time that they would ever see me again. I felt the same emotions that they did, but I felt even more vulnerable because I was a visitor in their country, and had made a drastic transition to be able to live with them for a month. When I said goodbye, each one of my kids was in tears. As I picked up each little sobbing child and hugged them one by one, I began to tear up as well. It’s hard not to feel terrible when you realize that you are never going to see people again, especially if you grow really fond of them. Those kids touched me in a way that I have never felt before, despite the language barrier. They helped me grow as a person, and allowed me to experience being their parent, teacher, and friend. Each child was special to me for a different reason, and letting go of each, one by one, was like leaving a small piece of my heart with each child. I want those kids to become successful one day, and I want them to have the same opportunities that I have had, but I know that will never be the case. I had to face the reality that the school is seriously understaffed, and lacks basic resources such as a toilet and books. These children lack access to a proper education. When having such strong experiences with these kids, living the poverty that they lived, it is hard not to change your outlook on life. These children taught me the value of my education, and the gifts that I have been given. On the contrary, they taught me that it is not important to have things, but to place value in the relationships that you make with the members of your community.