Driving to JFK airport all I could think about was how was I going to handle being in different-sized airplanes for so many hours? I am not a fan of flying and I had gotten some prescription pills for the anxiety. We flew to London and even though it was a tight squeeze for eight hours, it wasn’t all that bad.
Spending a day in London was very cool, as I had never been across the pond to another country. My funniest story there was when we jumped in a cab and the seats have springs on them. I was holding the seat, telling Joe O to get in and when he did I forgot it was a spring and let go; Joe went straight to the floor! He immediately looked up at me and said, “You did that on purpose!” Meredith Berkich and I sat there and laughed as hard as we could because we knew that I didn’t.
On to Ghana, and after two more flights and many more hours of planes, I was still feeling good about the flights. We then took a bus to head out to our first stop, a beach resort. I was amazed at the amount of people selling products on the streets and carrying so much stuff on their heads.
As we drove along the roads for three hours we saw thousands of people selling food, water, clothes and even “Entrance Gates,” which we got a kick out of. I was amazed at how much construction was only 10 -50 percent complete. A majority of the buildings were foundations and frames that were just sitting there.
We then got to the resort which was awesome, and immediately went into the ocean and had a great day of hanging out and relaxing from all the traveling.
The next morning we headed to the villages on a six-hour bus ride. We made stops and sang songs and had some cold drinks and lots of great laughs. As we got further and further into the trip we started seeing less and less paved roads. We spent a long time on dirt trails, slowing down to go around massive potholes. We would occasionally come upon people who were walking with the food or wood they had gathered and were heading back to their village. I did not know what to expect.
My highlight from Ghana was the children. They were constantly on my mind and I watched them the entire time we were there. I could not believe how happy these kids were, living in dirt and having nothing. We then met a young boy named Moses and he wanted to sing. He sang us a song and then they all started to sing a song about the rich people and the poor people envying each other. I have thought about that song almost every day since I heard the kids sing it. They have no opportunities where they live, but they live a very simple life.
I also fell in love with a little three-year-old girl that was always around us and constantly wanted to hold my hand and be picked up. She walked with me many places, and on the last day she was sleeping on my lap at the celebration. When we were leaving the village to head back to the airport she came on to the bus step, reaching her arms out to me. It was a very emotional moment and I will never forget her.
I also will never forget climbing on the roof of the library and seeing what we were dealing with to install the solar panels. The roofs were not sturdy and the holes in the supports to hold the panels were different sizes. To make a long story short, we worked very hard as a team but we got it done while sweating profusely.
It was incredible to be with 35 people and visit the different villages together and experience it all as a team. Viridian is a team effort and it showed how well like-minded people can work together when there is a mission to complete. The days were fun in the village, and the nights were fun to hang out with everyone and tell stories and have a lot of laughs. I truly enjoyed everybody’s company at different times.
The entire trip was something I will never forget, and find myself constantly thinking about. It was amazing that our schedule was taken care of and we experienced the opposite ends of the spectrum on one trip: We went from the dirt roads of Ghana to the five-star hotel in Kenya and on to a five-star safari.
I got to become closer with many different people and it was so much fun. I can’t really put it all in the words I want to but I can say, “I can’t wait to do it again.”
Thanks so much Viridian!
My name is Michael Moore, and I am Generation V.