It has been weeks since we set foot in Africa, and there isn’t a day that goes by without my thinking about our momentous trip. Quite frankly I am still wrapping my head around the entire experience, but the one thing that remains constant is that Africa changed me and expanded my worldview. In a place where a bottle of water is a hot commodity, you start to realize what is truly important in life.
Upon returning home I found that brushing my teeth while the water was still running felt unnecessary and wasteful; piping-hot showers are one of the greatest luxuries; and that knowledge truly is one of the most universal of powers to have.
The Asunafo library project was a gift to be a part of. As a child, my slow reading abilities made me fear books, so being a part of a project that brought a love of learning to children and adults was life-changing. To the people of Asunafo—and in particular their 26 year old Mayor, Martin—knowledge along with electricity would light the way for their village to thrive. What was important for them was for the mothers to learn how to read so they could pass this skill down to their children.
As our team of Viridian Associates and handpicked village councilmen worked together to organize a lending system, we had many curious children waiting in the doorway, excited by all the activity. The day we completed our work and the books were stacked on the shelves, the space was filled with kids wide-eyed and all smiles as they leafed through books of images and pictures they had never before seen. I believe in that moment a whole other world opened up to each of them.
While we brought electricity, books and our service to the people of Ghana, I'm pretty sure the people gave me even more value. In a place with no iPhones or iPads, videogames or big screen TVs, there was more joy and sense of community than I have ever seen before. The work done on the farms there was arduous and life’s pace a bit slower, but there was a connection among the people, a knowing you can do more, be more and learn more with just a few extra tools.
I am overwhelmed and inspired by the people of Africa, and proud to know that this is a part of my heritage and my legacy.
My name is Sabrina Allard, and I am Generation V.