Aug 2017

Challenging Heights and Changing Horizons

Challenging Heights and Changing Horizons

 

I woke up to Claire’s alarm and, after finally getting out of bed, grabbed my notebook and pen and headed down to the beach. I was the last one of our group to arrive at our morning session. Walking along the beach for the final time and listening to the waves crashing on the shore was so peaceful and serene. We closed our eyes and were asked to envision our lives in a year, in 5 years, 10, 20 and finally to look to our 90th birthday. Where we hoped we would be and what we hoped to have. I realized some things in that moment that I had never known I had wanted. I knew that time spent on the beach, feeling the spray of the ocean and the salt on my lips, would stay with me forever.

After our usual breakfast of fruits, fried egg and some Milo (hot chocolate) we packed up our bags and headed off to our next destination, Challenging Heights. I fell asleep on the drive there and after a morning spent in my imagination I was having trouble getting my brain to stay in the moment. So when we arrived at The Run-Off (a restaurant started by Challenging Heights) I was dazed and confused. Hearing something about the National Theatre while I was sleeping I thought that was where we were going. So when we picked up Serge (Our guide through Challenging Heights) and arrived a few minutes later to a very small office building I was unsure as to what was happening. However, once we entered the office I realized this indeed was not the National Theatre but Challenging Heights. An incredible charity that focuses on child trafficking and rescuing children while helping to stop the cycle of child trafficking.

We had a small orientation that taught us all about what Challenging Heights does. They educate the community on how to protect their children from being taken and they rescue the kids that have been taken up to the Volta region where they are forced to work on fishing boats and dive into the water to untangle the nets. The amount of children that have drowned on that lake was astounding. But more than just education and rescue, Challenging Heights also works in the community bringing education through their school and helping the people to start their own businesses so they can get out of poverty and the risk of having their children taken to work on the lake.

We went for lunch, after seeing the amazing community library and computer lab, at the Run-Off (an additional source of income for Challenging Heights). We got our food to go and ate on the bus so we could miss the main rush hour traffic coming out of Accra as we headed back to the DMC. The road was long and listening to my music I fell asleep yet again, but was woken up when we suddenly stopped and two girls carrying plastic bottles on the side of the road got onto our bus. We drove a little longer then pulled over again, Joe and Michael said they would be back and hopped off the bus. They returned with a huge sign for the DMC and I’m not entirely sure how they fit it on top of the bus, but they did and we were back on the road. We entered Medie and after a few blocks we dropped off the two girls we had picked up and the boys wished them well. A half hour later and we could hear the loud drums of the DMC. It’s amazing how spending a week somewhere will make it feel like home. Coming back to the sound of drumming and the energy of all the dancing was wonderful. Little Arkum and Songde (some of the kids) ran alongside the bus as we pulled in through the gate. We all received big hugs as we got off the bus and then went to unpack from our journey. We had a small meeting in Claire’s room and along with dinner we had another focus session. I learned a lot about what it means to be a motivated person and I was able to think a lot about the kind of person I want to be, and the kind I know I can be. I went to sleep that night feeling inspired by all I had learned that day and looking forward to seeing what the rest of this trip held for me.

 

-Lois

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