Around this time 10 years ago, I was getting ready to graduate college. I knew that there was something
big that I wanted to do, but I had no idea what that was. All I knew was that anything I did had to be
connected to serving others.
A few months later, I was working my first job as an adult, but something was missing, the ability to use
my gift of serving. I spoke with my mom and made the decision to volunteer overseas; and after
googling volunteer organizations, and reading reviews, I applied to volunteer through GVI. Applying, for
me, took a big leap of faith because I was working a full-time job.
Once I received notice from GVI that I could volunteer as an English Teacher, I told my supervisor about
the opportunity. I expressed how much I wanted to go, and that I would leave my position as a Lab
Technician so that I could volunteer overseas for a month.
I guess my supervisor saw how passionate I was about the opportunity. She said that I didn’t have to
quit my job, and my position would still be there when I returned.
A few months later, my mom was dropping me off at Dulles and I was on my way to Accra, Ghana.
I was nervous, excited, and in awe as the plane landed. A gentleman from the program greeted me and
we were on our way to Cape Coast. The drive from Accra to Cape Coast was eye opening. All I could do
was thank God for giving me the opportunity to serve; and I also felt a connection that I’d never felt
before, I was home. For the very first time, I felt free.
Over the next several weeks, I’d spend time with an amazing family in the village of Dwabor. They
welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like I belonged.
To this day, I still think about that family and all the amazing and brilliant children in my class. I still think
about the kindness of strangers, the moments of nervousness eased by friendly banter, and the
selflessness of the people I came across.
My experience in Ghana cemented that I wanted to work with women and children, that I wanted to be
a Health Educator, and that I’m not only to serve in my own backyard in America, but across the globe. It
cemented my purpose.
To all of my fellow volunteers, and those considering, let your light shine; and don’t let fear keep you
trapped in a box. Live outside of the familiar and know that one small kind gesture can make a world of
32 years old