Monthly Archives: July 2013

Capture Bliss

Capture Bliss

Apparently someone posed the question on Twitter what bliss looks like and thousands of people promptly replied with links to pictures of small moments of bliss they experienced.

This is a picture of bliss. We all have worries, but for me the moments of bliss are when those worries become invisible–our mind is occupied with something much more enjoyable (i.e. bliss).

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Ghana – Days 1-2

Another Obruni’s experiences throughout Ghana!

Dan Doverspike

Note: I’ll be blogging about my time in Ghana over the course of the next few weeks. Some entries will cover the course of multiple days while some will cover the course of only a day.

Ghana trip – Days 1-2

Day 1 (6/13/13) – En route to Accra

Early in the morning on Thursday, June 13, 2013, I woke up from a light sleep. When I went to bed the night before I knew there was no way I’d sleep very well. Speaking in front of people, garnering attention and flying are some of the more terrifying things I’ve experienced in my life. So I guess it makes sense that I’m a teacher who talks every day, a person who is opening up through this journal and one who just went through multiple lengthy flights to a foreign land and back.

At about 3:30am on June 13 I went…

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July 18 Accra, Ghana

If you’re looking for another firsthand account of Obruni experiences in Ghana be sure and check out this blog. Very well written depictions of various aspects of Ghanaian culture. It takes me back 🙂

Sam G

18:33

I hope everyone reading this realizes that this journal is constantly evolving. Its full of first impressions and immediate reactions. It is made at the end of that day and there is not much reflection. That will come at the end of this trip. As a result of this kind of writing, you are right here with me in regards to emotions and thoughts. But just be conscious that everything I say is subject to change due to the new experiences that occur every day.

Today we visited the Kwame Nkrumah monument and museum, he was Ghana’s first president (circa 1957). He was a major proponent of Pan-Africanism (uniting Africa), making Ghana economically independent (not relying on Europe/US), and believed capitalism was bad for Africa in the longterm. Looking at his policies and how the people here revere him, he seems to have done a lot of good here…

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Imagine losing your life time investment in a flash!!

Edward Echwalu - Documentary Photographer

Last week was one of the darkest in my life. And this is how an eventful and bright day suddenly went dark.

I was meant to travel to Gulu town, located about 400km north of Kampala, Uganda’s capital on Thursday morning to volunteer for a robotic training organized by my friends Solomon King and Sandra Washburn.P01

That morning, Taxi operators went on strike, protesting the increased operation fees. Transport in Kampala City was a mess. The over 5 million inhabitants of this city who primarily use public transport were held hostage. I was part of the statistic that day.P02

Sporadic riots were happening all over down town Kampala. Teargas was being fired from one side of town, bullets went off in the other. I was caught in between. For that reason, I didn’t travel. No one did.

I decided to take advantage of the situation and photographed a few exchanges…

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Obruni State-Side

This obruni hasn’t posted in a very long time… He apologizes for that. But while the posts have been lacking, the experiences have not.

During the last year, I slaved away at eradicating the achievement gap for second graders in Brownsville, Brooklyn in New York City. What effect did I have? I’m unsure. While the data always came back consisting of average scores, I feel confident that my scholars are ready for the next grade. This experience was by far the hardest thing I have ever done, and maybe ever will do. However, while I left most days wondering why I had signed up for this experience I was reminded of my passions and my abilities.

I am a person who believes in the good of other people; someone who wants every individual to be given the opportunity to maximize their own potential. We walk by people in the streets unaware of what they’re capable of. Often, we automatically jump to fear of another’s capabilities, but why not assume that the person has the power to change the world for the good? Perhaps, with the right teaching and determination that individual will find the cure to a disease the world so desperately needs. That’s what I want to do…not find the cure to a disease, but inspire and give others the tools necessary to do so. I want to light a flame that will spread like wildfire. I want to make a small hole in a dam that one day will cave under the pressure of the goodness behind it.

I used to say I wanted to change the world and of course there were nay-sayers who thought this naive and foolish. However, I believe it to be possible. Perhaps having a tremendous impact on the whole world would be difficult, but I can changed the world of some people and hopefully create a model for doing so that can be replicated in other areas and eventually spread throughout the whole world.

This is what I’ve come to: I enjoy teaching. Waking up and coming to school every day to greet the scholars in my class is not a chore, but I want more. I need to go and do this where others are not willing to. The achievement gap isn’t limited to America’s inner-city children; there are millions of children across the globe suffering from lack of opportunity who need someone to give them the tools/resources to be successful. Over the last few months I have really reflected on what this looks like for me and I have come to the conclusion that I will open my own elementary school in either Ghana or Kenya. The school will initially house and educate students in pre-k and Kindergarten and then add an additional grade each year thereafter through high school. With the help of volunteers, missionaries, community members, and churches we will decimate the achievement gap in the local community and prepare an army of scholars ready to address the challenges afflicting their community and nation.

I have one more year left in my commitment to Teach for America–a year in which I will continue to develop my skills to prepare and qualify me to make lasting change in the community of my future endeavor. I look forward to pursuing this dream and sharing the process with you.


Sam G

I absolutely dig adventure and travel!

aanyafniaz.wordpress.com/

Verbal tantrums of a writer & an anxious spectator of life.

Mathematical

Madison's renderings of teaching and learning