A month and a half away from home was the longest amount of time I had ever spent away from my family and friends. I had never lived further than an hour and forty-five minutes away from my parents, and I’ve had the same best friends since sixth grade. Needless to say, I was a little nervous to make the journey over to Africa where I was about to live with 15 people whom I barely knew.
There were certain points in the trip that made me long for the comfort of my own home, where no one can make me feel better and safer than my parents, like the night our entire house got sick because of our poor decision to eat barely cooked scones, or the night our house got broken into. But overall, I learned more about myself on my trip to Ghana than I had ever expected to.
The first night in Ghana as we sat around outside getting to know one another, Kelly asked us to go around and say what each of us were most thankful for. It was a tough question to answer because I felt I had so much to be thankful for, but when it was my turn I answered with, “my family, and close knit group of friends back home.” I’m still so very thankful for my friends and family but now that I am back home and reflecting on everything I experienced in Ghana I might add on to that response. Not only am I thankful for friends and family, but I’m also thankful for the curve balls that are thrown at me each day, the opportunities that are out there waiting for me, the people whom I have yet to meet and experiences that come from living life a little out of my comfort zone.
Now that I’m back in the United States at a family reunion, everyone has been asking me what my favorite part of the trip was. And when I think back on work, how fun all of our weekend adventures were, the delicious fresh fruit I ate each day, I only seem to reply with, “the nights my roommates and I stayed in, played games and just got to know one another.”
Over the past month and a half I got to know 15 of the coolest people, my roommates. These are some of the most intelligent, talented, outgoing, positive, and friendly people I’ve ever met. I got to know these people better than most of my friends that I’ve spent the past four years of college getting to know. The fact that 15 other people were able to share the same awful feeling of puking your brains out and having diarrhea for hours upon hours made that experience something to laugh about. Then being able to share the same fear and terror that I felt after the night our house got broken into made that incident much easier to cope with and less traumatic.
This group as a whole, and individually, has made an impact on me that I know I will benefit from for the rest of my life. They made me feel more confident in myself, and my ability to write and have inspired me to work hard for the career that’s ahead of me. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing a year from now once I’m graduated, but I was reassured that I will be doing great things.
On our last night together, a group of us climbed up on the roof of our house where we found ourselves reflecting on the trip and what we had learned. I had no idea the question, what have you learned would stir up so many of my emotions. When I think back to that night and the entire trip as a whole, I can safely say that I have learned so much from each and every person in that house, and know the friendships that were formed in Ghana will without a doubt continue to flourish back in Eugene. That night I had no idea I was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes and didn’t realize I had about 100 bites until I was buckling my seatbelt about to depart from Ghana. That was so stupid of me to not put on mosquito spray I thought to myself; but the time spent with my roommates that night I would definitely have to say, was worth the mosquito bites.