Last week, the group visited Anani Memorial International School in Nima, a poor community in Accra. Upon arrival, the students welcomed us with songs and dances from Africa, as well as from other parts of the world. They even invited us to perform a dance with them, which was a very embarrassing yet unforgettable experience.
Ignorantly, I did not have high expectations for the standards of learning in an impoverished African community. However, I was stunned by how intelligent these students were. The kids, who ranged from about 4 to 14 years old, were fluent in English and French. Even the youngest students were able to flawlessly recite poems for us in both languages.
As the children recited their poems, I looked over to the window and noticed a group of kids peeking in. They had heard us singing and dancing, and gathered around to watch us from the outside. I asked my teacher what they were doing and she informed me that most children in Nima do not get to go to school; the ones that do usually drop out by the sixth grade to earn money for their families.
My heart sank as I sat in my desk, watching them. I thought about all the times I begged my mom to let me play in the cul-de-sac instead of read, all the times I faked sick, and all the times I cut class in high school to go to Starbucks or hang out with my friends. School is something that always felt like a chore, but as these kids peered in from the outside, wishing they could be learning too, I realized how fortunate I am to live the life that I do.
Thank you Anani Memorial School, for not only giving me a fun-filled day, but also for providing me with a valuable life lesson.