July 24, 2011
All weekend after I visited Victoria, I just knew I had to try to see her again. I mean I had two weeks left of my trip. So, Monday, I called Daniel from Compassion again. I told him “Well, you may guess why I’m calling…could I see Victoria again?” He told me that he would have to check. A week later he still said he was trying to figure something out. I told him that I could go on that Saturday, which was my last day in Ghana. My plane was to fly out at 11:00 pm. Daniel called back. He found someone to host the visit. I was going to get to visit Victoria again! And on a Saturday when the project is being held! I was so excited, I cried!
Kara and Hannah, two of my new friends from the study abroad program joined me. We waited outside my host at 8:00. Peter, a project director who was acting as the visit host, came at 9:20. We had hired a car and a driver for the trip. We arrived at Victoria’s project at 10:00. The project is held at the school in the community. It consists of mainly two long buildings with a big field in between them. We were welcomed again by Wisdom. He lead the way towards Victoria’s classroom. We walked across the field and into her classroom. I was introduced to the volunteer teacher. Victoria came in the opposite door as we were being introduced. She came right up and gave me a hug. It was so good to see her again.Victoria told me that she was so surprised when they told her yesterday that I was coming to visit again. I told her that I just couldn’t leave Ghana without seeing her again.
Victoria sat down in her seat as Wisdom introduced us to the classroom. Wisdom then wanted to show us around a little more so we went to another classroom for their oldest kids. Probably 12-14 year olds. Victoria joined us. Wisdom told her teacher, “Victoria will not be in class today.” A big smile came acrossed Victoria’s face : ) We stood in front of the classroom and introduced ourselves. Then they sang a short little song for us. After that, we we each given a seat in the classroom. Victoria and I sat together and listened while Peter talked. He asked two students to come to the front and tell us what Compassion means to them. A boy came up first. He was so inspiring. He told us how he has become a better person. I learned that he even preachs and leads Bible studies for the younger kids. I think his name was Kingbless, very fitting I thought. A girl came to the front next. Victoria later told me that she was Wisdom’s daughter. She said that Compassion has taught her the Word of God. She then said that she could recite all of the books in the Bible. Peter had her do it. She started…Genesis, Exodus… I looked over to my right and heard Victoria softly doing the same. I was so proud and very impressed.
Next, Peter asked me to come up and tell the students how I picked Victoria. With Victoria standing by my side, I told them how I decided to sponsor her. I told them that I had found her picture online, saw her smile and just knew I wanted to write to her. Peter made sure to point out to the students that I had found her online. Apparently some of the parents think that it is the project workers who pick sponsors for their kids so they get mad at the staff when their child doesn’t have a sponsor or when their sponsor doesn’t write to them.
Next we walked to the church and new kitchen so that Kara and Hannah could see it. We also went to the project office. After I had talked to Kara and Hannah about my first visit with Victoria, they had decided that they would like to sponsor a child. Peter allowed them to look at the information of the unsponsored children at Victoria’s project. While they were looking at that information, I was able to look a t Victoria’s file again. This time with Victoria. She hadn’t seen it before I don’t think. We looked at eachother’s letters. Then I turned to her grade reports. Again, I told her how proud I was of her and pointed to the praising comments from her teachers. In the office, Victoria also took her first picture. I showed her where to pushed down and she took it herself. Then we told on facebook style picture together. It is super cute. Victoria started to dance as we were leaving. I was so happy to see this giggly little girl.
We walked back over to the school. As we were walking back Victoria taught me some words in Twi and Ewe. It was a fun conversation as I stumbled over the words. She was a great teacher. As we got back to the project, all of the kids were getting ready to dance. Victoria ran over to join them. They preformed two dances for us. My eyes were on Victoria. She was so cute and knew all of the moves. On the third dance, Peter invited us to join the kids. We agreed, knowing we were going to make fouls of ourselves. They were going to place us all in the front but I told him I wanted to stand by Victoria. I walked to the back. She gave me this huge grin. This was going to be fun. Now, with no instructions, the drums started going and I “tried” to follow suit. I am not a dancer. I was so off beat and I am sure just looked rideulous. All of the kids were laughing. I looked over to Victoria, at one point she was bent over laughing. I was having so much fun and laughing just the same. I was glad to see Victoria so happy and to just be acting silly together. After that dance, we sat down and they performed one more song.
After the dances, Victoria came over. She was sweating but had a big smile on her face. Peter told us we were going to go see the satelite that was built in their town that they seem very proud of. Victoria and I rode in Wisdom’s car with his little son, Elle.
It was a short drive to the satelite. We got out. Victoria asked me, “Isn’t it beautfiul?” I agreed. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures of it, but we were able to get some pictures together with some hills in the background. On the way back we stopped for some coconuts on the side of the road. Peter got some for all of us. Kara asked if we could have straws. Peter got some. Victoria took one but laughed. She was not used to drinking a coconut from a straw. She laughed when it made the slurping sound. We had the coconuts cut open again so we could eat the meat. Victoria asked if I remembered how to do it. I told her I thought so. She watched as I carefully scraped it out. She seemed proud. I think I did a good job : )
On the way back we also passed by Victoria’s house. Victoria’s mom was outside and came up to the car. Victoria had taught me how to say thank you in Ewe. So I repeated it to her mom.We made it back to the school and were seated in a classroom for lunch. Peter told Kara and Hannah that they would have the chance to meet some of the kids who needed a sponsor. Some of them came in and got to talk to them. One girl, Nancy, who Victoria had already pointed out for us, needed a sponsor. I am happy to tell you that once Kara got home she called Compassion and Nancy is now sponsored! I am so excited for the two of them and am so thankful that they were able to connect the way they did.
For lunch we were served Okra stew and Kenkay. Kenkay is kind of like banku and fufu. I tried my best to eat it, but Victoria did comment that I didn’t eat much. After Victoria was finished, I asked if she wanted to play something. She said hopscotch! So we headed over to some trees because she said the sun was scorching. Wisdom’s daughter outlined squares and Victoria made something to throw. She went first, then it was my turn. It was fun, but most of the kids seemed more interested in the cameras. That was fine with me so we had some photoshots : )
By then it was already after 3:00 and we had to be going. I was sad that it was time to go but was so thankful that it had been such a wonderful, long day playing with Victoria. I felt so much closer to her this time around. All of the nerves had passed with our first visit and now it just seemed like we were old friends. I was so happy we had gotten to this point.
I walked with Victoria over to the car. We talked with eachother one on one. Tears were starting to come again though. I asked her what her favorite part of the day was. She said the dance. I agreed. We were waiting a long time because the workers needed to do something. This just made it harder. I asked Victoria if she just wanted to go and play with her friends, thinking it might be easier for her. She said she just wanted stay with me and buried her head in my side. I love her. I didn’t want her to go either.
We took on final picture with our whole group. I gave her one last hug and kissed her forhead. As I left, one of the workers put his arm around Victoria. I know she is loved at the project. I am so thankful for them. They all made my time in Ghana unforgetable. It was such a blessing.
That night I boarded my plane and arrived safely home the next day.