3.6 Million

My placement is halfway through and just over 6 weeks remain. Time to get serious. 

That was the thought that went through my brain as I fell asleep on Monday morning at around 3 a.m. after some really great discussion with some of the other JFs. In many ways, it feels like the six weeks I’ve spent in Ghana have gone very slowly, because I’ve learned a ridiculous amount, been challenged plenty, and had a head full of thoughts the whole time. But in other ways, the last six weeks seem to have slipped by while I’ve been racing to put one foot in front of the other. It feels like I’m running a change marathon at a pace reserved for a sprint.

3 months is simply not enough time.

I spent the last week with the other JFs travelling on bumpy roads in crowded tros, hunting for elephants, fending off crazy baboons, swimming (which every summer ought to include), casting magic spells, writing love letters, creating team strategy, dancing like a fool with a bunch of fools, laughing a lot, and talking about Development with a pair of Danish men.

So coy.

Hunting for elephants turned out to be fruitful.

The mid-placement retreat and subsequent country meeting in which the JFs took part was perfectly timed for centering and self-reflection. It felt like a little pit stop in the marathon we’re all running, the goal of which was to look both back at where we started, and forward to the finish line. When I look at my progress critically, I see some successes and some failures and some unexplored avenues. In each of these are lessons for the second half of the marathon and the things that I’ve learned will carry me through to the finish line.

I’m going to have to shift my focus to get there. Change must rapidly form the core of my approach(es) and I think the key to creating that change is to become focused on people, to truly understand the realities they face and the perspectives they have, no matter how difficult I find that process. It’s about feeling what it means to be a JHS student awaiting BECE results, a highly demotivated teacher, a rural farmer struggling to get an education, a dropout who was failed by the system, a teenage mother, a well-educated Ghanaian; the list goes on.

These perspectives will drive me to keep up the sprinting pace and motivate me to push even harder.

There’s so much to do, so much to experience, and so much to feel in the next month and a half. It’s overwhelming to think about, but also somehow exciting. Six weeks means that I have 3.6 million seconds left for this race. That’s 3.6 million tiny spaces in which to live, however fleetingly, in the moments of Ghana. To be challenged and to challenge and to learn and maybe even to dream. The second half of my placement will be full of amazing opportunities to live all of the things that I want to and to make every small change that I can.

3.6 million changes?

I hope I have the grace to handle that.





3 responses to “3.6 Million

  1. Then you come home, and have the rest of the year to make these changes from the Canadian end of the spectrum.

    Who am I kidding. You have your whole life.

    (I’m pretty excited on your behalf–and on my own. It’s nice to have someone so excellent joining the fold over here.)

  2. Karin Euler

    I just love reading your blog Christian. I feel like I’m right there on the roller coaster ride with you. Thank you so much for sharing with us! Tears of sadness and busting out laughing. I think you will have a big case of “Mal Afrique” when you get home. Being a teacher is one of the most noble professions there is. It’s like magic inspiring someone to learn. Love you. You are an amazing person!

    Aunt Karrot

    • Ah! Thanks Aunt Karrot, it means a lot to me =). I’m really glad that you’re getting a sense of what I’m feeling, because that was a major goal of mine in creating this blog. Thanks so much for following along!
      Mal Afrique, indeed–I’m already planning my return trip! My host father really wants me to come back to see him and there are so many aspects of Ghana that I want to see but won’t get the chance to while I’m here.


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