Written by: Kavita Chandra
July 14, 2011
For the past few days, all of the instructors have been extremely sad that it is our last week together and today is our last day of classes! We've all come to love Accra and the people we have come in contact with, especially our students.
It has always been my dream to be a professor at a university. However, attending MIT for the last three years and constantly having exams, p-sets, and sleepless nights, I have forgotten a lot of what I love about learning. A lot of students enter a MIT bubble of their own world and forget everything else, which happened to me. At times, I have been more concerned with getting a p-set finished, instead of learning the material! Needless to say, I was a little lost.
At first, coming here was just as confusing: having to barter for food/taxis/everything, not knowing why everyone was yelling "Obruni" at me, trying to use a fork to eat fufu, etc. I was the quintessential ignorant westerner. Now, after six unforgettable weeks, names like banku, waakye, and kelewele do not sound like foreign fuzzy animals to me, but rather delicious Ghanaian delicacies. I have also acquired a knack for getting cheap taxi rides, despite their exorbitant starting price. Though I do not use this skill as much because, as of recent, I am less inclined to take taxis; we now take trotros wherever we go!
Of all my adventures, along with many misadventures, the thing I will miss more than anything is the kindness and benevolence of the Ghanaian people. The people here are always willing to help, and are overly friendly. At first, coming from the US, I thought that everyone here was just trying to solicit money, but I have come to realize that Ghanaians are just genuinely nice people. I am glad that the generosity of the Ghana, namely our students, has allowed me to shed some of my New England cynicism.
Today, the class presented us instructors with some beautiful African clothing to remember them by, but I would not have needed any tangible item to remember the cherished memories we shared. These people are some of the brightest, kindest people I have ever had the honor to know. Learning about their determination to succeed is a more valuable life-lesson than any business model I could have taught them. I have complete faith in every person in the class to overcome any hurdles they face, solely because of who they are innately as people. I cannot wait till tomorrow when they reveal their final product at our showcase!