The impact of my experience in Ghana is characterized less by what I brought back than by what I left behind. There was tremendous peace in service. It felt similar to that ironic peace one finds in surrendering things thought essential. But this peace is born more of perspective than of sacrifice.
I recall our last evening in Yaw Tenkorang. Dry and cool, the final night was a joyful one – a perfect night to fellowship by the light of our fire. The people of the village feasted on modest meals that we provided. I wondered whether I’d ever appreciated any meal so well as my new friends appreciated this one. The young people of our church sang worship songs. The children of the village danced hopefully – free of care and full of glee – as I watched my mundane worries burn in a bonfire of humility.
That was the gift I received: a humbling resulting in a peace, and now that I’m home, in a longing to return. Though Adopt One Village is first charged with bringing hope and sustainability to Yaw Tenkorang, I believe an important secondary duty is to offer a chance for peace to its partners and those who come to serve. Our last night in the village stood witness to the fulfillment of both responsibilities.
Russ Hammonds works in film and television production and lives in New York City with his wife and daughter. His July trip to Ghana was the first of what he hopes will be many.