I am uncomfortable. I am hot, sweaty and tired. I have been continuously carrying 45 lb blocks for about 10 minutes, fairly certain this is the first time I have ever carried cement blocks in my entire life. While I am used to seeing huge cement mixers on the side of the highway, here I am mixing cement myself with a shovel.
Today is not a typical day in my life, but I am happy to be here in Winneba building a wall around Challenging Heights’ School to help keep students and teachers safe and secure.
I’m sweating out of pores I didn’t even know I had, so I decide to slip into the shade for a quick break. As I open my eyes from the burning bug spray, I see about a hundred kids running around, playing, screaming and giggling. I walk toward a group of kids when I feel something around my waist. I turn my head to find a boy smiling up at me with his stark white teeth. I pick him up and twirl him around. He is not more than three or four years old. I put him down and he waves at me. As I bend down to his level, I notice that his undershirt is torn, his shorts held up by a piece of string and his zipper is broken.
As he places my sunglasses on his face, all the kids gather around giggling. They all ask me my name and start introducing themselves. Next thing I know, I hear the school bell and the kids retire from recess and head back to class. As another volunteer says, “It’s heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.”
Lee Sudakoff is a participant in Global Circle‘s trip to Ghana.