Yovo: Experiences of West Africa
Kiana lived 6 weeks in Togo (West Africa) working at an orphanage. Her insights into her amazing experiences make Africa come alive. She describes beauty, misery, joy, problems, learning and growing, frustrations, and understanding. More
"If I can help here at the orphanage, great. But if all I take from this experience is understanding... that’s still great. I will bring an ounce of understanding home to an America which is really very ignorant about this place.."
Kiana, a 17-year-old from Long Island, brings a pound of understanding. She spent 6 weeks in Togo, West Africa, living with an African family and volunteering at an orphanage. This short book is an edited collection of her blogs.
"People know there is poverty. But also there is generosity, there are political problems, there is culture, there are jokes, there is a different way of interacting and viewing the world."
She describes some of the stunning beauty of Togo. She also describes negatives: her misery in getting sick; her frustrations with things not working; and problems, such as teachers in the schools not being paid. She describes the poverty.
But she never asks for pity: "But what I want you to understand is not that these children are poor or in need of pity, but that they are joyful. They are beautiful and amazing kids. They have so little and yet they give so much."
And when she is home: "Life here continues to feel so strange. Hollow in some way. While I call Africa "another world," it felt in many ways much more real of a world. As if there was more purpose there, more to life, more vibrancy."
And, over and over again, she describes how strikingly different Africa is.. Her culture shock. Their understandings being so different from others. The streets, the intersections, the mud, the T-shirts, the transportation, almost everything. Her observations and insights come alive
Africa teaches her and changes her. 25 pages. All earning will be donated to African orphanages. ExperiencesofWestAfrica.com
"And I play and play with the smallest child, who is not old enough for school. We practice counting numbers together with the bad pieces of rice, or we play “ou est Assan?” (his version of hide and seek). On a very special day I bring a balloon for him to toss around, squealing in laughter, until it pops and I have to explain that it is finished, I cannot blow up the little fragments of plastic into a new balloon. His little voice giggling “tata, tata kiana”(Aunt Kiana) and the image of him running to me arms open will be with me the rest of my life."
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