Being in Ghana

ghana flagBy Margaret Mitchell, President and CEO, YWCA Greater Cleveland

“Educate a man and you have educated an individual. Educate a woman and you educate a whole nation.”
Ghanaian belief

One of the most exciting things about being in Ghana is being in Ghana. So here I am! Everything feels different on the other side of the world- because well, everything IS different and that’s what makes it so exciting. Accra, the capitol city in Ghana, is captivating. It’s a megacity – believe me, when you’re here, you’re definitely not in Kansas anymore!

ghana word cloud

Ghanaian streets are a bustle of activity. AWE is what I feel when I see a mother carry her child swaddled to her back. The beautiful pattern fabrics are tied up in chic practical style, and the way Ghanaian men women and children carry anything and everything with regal precision on top of their head is absolutely AMAZING.

EXTROVERTED FRIENDLINESS is the Ghanaian way. I’m excited to see women and girls at a whole new level in Ghana. Much different from my first trip to West Africa nearly 20 years ago. Ghanaian folk now say “educate a man and you have educated an individual. Educate a woman and you educate a whole nation.”

Every day here is building to a masterful crescendo as we look forward to celebrating the opening of the preschool Yvonne Pointer has built in Ghana. It is after all the reason I am in Ghana, enjoying the sights before we head to a rural village waiting for a woman they call Mama Pointer. Today, Yvonne and I fell into a conversation around her personal mantra …her driving drum beat…her constant theme…everyone can make a difference.  I used to find that thought overwhelming. Not anymore.

Last Tuesday, I met Anthony Tay. In 2003, as a little boy, Anthony found a piece of an article on the ground in his village. That small scrap of paper, a piece of a magazine article about the murder of Yvonne’s daughter Gloria, prompted Anthony to write Yvonne a letter. That letter prompted Yvonne to begin a journey. Two individuals took action and difference is made.

When Yvonne first showed me the letter, it was all so hard to believe. But then I realized – it was nothing short of a God moment. GRACE is everywhere in Ghana. And it was easy to see when I meet Anthony. What does Yvonne say? “We can’t wait on the President or the mayor or this celebrity or that. We can do it. You and I. One person can make a world of difference.”

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