It Takes a Village: West Africa Grassroots Education Learns About Village Life

Kuma Adame

It Takes a Village: West Africa Grassroots Education Learns About Village Life

Written by Will Clarke, 2014 West Africa: Grassroots Education.

Last week, our West Africa Grassroots Education crew left the bustling city of Accra and headed for the serene villages of Togo, but not before a quick stop in the country’s coastal capital, Lome. After arriving in Lome and crossing the border on foot, we settled in and explored the city. On day two, the crew was sent on a scavenger hunt through the city to find our fearless leaders. We we able to learn more about Lome and Togo in general while exploring the Grande Marche and Le Marche aux Fetishes, where we learned about traditionalist religions.

After our brief stay in Lome we headed for Kpalime, where we learned more about Togo’s eduction system and what is being done to promote quality education for all. Our stay in Kpalime was short but sweet, as the next day we strapped on our packs and began a four day hike through the mountains from Kpalime to Wli, a small village in Ghana. Our first stop was Kuma Adame, a village in the mountains of Togo. In Adame we explored ancient sacred caves and learned about the village and its history. We were also able to hike to the top of the nearest mountain and observe all of the surrounding villages, an experience that left everyone speechless.

We then began our journey back into Ghana to Wli Todzi, a beautiful village where we gained an understanding of what village life is all about. After two days, we began the final leg of our hike; a short though steep descent into Wli, a village at the foot of the beautiful mountain range. After days of intense hiking, we were happy to reach our destination, but the fun didn’t stop there! We took a short trek up the hill to the lower Augumatsa falls and took some much needed time to relax and play in the falls and bond as a group.

Having the opportunity to spend time in some smaller villages really gave our crew a chance to see a different side of West Africa. After spending time in busy Accra, it was incredible to see how other people live. The sense of community in the smaller villages is something you need to see to believe. Everyone has a role and knows what they need to do to move the community forward. At the same time, the sense of trust among community members is palpable and there is an instant sense of being part of a community, from the newest arrival to the oldest resident.

Togo Hike
Being a group of eight obvious outsiders we entered the villages not knowing how we would be accepted, but everyone, from the people we passed on the road to those who welcomed us into their homes, made us feel as though we were part of their family. The expression “it takes a village to raise a child” rings true in these small, remote villages. Everyone is needed to make life possible and everyone works together to ensure the success of everyone else. Coming from such hectic, individualist lives, it was incredible to see how people can still work together without feeling burdened by timelines or helping others. These villages really showed us how a group of people can live and work together as one cohesive team that thrives on community life.

Hearing about education from those who live in small communities versus those in the cities gave us an appreciation of the real issues the education system is facing, but also what is being done to counteract them and how important education is to people all over Ghana and Togo. It reinforced why we are here and made us appreciate the work we’re doing. We also got the chance to bond as a team and support each other through literal highs and lows; from the tops of mountains to the bottoms of valleys.

2014 West Africa Grassroots Education
This week we grew closer as an OG family of eight, but our family grew to include dozens of others who welcomed us into their families and became a part of ours. We’re not sure exactly what the next few weeks will hold, but we know that we will face whatever challenges arise together, and appreciate every day that we get to spend on this amazing adventure.

Will Clarke
2014 West Africa Grassroots Education

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