Monday proved to be a long day filled with many personal challenges and opportunities for critical reflection. We were off to our different internships, and for me and three other students, that meant another day at Sankofa Preparatory School in Egaufo, Ghana. Upon our arrival, we were placed in four separate classrooms with little instruction about what was needed from us for the day or what our role should be. This is not the first time this occurred at the school. Due to a shortage of staff and limited facilities and resources, such as books, labs, and supplies, the school has little structure and encounters a number of hardships. I was originally placed in Class five, composed of mainly nine to twelve year-olds, where the kids were taking a test. After helping with the grading of the exams, I went out for break with the kids when one of the other students helping to volunteer approached me. She was concerned because the primary teacher in her class was not at school, and she was asked to develop a lesson plan and teach her class for the remainder of the school day. We both thought it would be a good idea to leave my initial class and help her teach hoping to alleviate some of the stress caused by the situation. It proved to be difficult because we did not have the books explaining the curriculum that should be taught in order to help the kids score highly on their exams, but there was a language barrier that made it difficult to teach.
The other thing that made this day difficult was a prolonging internal battle. I have been highly conscious of how my peers and I have interacted with the locals in order to invoke a great experience. As tourists, we have an inherent privilege in how we experience the country because we can dictate it. While I have been guilty of exercising that unearned benefit, I find it unsettling that it has managed to surface far too often in both myself and my peers. Moreover, it is problematic to exoticize such culture without comprehending it in depth, which is hard to do when you are in a society that you have been socialized to exoticize. I hope that as this program continues, such tendencies will cease, and my experiences in Ghana will go beyond just a few black bodies in pictures in a photo album in some random box in my room or forgotten file on my computer.