Traveling to Joma

by Stephen Hebert on Monday - 2 August 2010

in Ministry

Houston Christian High School, under the auspices of a program called Project 20/20, is working towards developing a relationship with a school on each continent. At the moment, our first school is Joma Methodist Primary School in the village of Joma not far from Accra, the capital of Ghana. On July 21st, 2010, nine members of the HCHS community (three teachers, the chaplain, and five students) traveled to Joma to work with students and teachers there.

(L) Students working at the Joma School. (R) A portrait of a student at Joma.

Because I will have each of the five students in class next year, the school invited me along as one of the teachers. This was really my first time to:

(a) travel internationally for a mission trip;
(b) experience an unindustrialized culture at close range;
(c) work with students as young as three years old.

First, let me link you to my flickr set. That will supply you with some more photos to checkout.

Second, let me tell you that a trip such as this tends to have a greater impact on the server than the one being served. While I can only hope and pray that the students at Joma felt blessed by our work at their school (we painted and also taught), I know that I was touched by the villagers happiness in the face of enormous odds. These children contract malaria multiple times a year; they swim, eat from, drink, bathe, and play in a lake that is polluted and disease-infested; they have nothing to their names but a school uniforms, a few fishing nets, and huts with thatched roofs. Yet, upon seeing nine white folks hop out of a van, the smiles on their faces were incredible. We brought them one soccer ball, and you’d think it was Christmas morning?

How is it that we’ve lost touch with ourselves? How is it that we’ve allowed wealth and possessions to dictate our feelings? How is it that we are no longer connected with the earth, its rhythms and its cycles?

Lord — just give me the opportunity to live simply.

Natalie and I always joke that if I hadn’t found her, I’d be off living the monk’s life somewhere. How I crave some of that now! (Though, I really like having the wife around…so we’ll have to find a way to make both work!)

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