What I learned in Ghana started to change my life in small and then large ways. If I had to boil all the insights and realizations down to a single point, it would be this: life is very difficult, but that's OK.
In the U.S., most of us are raised to expect a pretty easy life, even to feel entitled to it. We are therefore often surprised and bitter when life's inevitable problems and heartaches arise. The great majority of Ghanaians, by way of contrast, assume that life is a struggle. This assumption leads to a sense of gratitude for even life's small gifts, and life's challenges drive people to God and each other for comfort.
As I began to realize that the proper attitude toward life is gratitude rather than resentment and that accomplishments and hardships are to be shared rather than celebrated or endured on one's own, a whole new world of possibilities unfurled. What if our lives are not some sort of entitlement to be defended, but rather a gift to be spent for and enjoyed with others?
So Yo Ghana! heads off for Ghana on Saturday knowing that at least some of our many and detailed plans are bound to be amended or discarded in the face of unforeseen problems but also that our month there will bring unpredictable joys and innumerable friendships.