By Cameron Bocanegra | Reporter
Despite the intense African sun, limited resources and culture shock during the annual two-week Baylor mission trip to Ghana, the buzzing talk of upcoming travel has begun.
Every May, a small team of 10 to 15 students and a few faculty pack suitcases full of notebooks, pencils, markers, books and hygiene products to take to a primary school in Kyerkerom, a small village in rural Ghanda.
Dr. Lakia Scott, assistant professor in curriculum and instruction, previously traveled to Ghana with the team as the School of Education’s faculty representative.
“The team does not trying to proselytize people,” Scott said. “We are just trying to show our faith and virtues through our actions. Baylor Missions has crafted quality experiences for students to partake in and opportunities to serve, like walking their faith across various countries like Ghana.”
For years, the mission trip only focused on community health involvement because their original host was in the medical field. Their involvement still includes their usual community health fair in the village where the students do ground work that was within their capabilities, such as taking temperatures, checking heart rates, handing out first aid supplies and distributing medications.
Annual teams began to develop a relationship with the local school, Kyerekrom Roman Catholic Primary School, so two subteams were created — community health and education. Baylor students were able to bond with the children through science experiments, sports, books and teaching daily lessons in the school even though there was only air conditioning and electricity in only two rooms, the principal’s office and the technology room.
“We had a few education students, but everyone else was spread across different majors,” Lakia said. “We saw a great need to help stock their library and help in the classrooms with lessons and identify with the educational experiences of children in rural Ghana.”
The experience offers a culturally humbling experience rather than just a new row on a student’s resume.
“Whether you are in education or not, you are in this educational setting of a loosely structured school system with a bit of a language barrier combined with Gandhian time, meaning the children never show up to their lessons on time,” said graduate student Katelyn Hamilton. “The kids were life-changing. I’d never give back the experience.”
For the upcoming mission trip, the focus will be on education, along with the community health aspect still implemented. They will also no longer be hosted by a medical doctor, but Baylor alumn Vincent Asamoah, who is part of a basketball ministry.
“We expect a more cognizant experience and deeper connections with the school,” Lakia said. “Right now we are just working in the primary school, but there is a secondary school component we are trying to get into.”
Future plans for Baylor Missions’ trip to Ghana are still developing with interests in connecting with universities in Ghana for partnerships, domestic exchange and professional development. Applications for the upcoming minimester in May are currently open, and scholarships are available.