Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Greg Sullivan '06 Reflects on a Year in Africa on a Benedictine Volunteer Program

Togo, the smile of Africa, is a small, West African country tucked in between Ghana and Benin. It is one of the poorest nations in the world with no major exports or mainstream tourist attractions. But what this little country lacks in financial capital and world recognition, it makes up for in culture. I could not have asked for a more difficult, trying, or rewarding experience than what I went through in my six months in Togo. The mission of my service was to teach in a rural school and determine if the monastery at which I was residing would be a valid and safe service site for the St. John’s Benedictine Volunteer Corps, as I was the first volunteer to set foot in West Africa. My teaching and my time in Togo lasted for six months when I decided to join forces with another volunteer in Nairobi, Kenya to work with street children living in the Mathare slum. The two months I spent in Kenya were a wonderful compliment to my experience in Togo. I was afforded the rare opportunity to work with children from two very different yet very similar cultures of Africa. It truly was the experience of a lifetime. And to avoid doing the trip a disservice that experience by trying to describe it in a few words I have provided a link to the blog which I edited throughout my journey.