I can still see their faces, vividly clear in my mind. The bright, glowing smiles. The youthful energy and excitement. Their yearning for a better future. The children I’ve interacted with in the various rural villages of Ghana all exude the same positiveness and ambition. They want to be educated in what they know to be “good schools.” It appears that throughout their entire lives, they’ve been told that the schools they attend are subpar. They’ve heard stories of other kids who went to “good schools” and how the higher quality education led to markedly improved life outcomes. Yet the abject poverty that surrounds them relegates these children to realities far from their dreams.
The mindset of the youth in Ghana starkly contrasts what I’ve observed from American youth living in the poorest communities. These children are afforded opportunities to receive free education, typically including free transportation and in some cases subsidized or free meals. They are essentially “privileged” in comparison to youth in developing nations. Surprisingly, in my conversations with American youth, I’ve observed a lack focus on a vision for the future. I guess this could be considered a basic dilemma of the “haves” and “have nots.” Will things ever change? Only time will tell.