My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sending Off

I love volunteers coming through.  It's always busy, and can be overwhelming, but it is ALWAYS beautiful to see what God does through them here.

Kika, Andrew, and Kaley Grupe were with us for three weeks and they've made a powerful impression on my mind.  I keep thinking about them each morning when I wake up.

The Grupe's are friends of some of my best friends T and Evan Kolding.  Originally, the Koldings were planning on coming out here for a couple of weeks with a small group of youth from their church.  The planning process had begun and everyone was beginning to get excited when plans changed and the trip had to be cancelled.

But, the Grupe's still wanted to come.  So, we continued the conversation.  When I went through the Bay are in January, we sat down and talked possibilities.

But, their work here really was perfect timing.

They came with bag upon bag of donations and school supplies--much of which Kika had organized from her school (which needs a HUGE THANK YOU from me...they gave us so much here!) and then they set right to work.

Kaley hung out with her dad for a few days, but one day, DK brought me a note for her.  I have to admit that I sneakily read it before I laid it on her bunk (it said something about him wanting her to come and play with all the other children)!  And all of the sudden, Kaley was a regular over at the Freedom Center.  In fact, she began to eat most of her meals there too.  We hardly saw her during the day except to sleep!  Mama Theresia was even proud to let Kika know that Kaley had become a Ghanaian girl!

Andrew's job here was to make a documentary video capturing the full picture of our work here in Ghana.  He spent the better part of each day videoing and editing (and sometimes the better part of each night editing as well).

Kika was a God-send for me.  She was in the preschool class everyday with our teachers and students.  She taught them how to use different materials, helping approach things with a different structure, and then met with the teachers occasionally to have them ask questions and to do a little more training with them.  Preschool has been an incredible challenge for me this year and my training is not in early childhood ed at all, so her experience and love for the children and the work made such a difference.

I love that they each came with a project in mind already.

They were go-getters.  I didn't have a ton of supervisory work, but loved getting to partner with them to help clarify our vision or even to help bring their vision about even more.

And the best part was...I feel like their work was really lasting.  The supplies and trainings that Kika brought will help us train our preschool teachers better and it will help us provide a better, more round, program for the children enrolled in our class.  And Andrew's video will hopefully help us provide a way to explain our work to incoming volunteers, for fundraising, to help raise awareness...

Kaley's biggest wish as we were taking them to the airport was just for "next year's trip to Ghana".

It was the perfect volunteer experience!

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