Student Voice: What I Did On My Summer Vacation by Kalyn McMillan

image.png-2  Since the end of my junior year at P.D Jackson-Olin High School, I have experienced numerous life altering journeys throughout the summer that substantially impacted my life and my mentality. On June 4th, I embarked upon a dream fulfilling journey to Ghana in West Africa.  Through the skies and across the waters, I found myself nestled along the warm tropical waters of the Gulf of Guinea, stepping out onto on the red soiled land of Ghana, in a land where I soon learned that  my dreams as an aspiring Neonatal Surgeon could thrive and become a reality.

On my trip, I had the boundless opportunity to become immersed within the culture of Ghana and address the misconceptions that many individuals have towards African countries.  Throughout my trip, I was hosted and decorated by honorable dignitaries: I met with the honorable Chief of Winneba and the Queen mother, a unique learning opportunity that helped me to better understand the culture of Ghana. I also had the opportunity to sit and converse with Ambassador Gene A. Cretz – the U.S Ambassador at the Embassy of the United States in Accra – about ways to better eradicate the gap between Birmingham and her Ghanian Sister City of Winneba.

imageI have great appreciation to the Birmingham Sister City Commission for providing the opportunity to have this life changing experience; I was truly able to see a new world. I was deeply immersed within the culture of Ghana, such as when I had the chance to devote a day to the wonderfully intellectually endowed scholars at Winneba Secondary School, or to give back at the Rafiki Orphanage by carrying out the Brown Baby Project, (it is highly unlikely to find a doll of African descent in Ghana. We gave young orphans brown baby dolls, which some have never seen before).  Overall, it was truly transformative to my outlook on life because I began to notice that the possessions that we take for granted in the US are cherished across the waters.

image-3When I landed in Accra after my flight, I was instantaneously overwhelmed with the welcoming Ghanaians. From Accra to Cape Coast, I had the time of my life. I experienced life-altering situations, from staying in the most misfortunate of cities to the more affluent parts of Ghana, I was able to finally see why many people call Ghana home: for its welcoming atmosphere and peaceful, friendly people. Thanks to Ma Gwen, Uncle Paul, and Mrs. Bettina- My Ghana family, for this unforgettable opportunity. The memories we shared will forever be cherished . I will forever be a Ghana girl.

One thought on “Student Voice: What I Did On My Summer Vacation by Kalyn McMillan

  1. Nancy O'Neal says:

    Your account makes me feel like I was there with you. Such a wonderful opportunity and the trip of a lifetime. Let your heart be your guide in your career choice. I know you can do it!!!

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