From My Perspective
Ullo is a small town in the Upper West Region of Ghana, approximately 6000 miles away. Traveling there requires two 8 hour flights, a 1 hour flight, and about 8 hours of driving on roads that are, let’s say less than ideal. By the time I reached the community it was dark, I was exhausted, and even a little bit nauseous. But the second my feet hit that dusty ground, I felt at home.
Through the duration of my time at Iowa State I have been involved with the program in Ullo. I was here when the partnerships began, I have been here through the multiple setbacks that have proved inevitable in a program such as this, and I hope to be here when we break ground for the first time. This program has never been just an activity that I’m involved in during my free time. I have gained a deep connection with the project and specifically with the people in Ullo.
I am fortunate enough to have been able to travel to Ullo as a part of both travel teams. I traveled there first in 2014 and then again over the 2016-2017 winter break. To say that my life has been changed by this opportunity seems like such an understatement. Through this program I have formed friendships with people from such a different culture and background; something most people will never get to do. Many of my favorite memories in life were made sitting around a table underneath a perfectly clear night sky, talking about life and religion and struggles with people that inspire me. Two specific people that come to mind are Zack Seidu and Paul Taamba. Zack is a physician at the health clinic and Paul is a school teacher, amongst his many other roles. These two men beautifully represent the heart of the community in their “serve others first mentality.” They are the primary caretakers of our travel team and we would literally still be stranded on the side of the road if it weren’t for their help. When someone is in need, the people of Ullo are quick to come alongside them, even if they have very little to give. My hope for this program is to give them something that will repay them for the incredible influence they have had on my life.
Although my time here at Iowa State is wrapping up, the friendships I have made will stick with me for the rest of my life. The students that will be continuing this program have the incredible opportunity to impact the lives of thousands of people; not something that can be taken lightly. Through great leadership development and campus outreach, our student chapter has built a strong foundation of people that are committed and determined to see this project through. Our purpose is human development and our driving force is the trust that the people of Ullo have in us. I believe wholeheartedly in what we are doing, and I can’t wait to see the impact that we will have.
- Kelsey Brandt (Winter 2016 Travel Team Member)