Converting my Challenge into Chorus and Praise

There is no award for the complainer gene. We are instead judged by how we convert our challenges into teachable moments, laughter and friendship.

Before coming to Ghana I thought my preventative malaria medication was once a day. It was in fact, once a week. [wide eyed, dropped jaws]. It was not even close to a poisonous overdose but I felt like I gave myself malaria, flu, a stomach bug/virus, H1N1, Scars all in one. The lesson here is to always read prescription labels thoroughly! This experience, however, toughened me up mentally for my upcoming sick days.

I still get nausea everyday at work. My solution? Take a break! Or, on one occasion I got lime, ginger, salt and sugar all in one plate. I’ll eventually feel better and get back to work. Now, I take better advantage of the times when I’m well and maximize it. Life is too short either way for dilly-dallying.

Limes, sugar and ginger ease the nausea

Limes, sugar and ginger ease the nausea

Be thankful for good health by living on purpose

Adaptation – translate your lifestyle into your present environment

Electricity is generated by the Akosombo Dam in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Ghana supplies electricity to Togo, Benin and Burkino Faso. Dumsɔ (Twi) or Dumsor is a word you’ll become familiar with. It means the “on and off” of electricity. For us in the office that rely on the internet, it means finding another task or packing up. You can use a dongle/wireless internet stick, but when your computer battery is gone, that’s it. From my experience, there is no waiting around for electricity to be returned; it won’t be back for hours or even one day. Solution? Pack up and find an internet café quickly. They usually have generators.

Akosombo Dam

Akosombo Dam

Don’t complain for a minute, swiftly find an alternative

Be Adventurous

You can’t be afraid of being lost. Life’s greatest adventures are made through discovery and a traveling volunteer is always on this journey. I’m getting to know Accra better because I ventured out and got lost. Volunteers are usually in twos or groups with my organization but I am a lone volunteer – an Innovator so I must innovate. I’ve had to play big girl, get tough and bargain in big markets on my own. And I’m proud to say that I’m darn good at it!

Market in Accra

Market in Accra

Get lost… Make Friends

An easy way to avoid judging others

Someone asked once why we admire nature. Why not say that the left peak at the Piton mountains in St. Lucia is juuuust a little too slanted. Or that our Vincy parrot should’ve had purple and white feathers? No, we instead stare at the slant and call it beautiful and blush at the beauty of the bird. People are no different. Our gifts are in our differences. We are simply one compound word in the icebreaker trying to find our partner.

Solution? Just love and accept people.

I’m learning how to turn use my challenge as a channel for chorus and praise. The currency of complaint is not accepted in this world and you can’t buy anything with it. If that’s not all, pressure makes diamonds and fire refines the gold!

So avoid complaining about the food, the people and the system. Ask someone a question instead and you’ll be given a history lesson as to why things are the way they are. You will gain understanding and even admiration. You’ll learn new skills and value time more. This is how you embrace a new culture by finding joy in challenges.

– wrote this with no electricity, I therefore had to write purposefully and not postpone it for the next 40 minutes or 2 days, an 8% computer battery bar waits on no woman in Ghana  –

– Shalisha Samuel, Youth Innovator, Ghana 2013. You can read more about Shalisha’s experience on her blog: Growing With Shalisha


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