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Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I have never been out West and was super thrilled to get the chance to go to Arizona! The desert land! The land of valleys and hills! And heat! I arrived last week for my weeklong orientation for IFESH. Aside from being super psyched to be away from Virginia, I was even more excited to meet my new colleagues. IFESH headquarters is located in Phoenix, where we had our Pre-Departure Orientation.
IFESH stands for International Foundation for Education and Self-Help. What kind of rock solid name is that? And it is quite self-explanatory. IFESH’s mission is toto support African nations in their efforts to eradicate poverty, disease and inequity through self-help partnership programs. They do this by sending volunteer educators to Africa to operate education projects at teacher training colleges. IFESH has sent over half a million teachers since the inauguration of their organization 20 years ago. Rev. Leon H. Sullivan had a vision for Africa: everyone can reach their full potential through quality education, health, and good governance. The education program is one of many programs that supports his mission to provide strategies for economic and social reform in Africa. I am fortunate to partake in this once-in-a-lifetime-serious-but-amazing experience with 50 other teachers. I am among dedicated and brilliant men and women who want to give the best they can offer through a wonderful act of service. I feel too blessed and am humbled by it all.
Orientation was lengthy, interesting, at times draining, but overall inspiring. IFESH did a great job in giving us as much information as they could and it was great to meet my “Ghana Crew”. For so long, I felt as if I was the only one who loved teaching and wanted to experience Africa in a different way besides a vacation. Coming to orientation was like coming into my own: EVERYONE here loves to teach and is super in love with Africa. We all joked about the different options we were planning to take if IFESH didn’t work: Peace Corps (we all started but never finished the application); or Fulbright. But we all share the same feeling: being a part of IFESH is truly an honor.

If interested, check out the website, This is not open to just teachers. It is for those who desire to serve those who are less likely to get quality education. If ever you thought about Africa in this way, give it a shot.

Below are pics of my trip:

The “Ghana Crew” Sandra, Tiffany, Amy S., Gayla (not going to Ghana but welcome to join our pic!, Mr. Kwesi Dzidzienyo (our Country Rep. for Ghana), ME! And Amy T..

Rose is brilliant and beautiful. #thatisall

Ms. Joetta Brown is brilliant and beautiful as well:) She was at Sefwi-Wiawso for two years with IFESH. Her expertise has sent her to Liberia this year; how I wish I had the opportunity to work with her privately!

Somehow, black girls always stay together, smh (in a good way!)
Rose D, Sonia, Asta (my big mommy!) Me (with that ddarn name tag), and Agatha
Tiffany, CR for IFESH Nigeria- Nafisa, Me, Mariama (love her!) 

View from my hotel balcony, Arizona during sunrise. Bliss 
It was a wonderful orientation. I feel very oriented:) with the program and all that it expects of me. I have so much I want to give to IFESH so it's about time to get started! I can't believe I'm doing this!


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