My four weeks in Africa were filled with long days of reporting, emotionally challenging excursions to cities outside of Accra, and poignant cultural experiences I will always remember. The poverty and suffering I saw made me realize how much help we, as Americans, need to give. It's not just about donating a dollar here, buying a product (Red shirt) there. We need to increase our awareness about the world and how much people need our help. They need proper waste management, running water, higher wages, decent and affordable health care, energy resources, better education and job services. As humans we have a responsibility to others. One helping hand can be an inspiration, but think about what 1,000 hands could do.
When I was at the airport on my way back to New York, I was so excited to be returning to my life before Ghana. I couldn't wait to see my boyfriend, my friends and family. Yet some part of me felt different. I knew my life had to change somehow when I stepped off the plane.
I stood in the U.S. citizens line at customs. I felt a swell of happiness in my chest. As each person had their passports checked and stamped I got closer to home. When it was my turn to step up to the booth, I said hello to the customs officer and handed him my paperwork.
"That's the best smile I've seen all day," he said.
"Thanks," I said, blushing, "I'm just really happy to be back."
"Well, welcome home."
As I walked through the airport and saw hundreds of people from around the world walking side by side together, smiling and showing that they care, I knew there was hope. America is my home, and it would not exist if people did not have hope for the future and hope for each other. We have to stay informed, work together, and take action when we find a way to help. Home is where there is hope. Let's show everyone the meaning of home.