November 28th, 2012
This holiday season watch as the cast of Degrassi travel to Africa to help build a school in a small community in Ghana. Cast members from Season 12 of Degrassi travelled with Free the Children to help build a school, inspire a community and in turn be inspired.
Airing Sunday, December 2nd at 7:30E/4:30P, watch as the Degrassi cast meet the people and the country that will change their lives forever. Today, Sarah Fisher and Jessica Tyler share their experiences and memories of Ghana.
Travelling to Ghana was absolutely incredible. This was my third trip with Free The Children and it never gets any easier to leave the people we meet in the communities where we stay and work. Not only are we building friendships with the people we meet overseas, but the cast gets so much closer too. I really do consider the Degrassi cast my second family.
Because the Ghana adventure was my third trip, I was able to set aside the excitement of travelling and really focus on why we were going to Ghana. These trips aren’t set up to ‘fix’ the communities, because they do not need to be fixed. If anything we can learn from them. Africa taught me that we are there to offer a helping hand, laughter, fun, and education.
At first, I was super homesick, which was expected when travelling so far away from home, but a few days in I realized that even though I was far away, I found a sense of home in Ghana. Oftentimes people think places like Ghana or Haiti are poor and filthy, simply because of what they see on the news, but I’ve learned that there is so much more to these places than how they are shown in the media. Unlike North American kids, instead of watching TV all day, the kids will play soccer or go fishing, climb a rock, spend time with their families! The women work hard together, harder than I ever could, and the men are all like brothers. A real sense of family was evident in Ghana, and I really did feel a part of that family! For these people to welcome us like they did, it was breathtaking. Their love for music has truly inspired me as a songwriter. On the last night we had a group come play bongos for us and dance on the beach. I’ve never heard such a rhythm before in my life, and the soul and feeling while they were performing was so motivating.
I have to say this was the first Free The Children trip where I felt a true connection with the community, it really was so difficult to say goodbye. If there is one thing I took home from this trip, it’s that no matter what the situation or conditions you are in, hold on to the hope that things are going to be okay, because in the end, with family and friends by your side, you can make it through anything. Ghana is proof of that, and I can’t wait to see the people of the community again someday.
I remember when we first met. We were standing facing each other, uncertain. They were playing drums and singing for us. One of the elders walked over and started dancing with Munro, and then Jacob. Then, the most powerful thing happened; we became one. Everyone ran in and grabbed a partner they hadn’t met before to dance with. It was one of the most amazing feelings I have ever experienced in my life.
A few days in I locked eyes with this beautiful seven year old boy named Thomas. Ever since we first looked at each other, we were inseparable. Holding hands, laughing and goofing off wherever we went. We were best friends, but because he was so young I felt the need to always make sure he was okay. It was incredible, the connection you can feel with someone who can only say “hi”. Although we could not always understand each other, they have taught me so much more than anyone could imagine. They are the happiest, strongest people I have ever met. But I have to say, leaving was the hardest part.
The second we were told to get back on the bus, it hit all of us. These people had become our best friends, our family, and we had to say goodbye. I really want to go back one day. I will never forget my friends and how much love I felt on this trip.