Exploring The Beautiful Land Of Ghana


Nicholas Felix

“It was more than just a two-week experience, it was a journey of mental, spiritual and personal growth,” said Thyquel Halley, Student Government Association (SGA) president.

This educational adventure took students to three major regions in Ghana — Accra, Kumasi, and Cape Coast — was made possible thanks to the international development program Leaders of the Free World (LFW).

LFW is a leadership program that educates young black men through leadership building, cultural immersion, and reflection activities.

Venida C. Rodman Jenkins, director of the Speicher-Rubin Women’s Center for Equity and Diversity, was an advisory board member of the LFW. Her travels to Ghana in 2018 inspired her to reach out to the LFW co-founders and campus departments to co-sponsor a program dubbed “Men of Color and Study Abroad.”

NJCU’s venture to Ghana was a transformation time of their lives and the food was amazing, said students.

The mission of this experience for students was reflection on their identities overseas in a land with rich history that will enhance their awareness of their environment and themselves. For example, students learned about the concept of the mask, a shroud that hides away one’s true self by letting others see the idea of yourself. Part of proclaiming their true identities came at a naming ceremony held at the Chief’s palace in Kumasi.

“The name I was given is Osei Yaw which means noble and honorable, everything I desire to embody,” said Halley. The pastor’s sermon from this ceremony was centered on a transformative life which was this trip was focused on building within these future black leaders.

The social atmosphere was non-judgmental and calm, having fun telling jokes, experiencing the creative talent of Africa, and learning what it means to be an authentic leader.

“I gained reassurance of purpose and learned the importance of having a stress-free lifestyle from the sense of relief needed for my heart and mind basking in the peace and beauty of Africa” said Foday Koroma, sophomore, music business and media major.

There were two parts that enhanced these memorable moments into transformative periods. First, “At the Slave Dungeons in Cape Coast, the strength of my ancestors was apparent and fueled me to face life head on and fight adversities,” said Halley.

The second part came from the bond and safe space created together by the cohort which gave them strength to be vulnerable with each other, their most authentic selves free from the mask.

“Everything I hoped to become I became, thanks to this trip, this is not the end of the journey, but it is a landmark,” said Halley.