HHS graduate serves the Peace Corps in Ghana
May was a busy month for Hudson resident Carol Hardin when she traveled to Ghana with fellow Wisconsinite Lauri Dobbe. Their odyssey, three weeks long, was planned by their children Caroline Hardin and Grant Dobbe, who are both Peace Corps volunteers in Ghana.
"We called ourselves the sweat sisters," said Hardin, whose daughter is in her third year as a computer science teacher in Ghana. "The heat is hot, hot -- ceiling fans are used for cooling and the air conditioning is only common in the capital city of Accra."
Ghana, is located in West Africa. It is bordered by Cote d Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo and the Gulf of Guinea. It is slightly smaller than the state of Oregon, with 92,098 square miles and the population is 24 million. Formerly known as the Gold Coast it is the home of Lake Volta, the world's largest artificial lake. The official language is English, however, nearly 50 tribal languages are also spoken.
"The guide books said nobody loves Ghana," said Hardin, who admits, it is very, very third world. "The people are wonderful. They were very gracious, nice and hospitable."
Hardin and Dobbe had the chance to visit a wide area of the country from the dramatic coast to the arid north.
"Everybody is an entrepreneur in that there is not industry per se," said Hardin, who had the chance to visit both school sites where Caroline taught. "What the kids go through to go to school is amazing. It is a huge sacrifice for their families."
Hardin witnessed the respect garnered by her daughter, from attending a funeral to visiting classrooms. Caroline's first two years were spent teaching computers at a residential school in the north.
"Students and staff grow all their own food," said Hardin. "They had no running water and sporadic electricity, but they so treasure that education, it's amazing."
In Caroline's third and final year in Ghana, she moved southward to a Mompong Teacher Training College, where she taught 222 adult males student computer skills.
"It was quite an honor to travel with her, to be her mother, everyone was so happy to meet me and talk about Caroline and share their lives," said Hardin. "I got to do things that no one else (a regular tourist) would get to do."
From dressmakers creating clothing out of the exotic colored cloth to selecting unique beads at the bead market, Hardin's whirlwind three weeks took her through her daughter's adopted land and sent her home with photos and memories for a lifetime.
Caroline is due to return to the United States on Sept. 3.