As Ben Eveslage exited the plane, excitement and anxiousness filled him as he anticipated living with the children of Ghana for the first time in a year.
Ben Eveslage, who graduated in 2009 from Seaholm, chose a different path than most do after high school. After graduation, Eveslage made the decision to travel to Ghana, Africa, as he did the previous summer for his organization, Volunteer Africa. Although this trip was more permanent than he expected.
No memory could be more vivid for him than all the smiling faces he saw when he arrived. Their warm and welcoming hearts is one of the many reasons Ben is still living and volunteering in Ghana.
He arrived on June 19, 2009 and was planning on coming back to America in August to start college. After a few months of living there, and setting up Volunteer Africa’s charitable projects in Nkwantakese, plans changed as he realized his journey to Ghana was far from over. He decided to postpone his stay until the middle March 2010.
Every day life for Ben starts at seven in the morning to organize the lunch for the elementary school in the village.
“Sometimes I need to go into the market and buy the food items needed for the students’ lunch,” said Eveslage.
Before graduating in 2009, Eveslage took on the role of creating and leading Volunteer Africa, an organization in which students from Seaholm took time out of their summer vacations to help children in this country.
When he comes home in March he will help the members of Volunteer Africa regroup the organization’s efforts and take on more fund raising.
Junior Will Schmidt, is a member of Volunteer Africa, and speaks with Ben quite often.
“We talk about every week,” said Schmidt, “and I have considered living in Ghana for a while before college since I’ve been talking to him a lot.”
Christina Fontanessi, a junior at Seaholm is also a member of this group. Along with Schmidt, she will be traveling to Ghana this summer.
While living in Nkwantakese he and other volunteers have come up with ideas on how to affect these children’s lives in a positive way and give them the necessities they long for.
“Some of these projects include a lunch program, which provides about 120 meals per day for the elementary level students in the community,” said Eveslage.
Eveslage’s plan for helping these children in need does not stop at providing meals for those who do not have the money to eat.
“We were planning on building a volunteer house for future volunteer trips but our construction plans are being postponed until further notice,” said Eveslage.
“However, I did help renovate a house to accommodate local orphans,” said Eveslage.
Ben spends most of his time in Nkwantakese in Ghana’s Ashanti Region, but he also finds himself in Kumasi and Accra, which are Ghana’s largest cities.
“When in Nkwantakese, I live in a house with 6 children,” said Eveslage, “Along with three more community houses that accommodate children and volunteers that work with me.”
Although there are many safety concerns that Eveslage faces each day, such as Malaria, rashes, and unsafe drinking water.
“The key is to be careful,” said Eveslage. “I am constantly watching the things I eat and I take Malaria medication while using bug spray regularly.”
Step by step, Eveslage is continuing to make Ghana a better place for the children living there; ensuring a better future and providing them with skills to help future generations.