THE TEAM
AMERICAN TRAVELERS, AFRICAN FRIENDS...

Kirstin Green

KIRSTIN GREEN
project leader, head chaperone

That's me on the right. I started my love affair with Ghana in the Peace Corps (2002-2004). I immediately felt a profound connection with the culture and people of Ghana and West Africa in general. During my service I became very close with a family in Northern Ghana who live a peaceful farming life while managing to be progressive and intellectual at the same time. It is through this relationship that I continue to organize trips to Ghana whenever possible.

I work as a professional mosaic artist stateside, but my other love in life is travel and small scale development work, especially in our small pocket of Ghana. Bringing groups of students to Africa to work and stay is a great pleasure for me. I love seeing the country for the first time through their eyes, it helps to keep my appreciation for the culture fresh and new. This will be the 4th group of students I have taken to Ghana.

Projects I have undertaken in Ghana:

  • Tema Mosaic: Public art piece by and for the people of Tema in partnership with the San Diego-Tema Sister City Society
  • PEAL DENG: Community Based Organization in Tongo area (through which we continue to conduct our service programs)
  • Shea butter co-op
  • Rotary project: borehole (water source) & the dredging of several ponds to create dry season reservoirs for livestock and farming
  • Construction of 16 seat public toilet
  • ART AID: Multi school conference & exhibition to explore ways to use visual & performing arts to communicate poignant messages about HIV/AIDS
  • Health Education Program: Multi school health education program/competitions

RYAN ALLMANDINGER
chaperone & travel support

With Kirstin, this will be the third group of students for whom I have been chaperone to Ghana. As a chaperone I always have a fantastic time. Traveling, working, and leading a group through Ghana is a task met with plenty of challenges. For me, as a guide, overcoming these challenges is a part of what makes the trip rewarding and memorable. Trusting that these challenges are properly handled is what allows the rest of the group to have a good time.

I am an International Business graduate of Cal Poly State University – San Luis Obispo, have worked at length in India & Thailand, and have operated as an outdoor guide in both the Unites States and overseas.

Tamara OrrasTAMARA ORRAS
fundraising support and chaperone

I met Kirstin a little while ago and I was so inspired by her love for Ghana that I jumped at the chance to be a part of the fun. I’ll be empowering the kids and inspiring the community with the goal of raising enough money to provide Tongo with a computer lab, furniture for the school and to reduce some of the group's travel expenses.

My work history includes a background in marketing, public relations and sales. In July of 2009 I had an ah-ha moment, and felt drawn to Africa, so in December of 2009 I quit my job so that I could travel the world and make a difference with other people. This summer I get to fulfil on that commitment by being a chaperone for these wonderful kids. I’m so excited! I can’t wait!



ANGIE HALL
chaperone and documentarian

My name is Angie Hall and Kirstin and I teach together. When my students and I heard about this trip and the opportunity to travel, reach out, experience and create, we immediately jumped on board. My passions in life include learning, art and creativity, adventure, travel and most of all, teaching! I want to take this trip to not only serve as a leader for my students, but to help them further realize their own passions. The students are organizing service projects that include documentary filmmaking, setting up computer labs, sports and fitness clinics, coaching and teaching workshops and furniture building.

I grew up and attended college in rural eastern Washington. After living in nearly every corner of the United States, I made San Diego my home in 2004.  I currently teach Filmmaking and Broadcast Journalism to high school students, but my prior professional experiences include television news producer, professional beach volleyball player, collegiate coach and regional director for a children’s fitness company. We have an incredible team of leaders and students and look forward to sharing our “once in a lifetime” experiences with all of you!

ABBREY KPADRANG
logistics & everything in between

This is Kirstin and Ryan's very good friend Abbrey.

He's the one who picks us up from the airport, helps with logistics, drives the van, fetches medicine when someone gets sick. He has been working closely with our groups for years. You couldn't hope for a cooler, more reliable guy than Abbrey.

When not helping with volunteer groups, Abbrey works as a driver for local government officials in the Tongo area.

DANIEL BANGREY
host & brother to all

Here is Daniel, the patriarch of the family Kirstin is so
indebted to for all the love, support and friendship over the years.

As far as we are concerned, everything about our visit to Northern Ghana begins with Daniel's approval and guidance. We owe so much to him for allowing us to visit and stay with his family. In fact, he treats all his visitors as if they were long lost family, and it is this attention and care that makes our situation in Ghana such a special one. Thanks for everything, Daniel!

ANNOENI "EMMANUEL" TIZEE
project coordinator/volunteer advisor

Meet Emmannuel. A native of the Tongo area, Emmanuel has risen up through difficult times to become a respected community leader, teacher and pastor at a relatively young age.

Emmannuel is responsible for creating volunteer situations for each traveler based on individual strengths and skills. He sets things up so that the students and other volunteers can get started on the projects of their choice on arrival. He also advises us along the way and ensures that everything goes as smoothly as possible, and that cultural sensitivities are addressed.

We wouldn't be able to do our projects without him.

HOWA BANGREY
hostess & chef

Enter Howa, who happens to be Daniel's wife. She also happens to be an amazing chef and hostess, and it is her food we'll be eating every evening as a 'family'.

In addition to her hostess duties, Howa also runs a full household of children, relatives and other folks somehow attached to the property or the family. She is a strong woman of many talents.

THOMPSON YIN
community liaison & fire chief of Tongo

Thompson Yin is a smart, diverse, and interesting guy. He is trained not only in fire fighting skills but also in rescue and first aid. He is tapped into the the pulse of the community and the local government, and is a respected figure there.

In addition to being our friend, he is one of our logistical advisors as well as a liaison to members of the community. In order to be able to do meaningful, sustainable development work, one must be ready to listen to the needs of the people. Like Emmanuel, Thompson is one of the avenues in which we are able to best assess the wants and requirements of the people.

ISA GUADALUPE MEDINA
student volunteer

I was born in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico and I am 16 years of age. I go to Coronado High School and plan on going to a Fashion School. My hobbies involve sewing, fashion design, and being an intern for Fiveloaves Twofish boutique. My favorite books are Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay and my favorite movie is Devil Wears Prada. “Hold your own, know your name, and go your own way” by Jason Mraz is a quote that I love from a song, which means to be confident and be yourself. Designer Carolina Herrera has been of great influence of what I want to be. I became interested in the fashion industry after reading and making a project about her because she is a woman who worked really hard to fulfill her longtime dream.
I want to be part of this life changing experience. Going to Ghana will give me an opportunity to both help people in need and learn about a very different culture from my own. My goals are to help by being a volunteer, to teach painting to children and accomplish my dream of visiting the country of Africa.
Support us in going to Ghana because our mission is to help children in need of a better education and we can’t do this all by ourselves. We need your support.  Thank you.

LUKE McCUE
student volunteer

Hi, I’m Luke McCue, and I’m a 16 year old junior at Coronado High School. I have a true passion for traveling. I’d consider myself an experienced traveler, having lived in the United Kingdom for three years. For fun I like to play tennis, go to the beach and hangout with my friends. In the community where I live in I am actively involved in service projects through both my school and town.  My favorite quote is “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined”, by Henry David Thoreau. This quote correlates with my view on life because I feel that in order to accomplish your dreams you as an individual have to take the first step. Going to Africa has always been a dream of mine and now I am finally able to accomplish this goal. I know that experiencing a country such as Ghana will be an amazing, life changing event that I will never forget. The best part about this trip is that I will be able to give back to the world in my own way. I’m looking forward to establishing a functioning computer center in the town of Tongo, and also build furniture in the elementary schools. Other projects I look forward to being a part of are painting murals at the different schools, interacting with the orphans, and teaching them how to read English. By donating to our cause you can join us in making a difference in the lives of hundreds of deserving people. Please help me help the people of Ghana!

 

MELISSA WOOD
student volunteer

My name is Melissa Wood. I’m 16 and go to Coronado High School. Going to Africa has always been a huge dream of mine. I would have never imagined that this would be possible, but when I heard about this trip from Kirstin, I saw how it was such a great opportunity, and I just knew I had to go.  Some of my main goals for the trip are to not only help set up furniture and computers in the schools but also to interact with the kids by teaching them how to use the computers, reading to them, and just getting to know them to learn about their culture. My main project that I wish to take on is painting a mural while also hoping to share my art skills with kids and teaching them how to paint. The thought about being able to help someone else makes me happy and I’m very excited to be going on this trip.  
Someone who inspires me most in my life is my mom, because she has always been one to work hard to try to pursue her dreams. I admire her so much, and hope to become very much like her. One of my favorite quotes would probably have to be   "Everything happens for a reason”. This quote is something that you can apply to so many things that happen in your life, and I find it to be very true and maybe the idea of me going to Africa might just be happening for a very great reason that I have yet to find out. Some of my hobbies involve sewing, making mosaics, running, and doing yoga.
Now that you know a little bit about me, here is my chance to ask all of you if you could please support us and make a donation. No matter how big or small, any contribution would be greatly appreciated. This trip would not be possible without your help. Thanks for your consideration.

NICOLE BEHAR
student volunteer

Hi, I'm Nicole and I'm 17. I live in San Diego and attend Coronado School of the Arts in the Digital Media strand. I love anything that has to do with art and music. For fun I enjoy painting, going to concerts and traveling. It has always been a huge dream of mine to help people in Africa in some sort of way throughout my life. My dream has now become possible thanks to this amazing group of people I will be going to Ghana with. During my great experience, I hope to teach the kids in Africa how to paint murals, and help set up a computer lab. I'm counting down the days until we leave, and I am sure this is going to be one of the greatest adventures in my life. I hope to come back a new person, with lots of friendly Ghanaian people and memories I will keep in my heart forever.

SIMONE VILLAMICHEL BOREL
student volunteer

Hey,  my name is Simonne Villamichel Borel and I'm a 17 year old girl. I live in San Diego and attend Coronado High School. I have a passion for filmmaking, and have been studying film for 3 years. I think that the skills that I have been acquiring at school can really be applied in this trip to Africa.  I can use my passions to make a difference in the world. This is what I plan on doing for the rest of my life:  I plan on being a documentarian, traveling around the world helping as many people as I can. I love art, and creative people inspire me. I look up to my parents, especially my mom.

To me, this trip is fulfilling a dream, and I am going into it with a open mind and heart, ready to experience, learn, and hopefully make a difference in someone's life. I think people should support/fund this trip because not only does it benefit the people in Ghana, but also gives a few students the opportunity of a life time.
"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."-William James"

 


MAYA BARBA
student volunteer

My name is Maya Barba and I'm a 17 year old girl from San Diego, California. I study filmmaking at Coronado High School.  I want to take this trip because I feel like it will give me a totally different experience in life than what I have here in southern California.   I want so badly to experience a total immersion in a culture and country completely unlike what I am used to. In addition, the opportunity to do volunteer work that actually makes a difference is something I really want to do. 

I want to make a documentary about the trip, but more specifically about a cause and something meaningful. In terms of my inspiration, I know it is incredibly cliche but my mom is my inspiration. She is a world-class journalist and has made incredible documentaries. She traveled all over Europe and Asia when she was in her twenties, and I feel like her job and experiences are truly inspiring.  When I am older I want to incorporate my love of writing, traveling, and turn it into a career related to advocating for human rights. 

I hope people will show support and contribute to this trip because the cause they are funding is not only assisting charities and causes in Ghana but is also giving a few passionate students the experience of a lifetime. We are going to make an amazing documentary there, and contribute to building a computer lab. In addition we will help maintain and rebuild the schools and add to the students education.