Meeker grad Aubrey Walsh shares her stories from Ghana

MEEKER | Meeker High School 2012 graduate Aubrey Walsh was introduced to the audience at Meeker Public Library by her father Pat Walsh, who thanked the crowd of nearly 60 for coming out to hear a bit about Aubrey’s journey in life since she left for college. He added that he’d like to take the credit for her successes, but in reality, he said, “I had relatively little to do with it. On the other hand, her mother over there (waving in the direction of Aubrey’s mother, Marti, toward the back) weeps of goodness.”
Walsh praised and expressed gratitude for the community financial aid provided to his daughter, and others, after high school that allows them to advance in life in ways they could not have without the support. He acknowledged, too, the support Aubrey’s “church family and other Christian folks” continue to give her.
Aubrey took the microphone saying how wonderfully nice it was to be there, across the street from where she went to elementary school, in her high school hometown, talking with so many old friends and neighbors. And, she added, it was also nice “because I haven’t heard Dad say so many nice things in a long time!”
With that Aubrey embarked on a Powerpoint assisted explanation as to how she left Meeker for the University of Northern Colorado wanting to become a teacher, scored a summer orphanage gig in Peru after her junior year, fell in love with new cultures and teaching, became enamored with Christian mission efforts, and earned her bachelor’s in elementary education with a minor in special education. As we detailed in a Dec. 28 Herald Times article, she found a student teaching job in a suburb of Dublin, Ireland, which she loved, and applied for full level teaching with the Network of International Christian Schools (NICS). An NICS placement director encouraged her to look at an opportunity in the West Africa country of Ghana, one of the last places she thought she’d like to go. She also knew it was one of the last places her parents would want her to go.
She ventured to take the opportunity and soon thereafter found herself at the 12-year-old American International School in Ghana’s capital city, Accra. Aubrey reported that, to her surprise, Accra is a fairly modern, rapidly growing, and very large metropolis—some 1.5 million people. She was asked if there was good ambulance assistance for accidents. Her response was that there are seldom serious accidents because the traffic moves so very, very slowly. She added, however, that there are several very good, modern hospitals in Accra.
Aubrey described how Accra is set on the edge of the rain forest with annual temperatures that don’t fluctuate far from 85 degrees. Cocoa trees with cocoa pods flourish at the edge of town. Ghana, she said, is the world’s second largest cocoa producer and is a significant exporter of oil and gas resources. There are some 250 different languages spoken across neighborhoods in Accra, some traditional tribal, some of immigrants, a lot of broken English. Religiously, she said that Ghana is mostly Christian, with some Muslim and Islam, some tribal religion and some combined practices. She’s hoping for travel into northern Ghana in the near future where typical African wildlife abound.
Her third-grade students are mostly of wealthy parents who typically may be foreign leaders assigned to Ghana for a period of time. Aubrey says she tries to make her students strong critical thinkers, to think for themselves, and not take everything as lock, stock and barrel, the truth. The whole K-12 school has about 150 kids enrolled. Aubrey’s classroom has 16 kids. School in Ghana for all students is very much a privilege and not available to many.
Aubrey further described her mixed-race and mixed-history kids as “experienced” with others and not at all judgmental. They all learn English in order to communicate with each other. Aubrey has also learned that different cultures have different attitudes about learning disabilities. Smart kids can get lost and never have a chance at their potential in some of these cultures.
In addition to her teaching, Aubrey spends time with her own church community through the non-denominational Hope City Church in a suburb of Accra. There she’s part of an effort to reach local kids in need of alternatives—and she described about 40 kids from the general neighborhood who attend the church on their own (without parents) in order to take advantage of the opportunities.
Asked to characterize the people of Ghana, Aubrey responded that generally they are much more concerned about personal relationships with other people than they are in their own personal needs or time, they’re very intentional, she said, and “love soccer,” the only organized sport. To take advantage of her experience as a basketball player and expand student experience, Aubrey has recently begun to organize and coach basketball at her Ghana school. She appreciates the opportunity there to interact with high school aged kids.
On the matter of daily living, Aubrey said the electricity, generated by the Electric Company of Ghana, would typically go off for a day or two without warning and then come back on. She loves the spicy Ghanian food, however. Most of the local meat fare is goat and tilapia.
Walsh’s home church here is the Meeker United Methodist Church, which has provided some of her support. Anyone interested in donating to Walsh’s expenses can send checks payable to Aubrey Walsh, c/o Meeker United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 26, Meeker, which will be deposited into her local bank account for her mission work. Another option is to donate through NICS which will send them a receipt for tax purposes. NICS gets 7 percent of the funds received.
To donate through NICS, visit www.nics.org/donate or www.oasisis.org/donate). Choose donate now; choose frequency of donation; donors interested in a monthly recurring gift should choose “monthly”; for designation, choose “staff support”; a box will pop up that says “staff name or project number”; type in Aubrey Walsh as the Missionary’s Name, project No. 004022; type in the amount to give, along with any comments; complete the billing information; donors can use either a debit/credit card or a checking account, complete the information and select “preview”; review the donation and choose “donate.”

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