Boston Latin Academy graduate, Rubin Brenner volunteers on a building project in Ghana
18-year-old Rubin Brenner from Boston, Massachusetts, had always wanted to do something worthwhile and see some of the world and learn about new cultures. With this in mind, Rubin traveled to the hilly part of the Eastern Region of Ghana to volunteer for one month on the Building Project offered by Projects Abroad.
The Akuapem Hills is a semi-urban region where life for the locals is basic and volunteers are needed to help build more facilities for communities in the area. As a building volunteer, Rubin helped construct new classrooms in an effort to help the children of the community have the opportunity to go to school in a safe learning environment.
Rubin believes that the more volunteers that come to volunteer at this project, the more they can do for the community. “There is a real need to provide the kids with decent classrooms to learn; and I am convinced that Projects Abroad is making some difference in these needy communities by giving the children classrooms that are well-built and safe.”
Every day of the week, he worked with the other volunteers to mix cement and sand to make mortar, dig foundations, lay bricks, plaster and paint depending on the stage of the construction process. During the month Rubin spent at the Building Project, he felt he had a lot of responsibility: “I believe that if no one decides to do it, then it won’t be done.”
“I’ve definitely become a more open person. I’ve improved my ability to deal with touchy situations and to see the brighter side of everything and how to make do with less.” Rubin sincerely believes he has contributed to making a difference in the communities he worked in: “The day we finished building, the classroom was filled with happy kids. Around 40 students were taught in it. I am glad to see kids learning in the building that we put up,” he smiled.
Ghana’s legendary hospitality did not elude Rubin during his stay in The Hills: “I’ve loved it. I didn’t think that two places can be so different. I feel connected living in a new culture. There’s no wrong or right way but an individual’s way of doing things.”
“I can’t go back to my life the same way,” he hinted on the usefulness of this experience to his future. From power outages to water shortage; Rubin’s experience in Ghana has thought him to not be afraid but rather to “adapt and deal with any real situation. I feel like home when I walk around. It’s amazing how much I’ve blended into it. The way and pace of life of the Ghanaian people
- their life is rhythmic, it’s like a song.”
For future volunteers coming to Ghana, Rubin has this piece of advice: “Keep an open mind. Rely on the other volunteers. Trust that everything will be alright. No problem can go unresolved. Don’t be afraid to push your limits.”