"Welcome to Atlanta"

Walking the freshly polished floors, I strain my eyes to catch a glimpse of Luda, or maybe Cee-lo or Lil Bow Wow or someone. Atlanta International Airport can’t possibly be this packed and there not be a local celebrity around somewhere. But, sadly, no, it is this packed, and for no good reason at all.

If airports were people then ATL would be the bright-eyed little brother of more experienced and calloused international hubs (I’m lookin at you JFK), and I’m constantly reminded of why I like flying out of its art-filled, twangy-accented, pigeon-free gates. Unlike their JFK counterparts, the people at ATL seem to not hate their very existence or loathe that of those around them, something that warms my soul like a cup of homemade soup. This fact, plus the shimmery floors mentioned earlier, makes these 3 -hour layovers bearable, heck, almost enjoyable. Just add some free Wi-Fi and a mini-fridge and I’d consider taking up residence right here at gate E4. Thankfully the plane arrived, alleviating me of the weighty decision altogether.

And considering where I’m headed, how could I possibly decide not to continue past to gate to my final destination? Ghana has become a sort of second home to me over the past 2 years, welcoming me time and time again with a warm, humid, embrace at each arrival and heart-felt biddings of “safe journey” at each departure. And what makes these visits all the more enjoyable is the knowledge that my efforts are part of a greater movement to help those who so genuinely welcome me and enrich my life. I truly love my work at Empower Playgrounds. I love who I work with. Most of all, I love the children we serve. This summer’s trip will be aimed at better serving them, and working along side 2 great interns, evaluating the impact EPI has had thus far in the lives of our students as well as entire communities. And most exciting of all, selecting 10 new schools that will be given the light of opportunity. By the end of 2012, EPI will be working in 40 schools, bringing light and education to thousands of children. What an impact!

Stay tuned for more updates on my work with EPI, as well as these first few weeks while I work with fellow BYU public Administration students on a project for Biofil, a revolutionary sustainable toilet system.