Senior Camille Traslavina Returns To Africa To Help Orphaned Children Senior Camille Traslavina Returns To Africa To Help Orphaned Children
BY JESSICA WEAVER Upon seeing a two year old named Roaw kicking around sand and repetitively saying a sentence out loud, Senior Camille Traslavina... Senior Camille Traslavina Returns To Africa To Help Orphaned Children

Camille Traslavina with students from New Seed International Orphanage. Traslavina traveled to Ghana for the second time this summer to volunteer at the Orphanage. Photos Courtesy Of: CAMILLE TRASLAVINA


Upon seeing a two year old named Roaw kicking around sand and repetitively saying a sentence out loud, Senior Camille Traslavina asked one of the older kids to translate. She was shocked and heartbroken to hear that this little boy was saying “It needs to rain, it needs to rain. The ground is too dry!” Although not a common thing for a young American child to say, this worry comes quite often for the children in Ghana, Africa.

For the second time, Traslavina spent her summer volunteering in Ghana. Last year, she traveled with a program called Global Leadership Adventures, which is designed to allow high school students to volunteer in various regions of the world. During her two-week trip she visited an orphanage called New Seed International where she met the children and the owners.

Traslavina came back from that first trip with the mission to raise awareness and funds for the kids in Ghana. She created a non-profit organization called Orphans of Ghana Outreach (OGO) through which she began to plan a cultural festival. With the help of CCHS’ Key Club, the event included food, music, performances from the Sound of Pride drum line, and even a small soccer tournament in honor of Africa’s most popular sport. Traslavina received over $2,000 of donations, which was mostly spent on the costs of medicine, medical supplies, and doctors. Traslavina personally donated the money when she traveled back to Ghana this past summer.

“The festival was fun for everyone and New Seed was very grateful for the donations, but the greatest accomplishment was getting the word out in our community that there are kids in the world who need our help,” Traslavina said. “Although they may be physically very far away from us, it’s an incredibly easy to get involved and change their lives for the better.”

After a 10-hour flight to Ho, Ghana, Traslavina met up with other volunteers of New Seed International. Originally Traslavina thought she would be working in the school with the children like she had the previous year, however, she was asked to work in the clinic where more assistance was needed. Traslavina’s job included taking patients’ temperatures, blood pressure and weight. Each day, Traslavina would work in the clinic from eight to 1:30 pm and then volunteered in the school at 2:30. At the school, Traslavina worked on teaching the children English.

“I figured English was the most valuable thing I could teach them since they already know math just as well, if not better than I do.” Translavina said.

Traslavina said that she was not only a teacher, but a student as well. The kids taught Traslavina dance moves, songs and games. Some of the older girls even taught Traslavina about the different plants and crops in Ghana, after realizing she knew little about them.

“They always wanted to show me around and teach me about their culture.” Traslavina said, “The learning went both ways.”


Traslavina found her experience to be very enriching and humbling. Her experience made her realize that many of the kids there have to struggle with things that we as Americans take for granted.

“In the U.S., high school kids and even some adults don’t worry about things like rain for survival,” Traslavina said.

By working in the clinic, Traslavina was able to witness the hardship of residents from all around the city. She witnessed children who had been deathly ill for weeks but could not afford medical treatment. Traslavina also saw many women who had just found out they were pregnant. Instead of the joyous reaction Traslavina is accustomed to seeing in America, she saw that most women were nervous and worried about how they were going to afford food for the child.

“People should realize that all the opportunities we have as Americans were given to us by chance,” Traslavina said.

The children Traslavina was with also shared their own hopes and dreams with her. The younger kids asked her about airplanes and expressed their desire to one day ride in one. Many of the older kids told her how hard they work and study to hopefully go to college. As the kids expressed their desires, Traslavina found herself at loss of words. She hoped they would all achieve their dreams but she knew that the odds were against them.

“It was hard for me to tell them anything is possible, because I know in the world we live in today, it’s not.” Traslavina said.

Nonetheless, her experience helped Traslavina realize how blessed she is to have all that she does. Now that she is back in the U.S., Traslavina wants to teach the point of view that Americans should not to take the life they have for granted.

“You come back to the United States and look at everyday things like a highway differently.” Traslavina said, “You also learn to appreciate things like a skyscraper when you realize in other countries people take a lifetime to build their own homes with their own hands.”

Traslavina hopes to go back to the orphanage soon and visit the children she became close with, but as of now, with uncertain college plans, there is nothing set. Until then though, she has ideas of trying to donate laptops to the students of New Seed and possibly sponsoring one of the kids for college.

She wants to carry out this idea with the help of CCHS’s student body. With enough donations and the interest, money can be gathered to help the children of New Seed enhance their education and become connected to a world outside of Ghana. Traslavina hopes that by sharing her experience, she can show others how different, yet alike, we are with the children of Ghana.

“We are all very similar.” Traslavina said, “We have some of the same dreams, same fears, and same hopes.”