Brownsville Meets Ghana- Teens All Set For Summer Adventure

Students will take off on a 10-day trip to experience Ghana as a part of Brownsville Abroad. Brianna Robles

By: Brianna Robles

Picture this: You’re in high school and you’re afforded the opportunity to travel across the world alongside some of your closest friends to learn about Ghana.

This is just a glimpse of what 15 students attending Frederick Douglass Academy VII High School in Brownsville will experience this summer when they visit the west African nation on a 10-day trip as a part of Brownsville Abroad, a one-of-a-kind program spearheaded by the high school’s English teacher and travel connoisseur, Bijoun Eric Jordan.

“I became a teacher to expose students and give students opportunities,” Jordan told BK Reader.  “I just like to see what happens when they bump into cool ideas and how it lights them up. Knowing down the line that I get to be the one who helped introduce them to something, that’s something I really get a kick out of.”

Beginning in 2016, the program has sponsored students for trips across the world, including to Spain, South Africa and Hawaii. For many of the students, this program is their first introduction to long-distance travel by airplane.


Brownsville Aborad students at Wallace R. Farrington High School the night of their fiafia celebration in Hawaii last year. Photo: Supplied/Brownsville Abroad.

Ghana has been on the club’s travel bucket list since 2019, Jordan said. It is part of the Beyond the Return campaign, which encourages those of African descent to encounter their origin.

Student Jahlil M., who traces his family lineage back to Ghana, is hoping this experience can help him understand himself better.

He hopes to come back from the trip with a new perspective that he can share with his family, said Jahil, who declined to give his last name.

This trip is more than a vacation for the students, as there is a heavy educational component prior to the trip. The travel club meets every Tuesday throughout the school year to learn more about the history of the country.

Students also went on a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) tour and visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. back in March as part of their preparation, Jordan said.

While in Ghana, they are scheduled to participate in a traditional naming ceremony, which normally occurs eight days after a child is born, and attend a local school to shadow students for a day, amongst other educational activities.

Johanah S., a student who declined to give her last name, said going to Ghana will allow her to learn how people outside of Brooklyn and in the U.S. live and think.

“I feel [traveling] will make me want to share that experience with others. A lot of people like to stay in one mindset. There’s so much more to this than just here. I feel like I would encourage them to expand outside of here [Brooklyn],” she said.

The club hosts annual fundraisers to cover lodging, travel and activity expenses. Students are only required to pay a small fee to help offset any additional costs.

So far, they have garnered over $8,500 on their GoFundMe page and received a $10,000 donation from Birthright AFRICA. They have also hosted an art auction, a paint and sip event, and will participate in a walk-a-thon to raise more money.

You can follow their progress and donate to their initiative here.

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