Tuesday June 26, 2018
Woezor! This means “welcome” in the local language, Ewe!
Staff were super excited to meet students! After most of our students arrived, we headed over to the Accra mall for lunch before departing for our 3-hour drive to Home Base. Once we arrived at Home Base, students were placed in their rooms and given time to unpack and settle in. Some students were able to partake in an informal game of soccer with new friends! Dinner was delicious. We had salad, spaghetti and fresh mangos. After dinner, we had cake to celebrate Avery’s Birthday!!! After we had some orientation activities and free time. By the end of the day, everyone was ready for bed.
Yensi & Stephen
Wednesday June 27, 2018
Nutifafa – Peace
Today is the first full day the students spent in Ghana. After breakfast students introduced themselves and played a fun game of “screaming knees” to get acquainted with each other’s name. We then engaged in various orientation activities ranging from a tour of our homebase to discussing safety, health & hygiene to team building activities to get to know each other a little more.
Students had the opportunity to have lunch with a member of their host family, whom they will be visiting in their home during their stay in Ghana. They will have the opportunity to see first hand the routines, traditions and ways of life of some of the families in the local community. Today they got to ask questions and get a general idea to prepare for their visits.
After lunch students took to the classroom to learn a little bit of the local language, Ewe. They started by learning the alphabet, which has 30 sounds. Then they moved on to greetings, introductions, time of day, and classroom-related words.
They also got the opportunity to learn about traditional dances and music from a cultural group based in Keta, Ghana. They sang, danced and even got to do a jam session with the musicians!
Finally, after a delicious dinner cooked by our very own Chef Ruben, students participated in a naming ceremony. They were given an Ewe name based on the day they were born by an “old man” who has the gift of clairvoyance. It is traditional for people in this area to be given a special name based on the day they were born, aside from their first and middle name.
Written By: Cristina
Thursday June 28, 2018
We had an extremely fulfilling day today! We started the day by heading to Anloga Anseko Primary School where we learned the procedure of making bricks and we were instructed to sit in specific areas in the classrooms in order to observe the flow of lessons.
We all had a wonderful time while interacting with the children and we couldn’t wipe the smiles off their faces! Albeit the exhaustion from making bricks, we also know that our help is essential for student’s development in the primary school, our tiredness seem to be insignificant and everyone worked hard.
After coming back to Home Base for a delicious lunch, we had free time to play with the group of children that visit the base regularly. Based on the lessons we observed earlier in the day, we spent a little while preparing lessons for tomorrow where we will be teaching the children ourselves! And then we went to our host family’s house to learn more about Ghana’s culture, traditional dances, typical board games and Ghana’s political situation.
Despite the hot weather in Ghana, the conversations between students and the host family went perfectly well. Though we were all tired and ready to go to sleep, we ended the day in a mock stakeholders’ meeting, practicing our leadership, acknowledging different perspective of different stakeholders and delegating skills.
Written By: Rachel and Alex
Friday June 29, 2018
The day began with breakfast: delicious omelets, watermelon and porridge. We then went to school, where we made bricks and taught. At playtime, we played Ghanaian games with the children, as well as intense matches of ping pong! When we returned to Home Base, welcomed by the village children, we ate lunch: fried rice, grilled chicken, and avocado salad. We then split into two groups.
Half of us learned how to make a traditional Ghanaian meal and how to braid hair, while the other half took a canoe to an island village. The “islanders” met a traditionalist priest who was willing to answer all their questions, from “Where do you believe people go when they die?” to “What is your favorite food?”
Our break was a trip to a restaurant, where we received WIFI! (If your child did not text you …. this is awkward.) After a long day of learning about Ghanaian culture, a wonderful dinner was prepared for us: Beef, french fries and pineapple. In the late evening we met with our mentor groups to share something personal: an object that represents our identity. Soon it was time for bed.
Written By: Laura and Meg
Saturday June 30, 2018
Today was the first day we felt confident in our brick making ability. Each person took on a role doing a specific job. Some shoveled cement onto the molds, some carried the molds over and back, and some dumped the molds to make the bricks. This method proved to be quick and efficient.
After the brick making, we broke into our mentor groups and went to either the island tour or to the Father’s House.
At the island tour, everyone kept their phones away. We were infatuated by the island’s plethora of goats, chickens, puppies, and kittens. We didn’t want to be drawn away. We walked over to the shrine, where we spoke with a priest. We asked him about his religious practices and also about his personal life experiences. After we thanked him for taking the time to speak to us, we went over to watch the women weave carpets and baskets. If we wanted, we were given the opportunity to participate, the outcomes were beautiful. Once we were finished there, we took the boat back to land and came back to home base.
At the Father’s House, we started by listening to Emmanuel, one of the older boys that lives in the Father’s House. The Father’s House is a home for children who have been saved from slavery or that have been abandoned. While we were sitting there listening to the boy tell us about how the Father’s House works, a little boy walked up to me and held my hand and then sat on the bench next to me. He was honestly the cutest little boy and I’m holding him in the picture. So, after we finished the tour we had time to play with the kids at the Father’s House. We then went to the beach and played with the kids there. It was a really great experience to spend time with the kids who have had such a rough time. Child slavery is a big deal here in Ghana and everywhere in the world. We need to bring more awareness to these issues especially when it comes to children.
After both the Father’s House and the island tour, Emmanuel, the same boy who spoke to us at the Father’s House came to home base to speak to us about child slavery. We were able to ask him questions and brainstorm ways to figure out how to end child slavery.
Overall today was a really good day for all of us and we are very excited for tomorrow.
Emma D and Jade S
Sunday July 1, 2018
Today we split up into two groups. One group went to the church while the other stayed and washed their clothing. When the church group returned, we walked to the beach where we enjoyed the water, played soccer with the kids, and took many photos. After walking back from the beach, we enjoyed a hot meal and had some time to rest before splitting up again. One group, that has not already been, went to the International Fathers House and played with the kids. The Fathers House is home to rescued children, victims of slavery and abandonment. We got a tour of the house on the beach before we played with the kids. The other group took a cooking lesson from the chef at the home base. Afterwards we met up and ate dinner before meeting with one of the chiefs in the Volta Region. He taught us about the history and culture of Ghana, local region, and the traditions.
Written By: Meaghan and Grace
Monday July 2, 2018
This morning we started our day with fried eggs, bread, and apples. After breakfast, we debriefed, reflecting on our first week in Ghana. At 8:15 we split into our mentor groups to build bricks and plan our lessons for the week. We are getting better at brick building, and most are starting to adjust to the heat.
After a quick lunch of spaghetti and tomato sauce (a huge hit), we visited an open air market to shop for fabrics and other goods such as bracelets and shea butter. Later we took our fabrics to local seamstresses to turn them into bags, dresses, shirts, headbands, and much more. These items will be completed and delivered in about a week.
When we returned we were greeted by a crowd of local children who were eager to talk and play soccer and volleyball. They are starting to get used to us, and we even know many of them by name. For dinner we had chicken stroganoff with mashed potatoes and pineapple. There were also “fish pies” available… tasty to some, but few were eaten. After some downtime, Cristina led a meditation session in the sand. Everyone agreed that they had never felt more relaxed. We are looking forward to Day 2 of teaching, and whatever else tomorrow brings.
Written By: Anna and Carolina
Tuesday July 3, 2018
For our eighth day in Ghana, we had a very action-packed day. We started off our day with our 7am breakfast, then headed to the school where we would begin our community service. This included teaching the primary school and building bricks. We are starting to get faster at building the bricks as we find the best techniques.
Then at 12:00, we headed back to home base to eat lunch as a group. After lunch we had Seyrum, one of our mentors, talk to us about women’s rights in Ghana as well as teach us how to carry things on our heads and wrap a “baby” on our backs. Both of which are extremely common practices here in Ghana.
We then went to the high school nearby to meet the students and play sports with them. It was really fun to talk to kids our age. For dinner we had mac n cheese which was a huge hit. We are getting into a good routine here and can’t wait for the next weeks to come!
Written By: June B and Emma W
Wednesday July 4, 2018
On this beautiful Wednesday afternoon, the gang took a leisurely boat tour along the Volta River. We sat with curious eyes surveying our surroundings as we glided down the river. As we passed a forest of mangrove trees, we saw a plethora of beached boats which served as a rustic backdrop. We stopped at a beach resort and restaurant with a very relaxed tone. As we relaxed we ordered soft drinks made with real cane sugar. We were also given the opportunity to soothe ourselves by swinging in a hammock with the breeze coming through at many different angles which provided a very tranquil time. After we spent our time sippin’ on soft drinks and relaxing on the beach with the tall, swaying palm trees, we headed back towards our buses. Overall the day was very relaxing and much needed after all the hard work the group had put into brick making and lesson planning.
Person 1: “It smells like updog.”
Person 2: “What’s updog?”
Person 1: “Not much, how about you?”
Written By: Dennis & Ben
Thursday July 5, 2018
Today was our last day of service work before our expedition to Ho, so
the group spent half the morning teaching English and ICT, and the
rest mixing, pouring and casting sand bricks for the Anloga Basic
School’s future classrooms. Despite the cat-and-mouse play between
sunshine and overcast clouds, the weather remained hot, which only
made our work that much more rewarding. We paused briefly for a quick
lunch before departing to play an elusive game of hide and seek with
the WiFi hotspots while enjoying our flavored Alvaro drinks.
At three o’clock we departed for the senior high school, where we met with
local students studying general education courses, found out about
their hometowns, their aspirations, and even their favorite cuisine.
After exchanging phone numbers and emails, we left to have a meal of
cooked and glazed chicken, rice, and pineapple before watching a TED
talk on the dangers of telling and perceiving the world through a
single story or viewpoint, and finally prepared for our road trip
tomorrow, where we will visit the Monkey Sanctuary and see the Wli
Written By: Ben M.
Friday July 6, 2018
When we woke up at 6:30, and we had a great breakfast. We were now ready for
our next adventure to ho. When we were about to board the bus, we had
founded out that our bus had been “upgraded”- the seats were modern
and there was AIR CONDITIONING! While we were on the bus, we were able
to see the beautiful mountains and greenery of Ghana. After we arrived
in Ho, we visited the Kekeli Ghana Foundation where we learned about
the history of the foundation, the struggles of students with special
needs in Ghana and the ineffectiveness of government policies that are
meant to protect children.
After we learned about the present situation that the children are
facing in Ghana, we were all starving! We went to a hotel where we had
a plethora of food for lunch. While we were having lunch, we were
astounded that there was a big plate of pizza. IT’S SOMETHING WE HAD
BEEN DREAMING OF SINCE WE ARRIVED IN GHANA. After lunch, we learned
that the place we were having lunch was actually the place where we
will be staying for the next two days! IT’S A GREAT PLACE TO STAY!
Then we went to an NGO where we learnt about their effort to empower
women through sex education and health. In addition, the organization
endeavors to build solar panels in an effort to provide electricity to
their neighborhood. In order to raise money, the organization focuses
on Batiking, a traditional method for making fabric. We were able to
make our own cloths through the method of Batiking.
After a long day, we headed back to the hotel where some of us went
to the pool, some of us watched the world cup and some of us decided
to take a nap. We have a wonderful view and some of us even saw a
rainbow. After this break, we had dinner and ended our day as we
watched an intense World Cup game and had our own evening of board
Written By: Alex & Meg
Saturday July 7, 2018
We woke up to the cold, air-conditioned rooms of the hotel. There was a buffet of foods for breakfast like sausage, rice, salad, fruit, omelet, scrambled eggs, and pastries.
We took an hour and a half drive to the monkey sanctuary. At first, most were hesitant to approach, especially since the younger monkeys aggressively snatched people’s bananas and ran away. Soon we became accustomed to the monkeys. The alpha monkey of the group perched on several people’s shoulders and civilly ate the banana out of their hands.
We had lunch at a place called Fortune Restaurant. Our dreams came true again as everyone had their own personal pizzas. An extremely bumpy ride on a dirt road took us to the visitor center of the Wli Waterfall. 30 minutes and 9 bridges later, we arrived at the beautiful waterfall. There were strong winds and a constant mist provided by the waterfall, and we could see many bats flying around the cliffs. Some braved the strong winds and swam in the waters.
We hiked back to the visitor center and perused the craft market. The vendors sold jewelry, backpacks, paintings, and wooden carvings of small animals and…umm…things that would make your grandma blush (you can ask your kid later).
After dinner and some downtime spent hanging out and watching the World Cup, we played charades, acting out the most memorable moments of the trip thus far. The winning team could go first for breakfast. We are reluctant to leave the scenic views of Ho and the wonderful air-conditioning of the hotel and bus, but we are excited to see the kids back at home base and play with them once again.
Written By: Carolina and Meaghan
Sunday July 8, 2018
We started the day by learning the art of Kente Weaving from a Master Weaver. When we returned to the hotel, we were greeted by our Local Director, Stephen’s, family (including his new-born son, Kingdom!). We had a delicious and filling lunch of hamburgers and fruit, and then headed back to Anloga. The students reunited with all their favorite local children, and had some free time to rest, lesson plan, and receive the clothes and bags they had previously ordered and been fitted for by Ghanaian seamstresses. After dinner, we watched the first half of the multi Oscar Award-winning movie, “12 years A Slave,” in order to prepare us for our visit to the Keta Slave Fort in two days. By that time, it was time for bed, and after a long day of travel, the students were grateful for the rest.
Written By: Laura and Rachel
Monday July 9, 2018
Today we started our day by eating omelets and oranges and then by making the bricks and teaching until lunch as usual. We had red red, rice and mangos for lunch. Then in the afternoon we went to Meet Me There, another GLA base in the area of Anloga, where we went swimming and canoeing in the lagoon and relaxed in hammocks. When we returned to our home base, we were greeted by a bunch of local children whom we played with until dinner at six. For dinner we had fried rice, chicken, and watermelon. After dinner, we ended our day by finishing the movie, 12 Years a Slave.
Written By: Grace & Anna
Tuesday July 10, 2018
Today, brick making was an entirely new experience. We brought the speaker and played music and jammed the entire time. We worked faster than we have in the past and everyone was involved throughout the entirety of our time there. We even finished twenty minutes early. It was almost therapeutic.
After brick making/lesson prep, we headed to the Keta Slave Fort and had a very emotional and eye-opening tour led by a passionate guide. Here, we were able to understand the living conditions and treatment of slaves in a whole new way.
I would also like to add that this was partly written by June, so hi mom and dad. : )
Written By: Jade & June
Wednesday July 11, 2018
We started our day with community service, brick-making, and teaching. We have two more days of brick making and tomorrow is our last day with the students, which will be so sad because we all have bonded soooo much with our students. After lunch we had nap time for 45 minutes for the first time since we’ve been here. We all enjoyed it very much. After nap time, we could continue sleeping, play with the neighborhood children, or do our own activities.
At 3:00 we went to visit two of the chiefs from the Volta region to learn about their role in maintaining culture, tradition, and spirituality. We went back to home base for dinner and then had the local director from the other 21 day program, Dodzi, come talk to us about education in Ghana and tell us his story. All in all, it was another great day for GLA!!
Written by: Emma W and Emma D
Thursday July 12, 2018
On this hot day, we spent our last day teaching, setting up our curriculum, playing with the children, and saying our goodbyes. We started off the day with a nice filling breakfast. At 8am we left to go do community service at the local school. After spending around 3.5 hours teaching and brick building we came back. At 1:30pm we split into our mentor groups to do Johari’s windows, (an activity where students give each other feedback about specific characteristics). Then at 3pm we went to the dining hall to learn the Azonto dance. It’s a very common dance across Ghana and are the latest dance moves in Ghana. Some of the children that looked to be very young could dance to the music and were even much better than any of us. After this we had some free time to just relax after a long day in the sun. After dinner some of the students played big wind blows to have some fun.
Written By: Dennis and Ben
Friday July 13, 2018
Today was our last day at the school. We made bricks while the other group made posters to thank the students and teachers for welcoming us into their community and their lives. We switched so everyone got a chance to both make bricks and posters. Frank, the foreman, had us write our names on the bricks for the last day which was cool; it was a lot of fun today. We all worked hard and finished strong.
After we finished making the bricks and posters, we presented the posters to our classes and said our goodbyes. They asked us when we were going to be back and that was the breaking point. That’s the moment I realized I was really going to miss being here. We brought ice cream to every student and they sang a song saying “thank you” in both English and Ewe. It was an experience filled with gratitude from both parties. It was beautiful. We said our final goodbyes and the children followed us out. They were hanging on our arms and legs and yelling. We had to peel ourselves away, and then we came back to home base.
We also went to see our host families today. We finished there, came back to home base, and played a game of mafia. All in all, it wasn’t a super busy day, it was a nice way to begin wrapping up our time here.
Written By: Jade S and Lana C
Although today is the third to last day, we have had a wonderful and fulfilling day. Moreover, it’s Stephen’s birthday! We started the day with a scavenger hunt at the local market. We had to search and ask for different types of foods such as sugar cane and kpakposhitor (pepper) in order to complete our mission. In the end, we all accomplished our mission and we all had a blast. After the scavenger hunt, we shopped in the market for the final souvenirs for our relatives, friends and loved ones.
At noon, two Peace Corps volunteers joined us for lunch and came to do a presentation about their experience in Ghana and the Peace Corps as a whole. We followed that up by going on a tour of the Keta lighthouse and a former GLA service site. The lighthouses is one of the oldest in Ghana and was built by the Danish in 1802. We were able to go all the way to the top. It was so tall, but we climbed to the top eventually. At the GLA site we got to see a school that was GLA helped to build in 2013. They turned a piece of empty land into buildings for the school. We even ran into the other group of GLA students in Ghana and got to catch up with them.
After the service site tour, we had a free time, some of us decided to do laundry, some of us decided to play with kids visiting us and some of us decided to take a nap after a tiring journey. After dinner, we went to the beach for a bonfire and did shoutouts to those who helped make our trip special. It was so touching and moving, everyone shared their appreciation for their friends, staff and local children. We even poured juice on Stephen’s head! OH MY GOSH! Finally, we returned to home base and we hibernated after a long and fulfilling journey.
Written By: Alex & Avery
Sunday July 15, 2018
Our final day in Ghana was full of laughter and smiles. We began the day with crepes and pineapple, followed by free time. Students were able to do laundry, pack, and prep for the evening’s notorious talent show. After a delicious lunch of mac n cheese, we headed off to Father’s House International where we received WiFi and watched the World Cup with Ghanaian children. When we returned to home base, we were greeted by a teen drumming and dance group, as well as the local children we had been playing with throughout the trip. The drumming and dance group performed for us, an exciting and engaging experience that created contagious smiles.
We then returned the favor, not exactly adequately, by putting on a “talent” show. Later the Ghanaian group initiated a final dance, inviting us all to dance with them. It was a blast. Smiles were turned to frowns when we had to say goodbye to the community children, many of whom had become like family to us. We were then called to dinner. To our surprise, the dining room was decorated with red, white and blue balloons and streamers. The local staff presented us all with beautiful Ghanaian kente weaver sashes. Each one was handmade with our names on it. Our last night was very touching, to say the least.
Written By: Laura C.