Saturday July 14, 2018
Our group here in Ghana is almost complete! Almost all of our students have arrived, and we have 3 more who will be joining us tonight: Alexandra Kannellpoulou, Chrysanthi Makrygeorgou, and Kornilia Makrygeorgou.
We can’t wait to meet them, and we’ll be sure to update the blog with a full group photo soon!
Sunday July 15, 2018
All our students have arrived safe and sound to home base in Krobo. After a good rest and big breakfast we’re all excited and eager for what lies ahead while this Sunday morning resonates with the sounds of dancing and drumming all over town!!
Tuesday July 17, 2018
Today we participated in the unique Ghanaian cultural practice of bead making. We took the same bus we rode from the airport to the famous Cedi Bead factory. The ride was bumpy – very much like a roller coaster! The first thing we saw when we entered the bead factory grounds was a scorpion! Our fabulous guide named Mark quickly killed the scorpion and then taught us about the four different types of beads.
We then each made five single glass beads out of recycled bottles. Then we made one sand bead which we designed by layering the colors. While the beads cooked in the 1143 degrees Fahrenheit clay oven, we broke into mentor groups and discussed our goals and impressions of Ghanaian culture – America has a lot to learn! While the rain poured down, we learned about different methods of educating the children in the coming days. Finally, when our beads were done cooling, we polished and shined them until they were glowing! Some people turned them into necklaces and bracelets. We took the bus home and rushed to a late lunch. Then we went to the park per usual and taught the kids to play kickball. It was so nice to see the younger kids and the girls of the village get involved! We walked back up the hill with our parade of kids to the home base for dinner.
After yet another delicious meal, we prepared for our special Krobo ceremonies. Dressed in our bed sheets and covered in paint, we made our way to the dining hall for a traditional Dipo ceremony or for the ladies. This was a right of passage into womanhood. Then we all received our unique Krobo names from the Calabash bowl. We all have bracelets with a blue traditional bead (the color blue symbolizing naming ceremonies) to signify our Krobo names. The overall experience was enlightening and by the end, we all felt welcomed and initiated to the land of Krobo.
Hope and Haley
Wednesday July 18, 2018
Hey GLA Parents!
This is Nya and Rachel here, also known as Djabaki and Kabuki, the dynamic duo. Today, we finally got to meet with the seamstress, much to our anticipation. She taught us about the history of fabrics and traditional Ghanian attire and we jumped right into measurements. Then, we worked on some brick making (which were better at than our first time around) and planned our very first lesson for our classes tomorrow. We are all very excited to teach the children and are hopeful for our days of service to come. After a delicious lunch, we headed to the market to get our fabric, which was overwhelming to say the least. We experienced many sights, sounds, and smells (some not so pleasant), and had an abundance of fabric to choose from.
They were all beautiful and unique and when we returned, we chose the clothing styles we want the seamstress to make for us. We cannot wait to see the outcome and bring them home! Shortly after, we made our daily venture down the street to the park to be greeted by smiling and eager faces. Some of us entertained the younger ones, while the rest of us engaged in our daily game of soccer where we usually do more laughing than playing. “No standing, no talking” has become a commonplace phrase that the competitive soccer boys love to tell us. After a tiresome game, we trekked up the hill for some dinner and then sat through an informative lecture about Krobo history. Now, we are enjoying some much-needed free time which will of course consist of some dancing and game playing. Don’t worry, we will be sound asleep in bed before curfew hits!
Sending all our love from Krobo,
Nya and Rachel
Friday July 20, 2018
Hey GLA Parents!
This is Grace and Chelsi giving you your daily report on the experience of a lifetime. Today, we woke up bright and early for our first day of service at the schools. Some students took the long hike to the nursery where we were met with bright, smiling faces. We split up into each of our classrooms, creche, (the babies), nursery 1 and nursery 2, and kg1 and kg2. Once we split up, we spent the day teaching the children, and mostly trying to get the kids to sit down and listen! Little kids can be exhausting, but we all love working with them nonetheless!
The other group of students walked over to the primary school to teach grades 4, 5, and 6. Those at the primary school started the day with brick-making, which was extremely successful; we made ten new bricks! Then, we went to the classrooms where we were met with three classes of students ready to learn. Since they had just finished their exams for the day, it was understandable that some students were boisterous. However, that did not discourage us, because it allowed us to exercise our leadership skills.
After service we enjoyed a delicious lunch and organized into our mentor groups. We discussed how to express ourselves creatively, what we could do to overcome homesickness, what we were grateful for, and how we felt overall. Next, we relaxed during free-time and mostly caught up on our sleep and played games. Once we had rested ourselves we got to spend time with our host families. They taught us words, phrases, and even songs in krobo languages. After getting to know a little bit more about our host families, and them asking about us, it was time for the park!
We engaged in a wide variety of activities, including soccer and frisbee with the older kids, and hand games and dancing with the younger kids. Some of us even brought paper and pens so the children could draw pictures. Even though the kids walk us back from the park every day for a heart-warming sendoff, this daily ritual always leaves us with tender hearts. After a wonderful dinner prepared by the kitchen staff, we prepared for service the next day, writing lesson plans and gathering materials.
This was such an exciting day, full of more learning experiences and cultural discoveries then we can begin to count. Needless to say, we were more than ready to climb under our mosquito nets for much needed rest!
Sending love and hugs from Krobo,
Grace and Chelsie
Saturday July 21, 2018
Hey GLA Families,
Second day of service was a huge success at both the nursery and the elementary school. We started off by building bricks at the elementary, while at the nursery, two children’s birthdays were celebrated. Exams ended at both schools so the kids were psyched but were still very well behaved for us. After teaching classes at the elementary, we continued to play with the children during their free period.
Following lunch everyone was so excited for Rasheed’s market to come to the house. He brought a large variety of Ghanaian crafts such as paintings, wood carvings, backpacks, purses, and keychains. We spent a long time looking for the perfect presents for our family and friends. There were items for everybody. The majority of the students spent most of their cedis (Ghanaian currency) because there was so much to offer. We all compared our purchases to see all of the different presents chosen. As always, to end the day on a good note, we headed down to the park to greet the children with smiles and laughter. They all love playing hand games, dancing, and competing with each other in our soccer games.
The last activity of the night was the most exciting one yet! All of the students and staff made their way down to the basement for the cultural dance. Four professional dancers, along with drummers came to show us what typical Ghanaian dancing looks like. It was filled with endless energy and happiness, as they pulled a few of the students into the middle to accompany them in their dancing. As a lot of us had hoped, some friends we had made at the park also came and performed a dance they had created. Again, they pulled some of the students up to show us how to dance individually. Overall, the whole day was full of excitement!
To start off the weekend, the entire group, including all of the staff hopped in the buses and made our way to Bodhi Falls. The hour long car ride was full of music and loud singing. When we arrived, we started our tough hike up to umbrella rock where we all took pictures with the beautiful view in the background. During the hike we had to climb up a steep hill with many obstacles like rocks and a river crossing. After returning back to the bottom of the mountain, the group took a short walk down to the huge waterfall where we all enjoyed the breeze and mist. We finished by eating lunch while enjoying watching a couple of children dancing to music being played at the park. All of us were exhausted, but after napping we were ready for the endless amount of energy the children had at the park. We ended the night with a fun game of charades where Team Sergio won!
Savannah and Margot
Sunday July 22, 2018
Hi GLA Parents,
Today was our last day of the weekend and we had a great day! We started off with optional yoga at 7:15 am. We then got into the cars to drive to the Sajuna pool and beach resort. At the resort we played sand volleyball and swam in the pool for hours. We had a packed lunch followed by a boat ride full of dancing through the Volta river. The river was very pretty and we saw a huge suspension bridge and as we went down the river, everyone on the side of the river was waving to us!
We then got back in the cars to go to a local bead market, and crowded into a small shop on the side of the road. There were so many selections and we went all-out buying beads for friends and families. We came back home to walk to the park where we watched our very own mentor, Sergio, playing a soccer match with the local professionals, while we cheered on the side lines!! We came home to have a yummy dinner and write our lesson plans for tomorrow. We are really getting close to all the kids at the park and today we planned a “field day” for them on Tuesday which we can’t wait to tell them all about!
-Love Abigael and Paige
Reporting to you today is Bennani Mamoun aka the only boy on this trip. Today, was a day full of exciting adventures. It started off as a usual service day with both groups going to their respective schools. In the elementary school, since it was the last official day we could make it special, so we played games and sang along with them. Meanwhile at the nursery we fed and played with them before putting them down for a nap before leaving. Then came your typical Ghanaian lunch where we ate rice and a delicious curry sauce. Next, we enjoyed a well-needed block of free time during which some of us napped, while others watched a movie called “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” which I highly recommend to anyone reading this blog.
Shortly after that, we made our daily venture to the park where the children welcomed us with huge smiles like every single day. Every day we engage in our daily soccer game where the older kids at the park come and tear it up with us. After dinner, Monica, the Founder of Edmon (The Nursery) came to speak to us and told us how she handles her life as a mother, as a manager of a bank and as the CEO of a nursery. Even though all these jobs are very time-consuming and stressful she manages to find a way to dedicate time towards her family. She is a true inspiration to all women pursuing the dreams in their lives. Finally came the best part of the day, which was the singing competition! Each group had to choose a song and change the lyrics so that it describes the wonderful experience we have had living together these past two weeks. Congratulations to the winning group: Margot, Maddie, Savannah, Aubra, and Hailey, with their rendition of “Tonight, Tonight”. We have created a wonderful community of friends within this amazing country.