Hello all! Your Student Leaders of Today are Fran and Andy. When attempting to think about what to write and trying to wrap up our experiences here, we had one quote come to mind, “If you think you’re too small to make an impact, spend a night with a mosquito.” Since both of us are from Team Impact, we decided this quote best explains the past three weeks. We began painting our school this week and the progress has been amazing. We combined classes with P5 and P6 students and asked them to write about themselves. One student said she wanted to be a doctor, because she wanted to help her people and people everywhere. We both feel that we’ve truly made an impact at Dziedzorve in Woe, and we know for certain it has made an impact on us. The other part of our afternoon was spent visiting with our host family from the first week. We discussed our time in Ghana and how the culture has changed us. We feel the best way to describe Anloga is welcoming. Our final two events of the evening were a bonfire on the beach and talent show. Each GLA students gave “shoutouts” to each other and made one other students feel special. The talent show was hosted by your two student leaders and from dancing to singing to remembering Robin Williams, everyone got the chance to show off their talents.
This Friday was our first day in Ho. We took a 2.5 hour drive, and along the way we went to an orphanage and a batik. At the orphanage we played and danced with the children. At the batik we each made our own fabric design. After that we arrived at the beautiful Sky Plus Hotel. The next morning we woke up to a delicious breakfast. We went to the monkey sanctuary, where the monkeys would climb onto us as we fed them a banana. Then we hiked for 45 minutes to the waterfall in Hohoe. We swam in the waterfall and took in the breathtaking view. After that we spent time in the market in which the students were able to purchase souvenirs. The next day we got to try Kente weaving and were able to purchase some handwoven souvenirs. Then we went to a nonprofit micro finance organization. After that we drove back to home base in Anloga and enjoyed a nice dinner.
Absence really makes the heart grow fonder, and coming back to Anloga after two days made us realize how much the home base has become our home away from home and how much we’ve missed both the kids and the environment in this wonderful little town.
– Sam, Jennifer, Priyanka, Liz
Father’s House Ghana
We started the day with a hearty breakfast at 7:00 am. Afterwards, we divided into our mentor groups and left for the service sites. Led by Kate and Laura, Team Epic continued brick making in order to make a new K-G (kindergarten) classroom. We used two bags of cement and totaled around 50 bricks. Additionally, Team Impact, led by Shene started stacking bricks so that the mason could continue the construction of two new buildings. Although tiresome, today’s efforts paid off and a great portion of the new buildings has been made. After two hours of service, GLA participants headed to their classrooms for a new day of teaching fun. The students greeted us with warm smiles and eagerness to learn. After teaching we had lunch and some light rain showers; and the different mentor groups split for the last rotation of activities. Team Epic went to an island in canoes and learned how to weave baskets and visited a local shrine where a high priest talked to us about traditions there. Team Impact visited Father’s House; a local organization working to aid former child slaves. The visit was not only inspiring and heartwarming; but filled with lots of fun games like soccer and “connect four”. Afterward we all came back together for a well deserved meal consisting of the classic rice, eggs, veggies, and pineapple. We then all gathered excitedly to discuss our travel plans for Ho. We leave tomorrow morning bright and early; and we look forward to the adventure that ensues.
-Isabelle and Claire
Reflections & Activities
We have reached the point in our adventure where we have all shown our true colors and feel as if we have known each other for a lot longer than a week. Today we have reached the halfway mark in our trip. We started off the day by waking everyone up to the song “Happy” at 6:30am and had a breakfast of fried eggs and pineapple which was yummy. At 8:00am we split up into our three mentor groups and went off to our service sites for the morning where we made bricks for one hour and then for the second hour taught our classes at the primary schools. Teaching the children can be difficult at times because they are very hyper and there are many distractions, however they are so happy and eager to learn, it makes the hard work worth it. We feel like we have adjusted to the basic layout of the classrooms and the lack of materials that it seems strange to think of normal classrooms back at home. Additionally, we feel as if the students are much more comfortable around us, for instance they all know our names as we do theirs.
We were so excited to come back from our service sites to find that our seamstresses were waiting for us at home base with our chosen fabrics that they had made into beautifully sewn clothes. They also brought with them backpacks of many different colors and patterns which we all swarmed around to get the best ones.
At 2:00pm half the group visited GLA’s other home base in Ghana for the Building Healthy Villages program which was amazing to see their contribution to the community. Here we were struck by the beautiful view as the home base was situated right on the water. After touring the compost latrines which the previous group had built, many of the students went for a swim in the lagoon. There was pizza served which was a real treat as we are all really missing food from home.
The other half of the group visited the Keta Slave Fort which was a very moving experience. Putting ourselves in the shoes of the many slaves who were imprisoned in this fort made it all seem a lot more real. After touring the fort we went to the beach nearby called Emancipation Beach where we could collect our thoughts and reflect on the tragic stories we had just heard. Also the beach was covered with lots of seashells, starfish, sand dollars and crab shells which some people decided to take home with them as souvenirs.
Before we went to bed we did an activity called ‘Crossing the Line’ which was very exposing and intense. However this activity only strengthened our bonds with each other and made us feel that much more connected. Today was a really good day although we all cannot stop snacking on Hobnob biscuits and Digestive biscuits covered in peanut butter and chocolate spread…
Lots of love
-Francesca and Ania (“Miss you mom and dad!”- love Ania)
A Full Day
Today we woke up without the help of our student leaders. Leaders were not chosen the night before, so we chose Alyssa and Caroline to be the leaders of the day. After breakfast, we went off to the work sites to begin brick building. Team Brick Squad made 52 bricks, Team Epic made 47 bricks, and Team Impact shoveled lots of sand. After brick building we went to our classrooms and taught the children. At noon we came home to a lovely lunch. After lunch there was free time and most of the group went to the beach, others stayed back at home base for some well deserved rest. At 2 P.M. we went to the open air market, where we searched and negotiated prices for different foods. After an hour we headed back to home base for some more free time. At 6 P.M. we had dinner. Following dinner we had two guest speakers that gave us more information on Ghana. Lastly, we had a group talk about feminism which was very intense. Now we are off to bed to get some rest for tomorrow!
Fun at Service
Today was our second day of building bricks and teaching kids. We had fun doing our community service, and had a better idea of what we were doing. After that we had lunch, and then a nice two hour break filled with chatting, playing, and napping. Then we spent some time in our separate groups and talked about our experiences in teaching the kids, and did some lesson planning for tomorrow. After that, we went out and chose from a variety of fabrics that we would give to seamstresses and tailors. Most of us are getting pants and shirts to wear and we are so excited for when we finally get to wear them. After that, we watched a documentary called “Girl Rising.” It’s about girls’ education around the world, and although the movie was sad at times, it’s really good and has a positive ending. After we had a campfire where we all hung out, danced, and played for a while, celebrating the birthday of one of our Mentors, Will. After doing so much, we were all tired and ready to go to sleep. I love how close we are all getting, and everyone here gets along well. I think that it is great that we are getting to know eachother so fast, and it makes the experience so much better. -Sophie and Mary
The day started out early with a few GLA students participating in morning yoga at 5:30 on the beach, just one of the amazing group activities offered here at GLA. After breakfast, we all headed to our first day of service at the local schools. As soon as we arrived at our respective service sites, we learned how to make bricks using a mixture of sand, cement, and water. The work was challenging, but being surrounded by our teams and friends made the work go by fast. After finishing nearly 100 bricks between the groups, we divided into our teaching pairs and met our new classes. The students were anxious to learn and excited to meet us. We all loved the kids and we learned a lot about the education system in Ghana. At lunch all the mentor groups reconvened, and after joined some of the locals in a dance session. We learned two modern cultural dances; the Amanda and the Azonto. After breaking a sweat dancing under the hot Ghana sun, students took to the shade to plan the next day’s lessons and prepare for another eventful day at the schools. Today was also a day of reflection and group discussion, including The Power of Privilege and Group Dynamics. We are all excited for the adventures to come and so far loving our time here in Ghana. -Cameron and Caitlin
Wow! It is only day two; however, we have already started forming bonds and relationships with each other and the community that will last a lifetime. Our morning began with learning the language of Ewe, traditional dances of Ghana, and drumming. The girls teaching us the dances can really move! It was inspiring to see and hear about the history of the people. The dances have been passed down through the generations and have become a important aspect of their culture. The food is definitely different from what we’re used to, but just as fulfilling. We visited a high school and met some of the students close to our age. We were asked to discuss issues that we had in our communities and the world. One of the main issues here in Anloga was the lack of education. Each student felt passionate about improving the status of people, for example, poverty and unemployment. It was remarkable to hear how similar how our passions were even though we live so far away. We’re told we begin teaching tomorrow and we feel that all of us are extremely nervous and excited to begin. The feeling of comfort is found here in Anloga, and we know the children will welcome us with open arms, just like the culture has.
After our first night sleeping in Ghana we woke up this morning with a lot of energy for what the day had for us. We had breakfast and headed to the patio for orientation. We played a few games at the home base and then went to explore the village where we got meet the kids, learn about the lifestyle, and see one of the local schools. We came back to the home base and had lunch with some local host families. Later, we went and visited our hosts at their homes, where learned more about the Ghanaian way of life. We finished the night with some delicious dinner from our wonderful cooks. Afterwards we watched a TED talk about how there is always another story, learning that there is never a “single” story. Lastly, we met our “grandfather” who gave us all our Ghanaian names. -Alvaro and Natalie
All students have arrived in country and are ready for an amazing program! Stay tuned for blog updates and photos!