Dear Ghana COA 14 Session 4,
Ladies…lovely ladies. You guys are truly one impressive bunch. You totally transformed so many things for us on this last session and we are grateful for that. You came in with so much energy and it only seemed to grow every day, infecting everyone around you from the staff, kids and even random joggers!
You had a wonderful attitude coming into the trip and kept it up even when it was difficult. You faced the challenges head on-the Boti Falls hike for instance, changes in service needs when the nursery group found no-one there on that first day and doing the hike up and down, primary school construction + landscaping, and on top of that always having energy for the park…you guys are legends!
We of course will never forget the random hilarious moments at Home base; furious Jazz, Liz and Dee in the middle of the night telling you all to get to bed; seeing Korte, Godeon, Sarah and many other kids open up so much and discover themselves; rooftop sun bathes and dinners; amazing meals; deep interactions; Nana’s tuck shop; being paranoid during the assassin game; the party bus and who can forget dance parties with everyone-baaa bababa shibaba oooh, oh shi baba!
Henry and his team remember you fondly and thank you for the appreciation you always gave to their efforts as well as the relationships you formed with them. The kids still ask him about you guys by the way.
That should show you how deep of an impact your love, kindness and self-giving nature towards them made. Just like we discussed countless times, they are full of happiness and love, always remember that about them. For those who can, consider how you can keep giving back to this, and many other communities when you can.
Your Group goal when we did OMG (One Meaningful Goal) was:
We will work to start a truthful conversation by breaking single stories and being more appreciative of the life we live through taking our Krobo experience home with us. Our timeline to have done this to the best of our ability and review results/effects is by August 10 2020.
We hope you will work hard every day to accomplish your group goal. We wish you the best in your future endeavors and keep up us updated in all your accomplishments.
From Liz, Dee, Nana-Ama, Henry and Jazz – we love you all!
Go out there and be the change!
Wednesday July 31, 2019
It was a long journey for most of us but we got to Ghana. We were met at the airport by our awesome Local and International Directors. On the drive to Home base we got to see a bit of the land and were excited to be greeted by the rest of the staff. They were so happy to see us and that gave us energy for the evening. The meals have been so good, never mind that most of us haven’t eaten some of the dishes before. Its an adventure!
We went to a bead factory and all had a chance to create our own beads. The owner, a talented Ghanaian man,has been making beads since he was 7 and just came from teaching in the States last week. We also had a chance to get gifts for friends and family.
We met the kids at the park and played with them all afternoon. They are so loving and gave us so many hugs as soon as they saw us. Its just day two and we’re already experiencing so much love out here.
-by Haven and Liz
Thursday August 1, 2019
Today was our third full day in Ghana, and we got the opportunity to be the first leaders of the day. After a filling breakfast of oats, French toast, and many other delicious items, we journeyed to Boti Falls where we hiked to a beautiful water fall and “Umbrella Rock.” After hours of photos and exploring, we stopped to eat lunch prepared by our wonderful kitchen crew. Coming back to home base sweaty and amazed by what we just experienced, we took a much needed rest.
After recharging we headed to the park, which is a daily activity. The kids ran up to us and met us outside home base and we all walked down together. After getting our workout in with the kids at the park, we came home to yet another amazing dinner made by our excellent chefs, this time composed of char grilled chicken and rice. To end our amazing day, we watched a TED Talk entitled “The Dangers of a Single Story,” shared our thoughts and became closer to each other than other. We can’t wait to see what the next 10 days holds for us as a group and as individuals.
Rose and Bella
Saturday August 3, 2019
Today was another incredible day in Krobo! We started the morning with a trip to the market. The GLA team came up with a fun game to enrich the experience; we had to find our way through the market with a list of supplies we had to buy. After, we assisted our kitchen staff in preparing the ingredients and they used these ingredients to create a delicious lunch.
This was a great opportunity to meet people, learn about the culture and the language. When we came home, our GLA staff taught us “hawking” which is how people throughout this part of Africa carry things on their heads. From wooden planks, to buckets filled with water, let’s just say we have a lot of practicing to do.
After we finished lunch we had an open minded discussion on our values. This conversation taught us each so much, as well brought us all closer. We discussed topics from different world views on religion, identity, education and governance to our impact on the world.
To wrap up our day we had the opportunity to watch and participate in a Ghanaian dance performance. It allowed us to immerse ourselves in the festive culture of Krobo. Enjoying the music, the dances and the vibrance definitely had us all up on our feet. It was a really enjoyable day.
-Alexia and Anna
Sunday August 4, 2019
As we woke up after having gotten to sleep in, we immediately heard all of the music and dancing. It gave us all of the energy we need to go to dance and sing at church! At church, we performed 2 Krobo songs: akpal3 s33 ma kpale kpal3 ( a song about Baby Jesus) and david mats3 moo et3si no edoo (A song about King David).
We had so much fun dancing and experiencing cultural emersion through the church. On our way back to home base, we walked through the town and got to see all the kids we play at the park with. When came back to home base, the GLA team had prepared our favorite meal—rice balls and peanut butter soup! While we were at church, the GLA team had a baking competition. Elizabeth, the winner, created a cake that looked like a fish. The cake was beautiful and so tasty!
After lunch, we got some time to relax and get ready for the afternoon. Stella, a batik artist, taught us how to make batik. We each got to choose our own patterns and prints to put on our cloths. After learning how it works and making our own prints, we let them dry. Then Stella dyed our prints in the colors we chose. They turned out to look amazing! Soon after we were ready to walk to the park, but as soon as we got there, there was a big football game going on. We quickly turned around and played in the front yard of home base. There were so many kids with tons of energy so we played their favorite game—the pony game!
After we played with the kids, we ate dinner which was chicken, coconut rice, and fries. It was so good! Our after dinner activity was lesson planning. Tomorrow we start to teaching the kids so we had to prepare lessons for them. We can’t wait to beginning teaching tomorrow!!
Ps. The Dangme alphabet (Krobo language) is a little different from the English alphabet. The 3 is actually a ‘backwards E” pronounced as “Eee” …..so cool!
Monday August 5, 2019
Today was our first official day in the classrooms! We started the day off with a sunrise jog around the town of Krobo, led by mentor Dee (love ya girl). This provided the GLA students with not only a new perspective of morning routines with outdoor showers and goats walking aimlessly around you, but it showed us part of the village that we had never seen before! After a hearty breakfast of delectable mangos and creamy wheat cereal, the group teaching in the Nursery(6 months-kindergarten) left for their walk to the school while the girls teaching Primary(3rd grade-6th grade) scrambled to find their working gloves and goggles.
The group of 8 in Primary started their service with the refurbishment of a community center on the grounds of the school, taking pick axes to bricks and designed a space that served both as a garden and a way to prevent further erosion. A few of our young friends for the park time joined the construction, cheering us on with songs and bright smiles of encouragement. Little did Primary know, nursery had just found out that today was a National Holiday in Ghana, and their school was out of session.
At this point, the nursery girls would join in on the Primary groups fun and sit in on the classes they taught. A small choir even formed, singing and dancing to childhood rhymes that gave an energetic break for the students learning English grammar. After an exhausting but incredibly rewarding morning of physical and mental labor, the GLA group made their way back to Home Base, passing smiling park goers along the way.
New friends joined our park time, playing competitive games of keep away and teaching the GLA group songs and activities previous sessions had taught. Making mugs of hot chocolate seemed to be the theme of our post dinner evening, drinking them as we learned about the rich and elaborate history of Krobo and their ‘hero’s journey’ that has traditions following the culture to their people in today’s world. There was a minor scare of a cockroach found while many of the girls showered, although our group championed the challenged and proved themselves victorious over the crawling specimen.
Our session is so so excited to continue on our service journey, while allowing ourselves to be immersed into the culture of this incredible region. Although many of us joined this program hoping to impact these kids lives, in reality they have impacted ours more than ever and created memories we will hold in our hearts forever.
Here’s to the rest of journey in the incredible Ghana! We will cherish every single moment we have left. We! Love! Ghana!
– by Livy and Haven (and the GLA team)
Wednesday August 7, 2019
This morning we had an early morning with a delicious breakfast. I had my normal piece of bread with the most amazing peanut butter, and then I enjoyed some fresh, local watermelon. Following the breakfast, I gathered my school stuff and we made the long trek to the nursery. Honestly, I was a bit stressed out and nervous to teach my first day in front of 15-20 4-5 year olds, but at the end of the day, as I look back on the day, I feel as thought Rose (the other KG-1 teacher) and I did a great job teaching.
However, I’ve realized I can’t be too sweet and too soft with the children because then they take advantage of that. Oops!! We taught them nouns, verbs, addition, and subtraction. Following our teaching, we made our long walk back up the home base, where we were ecstatic to see the infamous, RedRed. RedRed is a delicious bean soup that pairs well with plain rice. It’s a fan favorite for sure.
After a nice hour and a half long siesta(!) we collaborated with our teaching partners and planned tomorrow’s lesson. Today we did not follow our usual park routine—instead, we were assigned host families (about two or three of us per host) and we got to go to their houses and learn Krobo from them. Anna and I learned how to say all the days of the week and count to ten! We also had a fun time dancing and exchanging songs during the walk to and from Millicent’s house. Fortunately, we still had time to play with our friends at the park and I even received a card from one of them explaining how good of friends we are and how much she will miss me when I leave.
She also tried to give me her favorite bracelet and I almost cried. Many others received adorable drawings from the kids as well, before we unwillingly left the park to indulge in a delicious dinner consisting of fried yam and sweet potato, fried chicken, salad, and the best bananas in the world (which many of us enjoy with peanut butter and the exceptional honey they have here). I am getting used to the feeling of a very full stomach and an insightful conversation after dinner; looking forward to another day of laughter and learning tomorrow! 🙂
Thursday August 8, 2019
By starting our morning with a delicious meal of oats, pancakes, and fresh fruit, we were ready for an action filled day.
After breakfast, both the nursery and primary teachers headed on their way to work! Primary started the day, as always, with Sammy! We experienced the joy of making (and standing in) concrete; then it was off to class. Unlike the primary, nursery started there classwork right away. They had lots of fun playing games like hokey-poke and singing nursery rhymes. From outside both schools, you could hear the laughter and tunes of the students that brought a smile to every face. Our third day of teaching was a success!
After a hardy lunch of peanut butter soup, many of us decide to take a nap and reenergize before park time.
Sadly park time did not last as long as usual due to a rain storm.
But thankfully the rain did not last long as after several group bonding games and a yummy dinner, we were able to end the day with a bonfire. During the bonfire, we heard stories of overly trusting ants and greedy men from our local mentor Henry and danced to Krobo music with all the house members.
Early in the morning, some of us started our day with a 3 mile run throughout the streets of Krobo. When we arrived home we were excited to see an amazing breakfast of chocolate and vanilla pancakes! Later that morning we would be hosting the nursery school, EdMon, over for a fun day! In order to prepare, we made signs and decorated the lawn. Then the primary school teachers left for the primary school one more time to say goodbye to all of their students, while the nursery teachers finished preparing for the kids.
As the first batch of nursery students arrived, everyone played a big game of football. When the second group of students arrived, we divided into groups and began to rotate through a bunch of activities including keep away, songs, obstacle course, relay races, story time, and dance circle. Even though it did not exactly work out as we had hoped, it was so much fun! At the end, we all had a huge dance party! Then the GLA Staff had drinks and fruit cakes ready for all of us! All of the nursery kids loved it! Then we all said our final goodbyes, and the nursery students were off.
After Funday, we had a well deserved siesta time! Then we were off to the park! Even though we were so tired, we had a blast at the park! We sang bazooka bubble gum, peel the banana, and ridin’ that pony! After dinner, we spoke to Veronica, the owner and founder of EdMon. She told us about her incredible story of how she opened the school. She was an inspiration to all of us!
Saturday August 10, 2019
We started our day with a GLA activity that taught us to give total trust to our partners and bonded us even more. This game was followed by a discussion about our goals and how to reach them.
Later in the morning we got back the clothes we ordered from the seamstress and settled the final touch for our Krobo look.
After lunch all enjoyed a well needed movie break ans some of us enjoyed the sun on the rooftop. This pause gave us the energy necessary to experience our last park session. During the evening, Rasheed, an artist working at a traditional market came to us and allowed us to buy a lot of Ghanaian souvenirs.
We finished this day with an amazing dinner from the kitchen staff who prepared the rooftop for this occasion. We were all wearing our brand new outfits and enjoyed this festive dinner all together.
This day was a good way to spend time together and strengthen our relationship as a group as well as creating some beautiful memories!