Everybody has arrived safely at homebase! We’ve just enjoyed a traditional Ghanaian meal of jollof rice and are getting ready for bed after a long journey.
After over a day spent in airports and on airplanes we finally arrived in Accra at eight o’clock pm and underwent the ordeal of filling out landing-cards and finding our bags. We met Kendall, our international director, and Henry, the local director, at the doors of the airport. During the ensuing three hours we drove past the tallest building in Ghana and caught our first glimpse of the local culture. Upon arrival at Emmanuel Lodge in Krobo we were welcomed with a rice-based, Ghanaian dish that Henry’s wife, Charity, had prepared for us. We were introduced to our drinking water, which arrives in small plastic bags, and shown to our room. Exhausted from our long journey we quickly fell asleep to the sounds of crickets, chickens, and drums.
We started the morning with a luke-warm shower and another one of Charity’s delicious meals consisting of Tom-tom (a grain-based porridge), omelets, and sweet oranges which we quickly devoured. Then we had a chance to become familiar with our surroundings, tour the house, and go over some of the rules and plans for the following two weeks. After a few icebreakers and a journaling experience we received some down-time to nap, read, play cards, or just chat. Our plans to visit the neighboring girls secondary school was delayed by the funeral of one of the teachers who had passed away. The funeral consisted of a two-day celebration of the man’s life and the loud procession of singing and dancing passed through the school and continued down into the community hall. Charity produced another excellent lunch of Ghanaian rice and vegetables after which we took pictures on the roof, which has an amazing view. We could even see the Volta Lake.
Following lunch Henry led us through the main village to tour some of the old classrooms as well as the newer areas where we would be teaching. Henry also pointed out the site where the library will be built with the bricks that we make on Monday. Passing through the dirt roads we were greeted with great enthusiasm by the children and saw hundreds of baby chicks and goats wandering through the streets. Henry introduced us to some of our host families and the director of the orphanage before we walked back up the road to Krobo girls’ school. In Ghana primary school is provided by the government and goes through sixth grade, however secondary school must be paid for by the family. We walked through the campus of the boarding school to speak with the local director, however due to the funeral she was not present and we returned to home-base shortly thereafter. After another excellent dinner we had a chance to taste some Ghanaian peanut-butter, learn some local games, and make yarn bracelets before heading to bed.
Today we had a breakfast of porridge and the most amazing fresh pineapples. After a shower and a little down time we headed back to Accura at 10 am to exchange our money, tour the mall, and watch a story-telling based on the popular Ghanaian children’s stories Ananse. After a long drive to the city we were all relieved to spend some time in the air conditioned mall and had our first opportunity to look in the mirror since arrival. After exchanging our cash at 4.13 cedis to the dollar we bought a salad and some French-fries in the food court. After some window-shopping we went upstairs to the cinema where the story-telling would occur. Ananse stories star a crafty spider who undergoes a variety of adventures which teach moral lessons through his success of failure. These stories have been passed orally through centuries, and for he first time an animator, poet, artist, musician, and storyteller gathered together to tell the stories of Ananse. The event had sparked great excitement in the general public and even attracted media attention. We were even interviewed by the camera crew on scene! The show itself contained beautifully designed cut-outs of Ananse characters, sing-alongs in the local language, video shorts of different Ananse adventures, and Henry did a story-telling.
After the show we took a picture with the cast and then made our way down to tiGO for a half-hour of internet access. On the ride home we purchased plantain chips and Ghanaian donuts from vendors walking up and down through the traffic before returning home to a dinner of fresh papayas and avocado, rice, vegetables, and chicken (although Casey, being vegetarian, had eggs instead). After chatting for a little while we headed to bed to get some rest for the two weeks ahead of us.
This morning Henry showed us how to prepare Gari, a potato-like plant crushed and dried into small grains that can be used to make cereal or dumplings. After breakfast we constructed the lesson plans for tomorrow’s class where we will be teaching English to the fifth and sixth grades. We spent the rest of our time before lunch with Ludo rematch, one of the local games, and a brief game of catch in the front yard. We had grilled plantains, rice, watermelon, and a bean sauce for lunch. After a thirty minute break we will head down to the park to play with some of the children and then visit the Krobo girls’ school. This evening we will undergo a Krobo naming ceremony and receive our Krobo names in the local language.
Today we started with going to the nursery to play with the babies, they were super cute and there were so many of them; we really had our hands full! After we got home we ate some lunch and got ready to go to the market. At the market we all bought various fabrics to make dresses, skirts, pants, rompers, and etc. Kate and I also got fabric to share for gifts. When we were done picking out our fabric we gathered beads, bracelets and necklaces. On the way home Papa Henry bought us strawberry ice cream! Today was a lot of fun and we can’t wait to play with all the babies again.
– Paige (Ayeki)
(To Pam, Richie, Michelle, and Emma’s British mom)
Waking up early to the roosters crowing definitely proved to be worth it on Wednesday morning when the four of us, accompanied by Papa Henry, took a trail down to town to play with babies at a nursery. So many babies… so much energy… not a sufficient amount of space to fit so many energetic toddlers. After teaching, singing, dancing, and eating with the children, we returned back to the home base to eat a great lunch made by Charity, aka the cutest person in the entire world (she made and decorated two fruit baskets for us). After lunch, we went to the busy marketplace to buy Ghanaian fabric and beads, and also look around at the randomly weird food that is normal to people that live in Ghana. Later in the day, the seamstress came to our home base and took our measurements to turn our new fabric into clothing.
On Friday we did service work in the morning, we finished making the bricks and taught in the school like we do every morning. Making the bricks require a lot of physical work and it’s very hot in the morning sun. It takes a lot of time and with only a small group it is very taxing but a very rewarding process. We made 8 bricks that day so in total now we have made 22.5 bricks in all. In the classroom it was also a student work day so the kids were already tired before even starting the school day so they were not in the mood to learn. We made the most of it and were able to get stuff done even though everyone was tired and hungry. After lunch we went to Krobo girls which are all girl boarding school. We got a tour of the dorms and hung out with the older girls and got to know them. We went to the park then to hangout and play games with the younger kids.
On Saturday we went a hike called boti falls and it was botiful! It was a very up and down fun hike that lead up to a rock called umbrella rock. You could see very far from up there and it was awesome. On the way back down we stopped at the falls and it was two different water falls flowing into one pound. After we finished it started to storm and stormed the whole drive home, oh just so you guys know you don’t go out in the rain here unless you have too. Once we made it back another storm hit our house and it was crazy loud and our power went out and stayed out for a while ( the power goes out a lot on a normal bases for a short time.) it finally came back on for a little but then went back out for the rest of the night and most of the next morning. It was a very busy past two days and its been super fun!! Its very sad there’s only a few days left 🙁
That’s all for now so signing off
~ Casey Rua (DeDo)
Shout out to Pam from Kate!
On Sunday we took the day off and (finally!) had our laundry done while we visited a beach resort surrounding the Volta Lake. We swam in the pool and tried some local drinks, ice-cream, and food. After lunch Kate and Paige joined in a volleyball game and then the group took a thirty minute trip by motorboat up the Volta River to the border between the Eastern and Volta regions. Upon our return the pool had grown quite crowded and we spent a little more time swimming and playing volleyball before heading back to home base. In the evening we hand washed our delicates and after dinner Henry told us an Ananse story before we made our lesson plans for class. Casey and Paige have been teaching the fifth grade while Kate and I teach sixth grade.
On Monday we started with a team building exercise led by Kendall before heading over to the school where we taught from nine until one. The sixth grade class learned quantifiers, each/both/all, has/have, and continued to work on their rhyming by making couplets. We also taught a few songs and games, and I think Simon Says is currently the class’s favorite game. After teaching we returned for lunch and helped Charity prepare a dinner of beans, stew, and fried plantains. Once dinner was well underway, around four o’clock, we went down to the park to play with the younger kids. Duck-duck-goose, concentration, jump rope, and football are the kids’ favorite games, and we also sang a few songs with them. At six we left the kids and went up to finish making our meal and sit down to eat dinner. Later on in the evening some of the teachers at the school came by to teach us a little bit of the Krobo language, history, culture, and dance.
Today we had an opportunity to talk over some ways that we can continue to give back to the community after our departure and came to terms with the fact that this was our last full day. Kendall then had us write letters to ourselves six months from now which she is planning to send around January. At ten o’clock we began class. In the sixth grade we sang through the three songs we had been teaching (Shut Up And Dance With Me, The Cup Song, and The Shark Song) which Kate recorded on her GoPro. After that we created a Jeopardy-style competition between the boys and girls in the class to go over the material that we had covered in the last week (the girls won). Fifth grade read a passage and answered a few questions before ending the day in a dance party. Kate and I concluded the day with a few games, stories, and some fun-facts about America before we all had to say good-bye and come back for lunch at home base of Ghanaian Soup (peanut-butter and fish), rice, and sugar cane. The teachers from the school then came and gave Paige a full head of cornrows before we all headed down to the park where we played with the kids one last time. Upon our return Casey had her head done into cornrows while Kate and I each got a few. For dinner Charity carved a watermelon into a basket which was full of mango and watermelon alongside popcorn, soda, and a pasta dish. Afterwards the seamstress arrived with our cloths to try on and alter as necessary. We concluded the night with a game of Ludu and some packing before heading to bed for our last night in Ghana.
· Ba: Come
· Ya: Go
· Tumunyu: Talk
· Do: Dance
· Fiye: Play
· Jukuwi: Children
· Ngma: Write
· Poem: Cancel
· Mwo: Laugh
Everyone has departed safely and are on their way home!