All students have checked through security and are ready to depart for home!
It’s hard to believe that our time in Ghana is nearly coming to an end. As a result, I don’t think that it’s possible to have a day more packed with activity than we did today. We started the day with some friendly competition of soccer against the local high school. This was no easy task, as soccer is very big over here. We did put up a good fight however (and by “we”, I mean Isaiah) and the ending score was 4-5 Ghana.
After a much needed ice cream and lunch break as well as a speech on Ghanaian history from a local chief, we headed off to Meet Me There Lodge, homebase to the GLA Building Healthy Villages program. Their director, Tigo, talked to us about his NGO called Dream Big Ghana, which helps provide compost toilets to rural villages. Between Tigo’s inspirational speech, swimming in the lagoon, and falling in love with newborn puppies at the lodge, we said goodbye to Meet Me There with heavy hearts.
We then rushed off to visit our host families for the last time. The host family experience really drove in just how friendly and welcoming the people here are. Strangers greet you with warm smiles and “wezo”, meaning “you are welcome”. We thanked them for their hospitality and with even heavier hearts than with the newborn puppies, we said our goodbyes.
Dinner was much appreciated as always, and anticipation for our bonfire built as we students sat in the lounge and enjoyed some summer pump up jams. We walked to the beach with bundles of firewood and suddenly we found ourselves surrounding a pile of sticks ablaze. Symbolically, we threw the letters of hopes and fears of the program that we wrote on the very first night here into the blaze. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that I feel like a much different person than when we started the program.
A talent show followed the bonfire, displaying skills such as storytelling, poetry, and even some Ghanaian dancing. Then it was off to bed as the weight of our second to last day sunk in. I can’t wait to see what our last day holds. Very bittersweet.
-Lila and Aimee
Final Day of Teaching
Breakfast was delicious. Now I can’t remember exactly what it was, but any food is delicious. The loud chatter and laughter of my peer filled the room. We’re friends now…the all of us. There isn’t one person on this trip who I just cannot stand. Which is great because usually there is at least one. And now there’s none. I love the friendship part of this trip. I mean this trip is an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience…but I’m saying I love how much we all get along. And maybe that sounds cheesy, but then so be it.
Anyhow. Breakfast was amazing. Incredible. Super duper yummy. And then we applied sunscreen and bug repellant and all that good stuff. Our bags packed, we piled into vans and were on our way. Our final day of teaching. It saddened me to realize that I would most likely never see these children again. These children, who I’ve grown to love and admire, would disappear from my life. To fall in love with these children and then lose everything you loved in a heartbeat is torture. You can’t do that to me. Or anybody.
In talking to some of my peers, I learned that they too were just as sad if not more. Goodbyes are the hardest. In my class, we played games and handed out candies and our students taught us how to dance. Just like, I later learned, every class. And then it was time for a goodbye. I was afraid I’d break, saying goodbye to the students I’ve fallen in love with. But I kept my cool, as I’ve learned to do, and gave my goodbyes, waving and backing out of the classroom. It took my everything not to look back into the classroom. I knew that would only make the sadness of goodbye worse.
I just realized I skipped the brick making part our day. It was uneventful and we were all tired. I feel as if I’m making this blog more about my group and me then about everybody as one whole group. But, as we are in three different groups and I am not a mind-reader, I cannot speak for the others. Let them share their days and I will share mine. So I will focus on my group. Anyhow. Back to making bricks. “Two bags or four?” “Four!” “Two. Four.” We will make what we make. 121 bricks today. Four bags. But we pulled it off.
Okay…So. We’re back at home base. We got to relax for…approximately an hour? More? Less? I don’t know. But we got to relax for enough time to write a journal entry or five. And then we were back in the vans and on our way to our activities. My group was going to The Island.
And then we were home again which was quite relieving! We were hanging out in the lounge and drinking from coconuts and playing with little children and just relaxing. Then dinner. I was starving. So maybe that’s a bit of an over exaggeration… but when you are that hungry everything tastes like the best food you’ve ever eaten. The time I wasn’t eating was spent writing. It was quite satisfying. And then dinner was over and we were relaxing some more and then a meeting. Alec lead it and, in my opinion, he did a very good job. We were asked questions like “what was the most difficult decision you ever made?”. Questions that made us think. I think it was a very productive meeting.
Diary for the Day
Dear GLA Community,
Today we had a relaxing day. In the morning after breakfast, we went to our community service site as usual and made bricks and taught our assigned classes. Tomorrow is the last day of brick building and teaching. Despite missing all of the muscle toning and sweating while brick building, I think we will miss our students more.
After a successful morning of community service, we returned back to home base for a hearty lunch, and started on prep for a relaxing afternoon at Keta Beach. A motorized river boat was our method of transportation to the beautiful shore. We got to spend a lot of time in the sun and the water and have some good snacks with our toes in the sand! Afterwards, we heard an educationist by the name of Cyrial speak to us about his passion for teaching and his views on education in Ghana. By this time we were all hungering for a dinner of chicken and vegetables and oh, how could I forget… a taste of Shene’s wonderful guacamole.
It’s now time to wind down for bed with some journaling, reading, and music appreciation with our fabulous mentor, Kate. Cheers to a wonderful day and a Happy Happy 15th Birthday to Abby!
Morgan and Amanda
Another Beautiful Day
Dodo nayu (Goodnight),
-Kate K. & Theresa N.
A Satisfying Day
A Few Adventures…
We started off the day bright and early with a delicious breakfast made by our wonderful cook, Mercy. Next we headed off top the service site where the groups made bricks for a couple hours then taught their assigned grade. We headed back to home base to enjoy another meal which was chicken. The three groups separated. One group went to Father’s House and played with the kid that were rescued from child slavery, one group had a cooking lesson at home base, and the other group had a tour of a cultural village on the island. After these adventures, we had a little free time in which some caught up on sleep and some played with the village kids. Later on in the evening we had dinner, which was rice and beef and other varieties of things. At 7 we had a guest speaker who told us about story telling and how it affects their culture, then went on to tell us stories that they tell their children. After this, it was kind of late and we all just lounged around in our GLA community. This experience in Ghana has opened my eyes to how close you can become with people so quickly. I have never felt so welcomed not only by the other GLA students, but by the community we are in. Experiencing this different culture has given me perspective, and helped me to appreciate my own even more. I can take away what I like in a community versus what I see that I don’t like.
Reflections on the Community
– Katherine Bogart
Greetings from Ghana!
This morning when the rooster yelled, some of the students started off their day doing yoga and running on the beautiful beach. Later in the morning, when we reached the school, the kids were staring with us in joy.This is where we began our four-hour experience at school. We first started making bricks, which took a lot of effort to put together. After the two hours of building bricks, we had a thirty minute break, which was absolute chaos because we played soccer. After break, we taught many subjects, ranging from Science to English – from graphing to enzymes and from brains to adjectives. We taught many subjects that made for a compelling class experience.
After our service opportunity, we returned to home base, where we had lunch and took a break, followed by “host families.” In this activity we visited the families that we were assigned to. Our host families were very kind and welcoming, and some students even got to play games! After our departure and on our arrival back to home base, many of us felt like rock stars, being surrounded by so many incredible children.
After that, we ate dinner, and we had many discussions about human rights, which was really fun and fascinating.
Fie na me!
An Extraordinary Experience
Fie na me!
After a night of a rattling storm, we woke up to a delicious African breakfast. Then we packed our bags and headed off to our assigned schools where we would be volunteering for the day. One of the locals taught us how to build bricks in the same way you would bake a cake. We then tried making the bricks ourselves and successfully completed about 20. Once we finished, we were ambushed by a swarm of adorable children who were fascinated by our hands, hair, and cameras.
We then played a variety of games such as duck-duck goose, ring around the rosie, tag, and piggy back rides. When the kids settled down, we followed them back to class to observe and learn from the teachers in preparation for the next day. After saying our goodbyes, we piled into the van and headed back to the base. After lunch, we went to the seamstress to be fitted for a piece of clothing of our choice. Back at the home base, we were greeted by the smiles of the multiple children from the surrounding village. Feeling tired and sweaty, but still humbled by the day, we gathered to watch a TED talk and then ended the day by preparing our lessons for the kids tomorrow. We look forward to continuing this extraordinary experience!