Friday June 29, 2018
Good evening from Krobo-Odumase, Ghana!
All of our students have arrived safe and sound for session two of the 14 Day Children of Africa program. We kicked off our orientation today, and were welcomed by the cooling afternoon rains of Africa as we played with all of the local kids in the park.
We are all super excited for the days to come and can’t wait to share our stories with you here. As the evening is coming to a close, we are crawling under our mosquito nets to be lullled to sleep by the sounds of African drumming in the distant valley.
Caitlin and the Krobo Ghana Team
Sunday July 1, 2018
To start the day, we ate delicious French toast with a Ghanaian chocolate spread, similar to Nutella. There were also yummy mango and pineapple juices, which were freshly squeezed in Ghana and have no added sugar. After breakfast we did leadership and team building activities where we worked in groups to propose solutions to difficult scenarios. We then visited the nursery where some of us will be doing our service! After an intense, hot hike, we came back to enjoy a very traditional lunch that included jollof rice. After lunch and a nice afternoon break, we visited the market to buy African cloth to make Ghanaian clothes. The market was very busy, filled with people selling a variety of things such as tomatoes, mangos, cloths, shoes, and more.
We did our service for the day at the park! There were tons of children, and together we played many games such as sharks and minnows, freeze tag, wax museum, and various hand games. Afterwards we came back and ate a very nice dinner. We then had a bonfire where we learned new Ghanaian songs and dances. In the fire we each burned a stick, representing our fears and challenges. Before bed we had the opportunity to buy traditional Ghanaian chocolates and snacks. Then we took some much-needed showers; some even by bucket! We have all loved the trip so far and can’t wait for more service and activities to come!
Your Leaders of the Day,
~Ellen, Grace B, and Mia~
Monday July 2, 2018
We woke up bright and early on Monday morning, excited to go to the Cedi bead factory. We took the bus on a very bumpy ride to the bead factory to learn how to create our own handmade beads. The beads are very unique to Ghanaian culture, so it was really awesome to have the opportunity to learn about how they are made. We each made five small glass beads and one large sand bead. They turned out gorgeous and many of us made them into necklaces.
As we waited for the beads to cook, we broke into groups and discussed our first impressions of Ghana and some goals that we have for this trip and beyond. We also practiced our lesson plans so that we would be ready to teach on Tuesday.
In the afternoon, we visited a host family who taught us some more of the Krobo language and answered many of our questions about life here in Krobo, Ghana. Following the visit, we made our daily trip to the local park to play with the kids. Their smiling faces warm our hearts every single day. In the evening, we participated in an ancient Krobo tradition, a naming ceremony where we received our own Krobo names.
The local staff dressed us up in our colorful fabric and painted our faces and arms with blue and grey paint. We learned the history of the naming ceremony, sang and danced to traditional music, and received our Krobo names. Each of us got a name bracelet that consisted of a black string and a blue glass bead. It was amazing to be part of such an important right of passage in Ghanaian culture.
Tuesday July 3, 2018
Everyone woke up early today to get ready for our first day of service. We ate eggs, jam rolls, pineapple, and fresh mango juice for breakfast. Around 8:30 we split into our groups; those heading to the nursery and those going to the elementary school. At the nursery, GLA students helped feed the toddlers, taught them new games, played outside, and put kids down to nap.
Those teaching the little kids, aged 6 months to 1 year, taught the kids fruit vocabulary and parts of the body. In the kindergarten classes, students taught the children how to subtract numbers. The students that went to the elementary school observed the teachers to get a feel for what they’d be teaching. They also spent an hour making bricks to build new structures at the school. After spending a couple hours at our service sites, students and mentors walked back to home base around 11:30 to eat lunch.
After everyone finished eating lunch, we watched a Ted Talk where a Nigerian woman talked about generalized opinions based on one side of a story. The episode was called “Single Story.” We discussed the Ted Talk and shared how it made us feel. At 4 o’clock we all headed to Asitey Park to play with the kids for a little while. Some people played soccer and volleyball, while others drew pictures and played frisbee. We walked back to home base around 6 to eat a dinner consisting of boiled sweet potatoes, beef stew, egg stew, and fresh watermelon. Tomorrow we head out for another day of service!
Everyone is healthy, happy, and having the time of their lives.
Sending love from Ghana,
Chloe and Grace Z
Wednesday July 4, 2018
Some of us began the day with optional morning yoga, which meant that whoever wanted to join had to sacrifice their precious hours of sleep, but it really was worth it. (I’m not ashamed to admit that I fell over several times!)
We had a delicious breakfast, as per usual, and to celebrate Independence Day we even had donuts! After breakfast, everyone separated into their groups: the people going to the nursery, and those who were going to the elementary school. For those at the elementary school, brick making came first and everyone did their utmost to get as many done in one hour as possible. Next, for us teaching 4th grade, the class seemed engaged and attentive to what we were saying and understood the topic, which was prepositions of place and location. The girls who were teaching 5th grade taught them nouns, and got to know each of the students better, as they played some fun interactive games with the class. Those in 6th grade had a tough day, since some of the students were a little rowdy, but they were able to come up with good ways to get them to engage!
After teaching we all hung out with the kids during their break, which is nice because you get to interact with your students in a more informal way than in the classroom, and get to meet many new children who are just as kind and friendly.
At the nursery the youngest children were taught colors, while the 4-year olds learned about trees and plants and the 5-year olds made progress in subtraction. Since it was Wednesday, the day on which they worship God at the nursery, they had a special presentation, and even had a runway where all the kids showed off their modeling skills, shaking their hips and popping their collars.
After service we came home to have lunch, and enjoyed some free time afterwards, during which many people took well deserved naps. At around 2:45 we split into our respective mentor groups, where we discussed homesickness, why it happens and how we can fight it. We wrote down a list of things that we appreciate from home, now that we are in Ghana, as well as a list of things that we appreciate here, that we may not have back home, such as all the new friends we’ve made, and the loving atmosphere within the community. We then separated again, this time into our host-family groups, who took us into their homes once again, and taught us some more Krobo: this time around it was animals, fruits, and vegetables. We were able to ask them more questions, and know them a little better.
Afterwards we all went to the park, where we played with the children, whether it was soccer, frisbee, volleyball, drawing, or just running after them, everyone had loads of fun. When park time was over, we all walked up the hill with some of the kids, and said our goodbyes for the day. Dinner was already served, and we got to eat with our hands! We had grilled tilapia, grilled chicken, fries, some egg stew and a special Ghanaian dumpling “banku”, which is made from corn and casava dough.
We had some time to prepare for our next lesson tomorrow, and then listened to a speaker, who told us about Ghanaian history, into the origins of the Krobo people and then we had a special Independence Day celebration. We started playing music and got popcorn and soon everyone joined, and even the local kitchen staff members danced with us and we all did the macarena! After a very off-key interpretation of “Don’t stop believing”, we all got ready for bed, and got some much-needed sleep.
-by Lula and Alexia
Friday July 6, 2018
This morning, we woke up to some fantastic chocolate bread that is definitely the best bread we have ever tasted. However, the day got a little trickier, but we still had a great time. We all knew that coming to Ghana meant stepping outside of our comfort zones, and today everyone took on more responsibility in order to help things run more smoothly. No one anticipated the chaos that today brought, but the most important thing is that we all adapted quickly and still had lots of fun, which demonstrated our ability to handle difficult situations and make the most of them. We shared many laughs and smiles because we are so grateful to even be here in Ghana!
Although our day had some hiccups, we turned it around with cultural music and dance that night. Everyone participated and learned new moves that we will never ever forget! Our host families made a surprise appearance and performed a routine that blew us all away. Afterwards, we connected our music through the AUX cord and had a party of our own.
We took away two major things from today. First off, a bad day is not all bad. By the end of the night, everyone was full of energy and smiles, even though the day got off to a tricky start. Secondly, it is important to acknowledge when things do not go the way we intend them to. This recognition allows us to learn from our mistakes and make adjustments. Although today was hard, we all grew from these challenges and are ready to take on our next days of service. We are so excited for what still lies ahead!
-by Ashley and Christina
During the weekend, when we have no service, everyone gets to sleep in an extra hour before breakfast at 8:00am. Everyone was eagerly getting ready to head to Boti Falls where we would spend our day hiking to see a beautiful waterfall, a three-trunked palm tree, and a rock shaped like a giant umbrella that overlooks the mountain range. We all piled into the van and listened to throwback music for the one-hour drive. As we got closer to Boti Falls, we had to maneuver around many potholes in the road which created a very bumpy ride. The view on our way was stunning with very green mountains and tall trees.
Once we arrived to embark on our adventure, we started heading on our trail. We first started casually walking alongside an open yellow field. Within just a few minutes, we were lunging up a steep rocky hill. On our way up the hill, we passed by a large cave and a stream which we had to cross. Walking on a tree branch to cross the stream, everyone had to balance themselves to make it across to the other side. We continued our steep and rocky hike up the mountain where we stopped at our first destination: the umbrella rock.
The view from the rock was amazing because we could see the enormous green landscape of the mountains. Everyone stopped to take picture of each other sitting off the side of the cliff. We then headed to our second destination: the three-trunked palm tree. Two people were able to climb up the ladder to stand in-between the palm tree trunks, and everyone was able to rest for a bit before we headed back down the path to see the waterfalls. Once we arrived at the bottom of the stairs, everyone was shocked to see two large waterfalls. The long hike to get here was worth it. We all stopped to take many pictures of the waterfalls and enjoy the stunning view. The GLA kitchen staff prepared us a delicious chicken and rice meal as a picnic lunch to conclude our adventure at Boti Falls.
When we arrived back to the GLA base camp, everyone enjoyed some much-deserved free time. We were all very tired after our long excursion at Boti Falls. Many people took a nap during our free time, but others worked on their song that we were going to sing later that night at the song competition. We were split into four random groups and asked to change lyrics to a song to talk about this trip. After free time was over, we went to the park to play with the children and then came back to the GLA base camp. For dinner, we ate chicken, fried plantains, and fresh mango! Afterwards, it was time for the song competition! Each group’s song was humorous and well prepared. Everyone had a great time hearing each other’s songs. The GLA kitchen staff sang us a song on the spot after the students were finished, and Henry played the drums.
As we headed off to sleep, we were eager to wake up the next morning to go to Sajuna Beach Club!
-by Lea Powell & Grace Bolander