Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
I Can’t believe it’s been so long since we were down at Sahara running around with all the Dzita kids and eating Mama Rita’s delicious meals! I hope that you all have been loving life since the last time I saw you – that day we broke down on the side of the road while Johnny, Julia, Paolo and Kyle were already stateside! Lulu, I hope you are taking an American history course this semester to ensure the name Rosie Sparks does not get spoken again. And Ben, I hope you are exercising your “greatest strength” of breaking rules.
The kids are all still playing your games – Sanitation Tag, Sharks and Fish, and Red Rover are still in heavy rotation! Savage is still being savage (climbing on everyone and just generally being crazy), Ballo misses hanging out on the float with you guys, and Jaspar is still yelling yavu manyo all around Dzita. And Kyle, the chief has been asking when you are coming back so that you and his granddaughter can have a proper wedding (do your parents know about this yet?). Since you guys have left, there haven’t been any mermaid sightings (sorry Addie). But in other news, Dora has now become Mrs. Procopio and has been sporting Johnny’s hockey t-shirt around Meet Me There! The kids have been asking for you lots and it is clear that they remember you and your games fondly. I hope you have all been sharing your memories of Ghana with your friends and family back home. I know that memories of you guys are still being shared around Dzita.
Hope you are all doing well!
Summer Blog Posts
Bula! Well to start I would like to say that we had the absolute yummiest dinner tonight. Also, we had eggs for breakfast which is a great way to start the day. The groups switched today for the first time. We all gave each other helpful tips beforehand. In education I got to meet a few of my students that I will be working with next week. Im very excited to get to know them better and watch them improve hopefully.
July 15, 2016
Our students have all safely arrived in Ghana! While it was a long journey, everyone arrived happy and excited for the next two weeks ahead. We are all settling in nicely to our beautiful home here in Dzita. Our local staff have been amazing in preparing for and welcoming our students, and we are all so fortunate to be here! After some much needed rest, we toured the community and learned about the NGO we are working with, Dream Big Ghana. We also played volleyball with the local staff, which was super fun for everyone! We are all looking forward to our first day of sports camp tomorrow!
Saturday, July 16
The boys got up early in the morning for some weight lifting with Coach Tigo. I heard it to be difficult, rewarding, and interesting considering one bar was made completely of old car parts.
Breakfast time, and Mama Rita and the cooks have prepared an amazing meal, consisting of fresh fruit and omelets.
The group is rounded up and packed into a van for a trip to the Keta Slave Fort. There we proceeded to learn horrifying but captivating facts about the Danish fort that prospers hundreds of years ago.
After the bus ride back from Keta, we are ready for another meal. The kitchen really knows what they’re doing here, and each meal we eat is a little slice of heaven.
Brainstorming time! Our first sports camp session is today, and we must come up with drills to keep the children interested.
We walk to the village where the camp will take place
We meet the kids, and realize most of them can wipe the floor with us when it comes to football. They are vibrant and curious and love to take pictures. From 4-14, the children thrive under leadership. The girls, who normally shy away from sports, had a blast.
We leave the village, dirty and tired and incredibly happy.
Dinner time. This was the meal we were most hungry for, therefore it tasted the best. Or maybe Mama Rita really outdid herself.
Ewe lesson! Professor Boots and Professor Tigo teach us the basics of the local language.
Back to bed.
July 17, 2016
We woke up try his morning to the sounds of the local fishermen pulling in their nets. Our morning workout was to help the pull their nets in. After our exhausting workout we had another delicious meal cooked by Mama Rita. After breakfast a community health nurse came and spoke to us about local health problems such as malaria and yellow fever. For lunch we ate some wonderful barracuda. After lunch we spent an hour planning for the afternoon of sports camp. Today’s sport was volleyball. We split up into 3 groups and practiced bumping, setting, and serving. After our drills we played a game of volleyball and a game of soccer because the local people love soccer. To finish the day off we ate another wonderful meal and did some team building activities.
July 18, 2016
Always a great morning when our trainer of the day says, “everyone grab their own water jug!” Today was started right with an intense strength and endurance interval workout led by Meghan. Everyone was sooo tired, but what’s the best heal for a soreness after a workout?? Breakfast from mama-ritas kitchen Of Course! Fresh vegetable omelettes with a side of toast and fruit salad. After our much needed showers, Lucas and Johnny got us sweaty AGAIN with an intense game of beach volleyball. Shout out to Paolo for an all star performance in front. Aaron really insisted on swimming so after this a few of the boys took a dip in the lagoon, while others kicked back and enjoyed a nice book by the beautiful water. After excellent planning, the group traveled to the local school where we had an immense amount of fun during their recess. To replenish out energy we had the pizza that tasted fresh out of a NY brick oven… Courtesy of the wonderful kitchen staff. Out the white board came, as Coach Johnny and Lucas used their rugby knowledge to craft drills and plays for the sports camp today. We Had a walk through camp session with the group and headed out for the spacious Sahara park. As we walked through the village little ones grabbed onto us while others followed us to the field. What a great feeling! The camp turned out to be a huge success and the children got down and dirty while playing a wacky version of rugby. Then came a delicious Ghanaian traditional dish, including rice, herb sauce, and a very very spicy fish dish. We closed with a group activity where we tested communication and listening skills. Today had to be one of the best days by far and I have to tell you what a wonderful feeling it is to be apart of the Dzita community. Cheers!
July 19, 2016
July 20, 2016
For this morning’s activity, we went to a local market where we had to find and buy several items. After our scavenger hunt, we had about 40 minutes to buy fabric, which we took to a local seamstress to have Ghanaian style clothing made. After, we walked back to the lodge. Lunch was amazing, as usual. Next, we began to plan for the challenge of teaching the local children a new sport. The children loved learning ultimate frisbee. It was very fulfilling to see the change in the ability of the kids from when we arrived to the last few minutes of the last game. After dinner, some of the locals came and performed a tradition dance where we participated.
– Aaron and Kyle
July 21, 2016
The sun was shining early. Some people decided to do a canoe relay with Ballo, but I decided to sleep in. Once they woke me up, we had a good breakfast and played a ping pong tournament which was created by the leaders of the day, Lucas and Kyle. The tournament was won by Paolo. We then went to go Batik our clothes. Batik is like designed tie dye. It was cool. Next, we had lunch. At Sahara park we had field day with the kids. We came back, had showers, ate dinner, then prepared for the day ahead. ‘Twas a good day.
– Kyle and Lucas
July 22, 2016
Pre-breakfast Activity: Meghan’s Interval Workout
Only Julian, Aaron and I did the workout. Julia was there for support and also captured some photos of us getting swoll.’ The others were slackers and slept in.
Breakfast: French toast, sausage, beans and fruit
Morning Activity: Cooking lessons with Mama Rita and farming with Achoo. In the kitchen, we all helped prepare the Ghanaian dish “red red” – tomato/onion sauce with beans, as well as fried plantains. We are our dishes for lunch and they were delicious. Out in the field, we fetched water from wells and watered tomatoes.
Lunch: Chicken, red red, plantains, rice, and salad
The kids generally enjoyed it. They seemed very into the game, but continued to want to play soccer. Aaron did very well leading the stretching and everyone else participated effectively.
Dinner: Fish, Noodles, Coleslaw
Night Activity: Personality test
Blues: Aaron, Johnny and Tigo
Greens: Addie, Madi and Paolo
Oranges: Julia, Julian, Kyle, Ben and Lucas *the crazy ones
– Madi and Julia
July 23, 2016
“All hail the chief…” This morning a local chief came to talk about a broad number of topics. He discussed British rule in the 1400s to polygamy amongst Ghana. Afterwards, he asked the group questions like “do you want to get married?” And “hey, Kyle, you would make a great grandson of mine.” It was a very interesting conversation and we are thankful that he took time out of our busy schedule to talk to us. After the insightful meeting with the chief, we went to the dining area to eat a wonderful meal cooked by Mama Rita and her crew! Following that, we excitedly waited for the van to pick us up to go to the soccer game at WAFA S.C. While on the van ride, we saw new parts of Ghana that we had never seen before. When we got to the stadium, we got off the van and bought tickets. When we walked into the stadium, we could hear the excited cheering of the fans and the referee blowing the whistle to start the match. About five minutes after the start, the home team, WAFA scored an amazing goal from a free kick and everyone went crazy! While in the stadium we tried a few different snacks from the vendors which tasted very good! The match stayed at 1-0 for almost the entirety of it until a header from a corner kick in the 82nd minute making the score 2-0. Eight minutes later, the match ended and everyone left happy and satisfied. After the match, we got into the van and drove back to our home lodge. When we finally got back to Meet Me There, we had a wonderful Ghanaian dish waiting for us prepared by Mama Rita and her kitchen crew. After dinner we watched an incredible drumming and dancing performance from a famous African dance group. Following the performance, we cleaned everything up and headed to bed ready for another very excited day.
– Johnny and Paolo
Today our pre breakfast activity was canceled due to rain. We had chocolate crepes which they refer to as “pancakes”. They were very Yummmy. Then, for our morning activity we learned how to dance and sing. After that, we learned how to drum on jembaes. After, we had some amazing chicken for lunch. We all loaded onto the van and went to the Anloga market in search of jerseys and other souvenirs. When we finished shopping, we headed to Sahara Park to host our daily sports camp. Today was field day and we played many very fun games with the Ghanaian children. Following the field day, we walked back to Meet Me There and ate wonderful pizza prepared by Mama Rita and her crew for dinner. After dinner we took much needed showers and had a meeting about the schedule for tommorow.
-Paolo & Ben
July 25, 2016
This morning we had some fruit, granola and cereal for breakfast. For our morning activity, we headed down to Dzita Public School to lead a sports session. We were all extremely overwhelmed by the insanely large group of kids we were to work with. Each pair had 25+ kids, which was giant compared to the groups of 10 at the previous school. After returning from the chaos, we are rice, red red, fried plantains, and salad for lunch. We were given extra free time after lunch, in which Ben, Kyle and Lucas managed to sink and completely flip the canoe 3 times. For our service today, we had a soccer tournament. It was intense, yet fun. We all scarfed down a dinner of fried chicken, fries and avocado salad after our he’d work at the peak. Our group activity after dinner was an appreciation circle where we got to show one another how much we care for them. It was very sweet and heartfelt. We can’t believe we only have one full day left here – it seems like just yesterday we were stepping off our planes to begin our adventure!
– Madi and Julian