February 8, 2013

Koforidua, Beads, Dedication Ceremony, and More!

Georgetown 2013 HANDS Team:

Mi Waa Waa Chi (Good Morning!)

It's hard to believe that it's already been a week since we boarded the plane for Ghana.  On the one hand time has flown by; but also seems like we've been here forever.  So much has happened!

It has been a few days since our last post, as we have had some struggles with our internet and power.   It’s been very unreliable and at times not available at all.

The things we so take for granted at home are a blessing to have here.   Power, running water, drinking water, air conditioning, even a car and a house.   But I wouldn’t say just a house, because they all have houses… just different.    The people of Ghana are a happy people, and they use their resources wisely the things we consider waste are reused and repurposed in a sense the people here are much better at practicing there three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle.

We traveled yesterday to a bead market in Koforidua (you can google it). Every Wednesday the vendors go to the bead market to sell the beads they have made or acquired – some are from other African countries, (trading beads used in slavery times, Fulani glass beads) some are made from recycled glass, discarded pop bottles etc.  Our goal at the bead market was to make some connections with local vendors to purchase a large quantity of beads, have jewelry made, take it home and sell as a fundraiser for the school, thus supporting the local economy and raising funds for the school at the same time.  We have made a good connection I think and met the vendor again this afternoon.  He came all the way to Asamankese to visit us and we spent the better part of the afternoon with him.  We came away from the meeting very encouraged and hopefully we can establish a long-term relationship with him.

Our hosts wanted to take us to the Boti Falls after the bead market, we were told to take our bathing suits with us.  I was so excited to be able to immerse myself into cool water and get the dirt and grime off.  We finally arrived at the falls after a looonng hot dive, I kept thinking to myself ‘soon I will be cooled off’…. Hmmm it is the dry season… the falls have dried up and there is just a small puddle at the base of the falls! Even though we could not cool down it was still a cool site to see, the falls are 100 feet high!

On our drive home we could feel the temperature cooling down we all started watching the sky thinking it was going to rain.  I was gonna tell our tro-tro driver so we could all run in the rain when it came! For three hours we could see the rain in front of us but we could not catch up to it, it remained just out of our grasp. Shortly after we reached the house the rain blessed us with a cool steady fall.

Our work on the school has been slow but steady; the foundation is going in with the hopes of us being able to lay block on Monday morning.   This afternoon a number of Mary Ashun ’s relatives came from Accra to dedicate the school.  After meeting with them and eating lunch together, we held a short ceremony to sing together and pray for the school, it’s teachers and students, and for the community.

The work in the classroom is a lot different than what we are used to in Canada.  Children come in with various levels of knowledge but they aren’t all familiar with numbers and shapes and names of colors.  The difference in culture is evident in this way because the children are expected to help out with chores at home.  Most families run their own shops and vendor stalls and so time and resources are limited to teach their children these types of fundamentals at home.

So the challenge is clear.  As result the kids are split into two different classes; one focusses more on the basics and the other class is able to learn more in depth.  The teaching style is a lot different.  Because it is poorer country, the teaching style isn’t as advanced as we are used to.  The kids don’t have a lot of toys and colouring tools at home so when they are supplied at school they don’t like to share but that’s typical for most young children.  It is being brought into the classroom slowly but the teachers also have the challenge of learning how to incorporate these tools in their teaching.

It’s a big learning process for kids and teachers alike but we are very hopeful that over time we will be able to introduce more advanced teaching and learning styles for the benefit of both the teachers and the kids.

Tomorrow we will be up bright and early (5:30am!) to head to Kumasi for the weekend.  While we are there we will visit the largest open air market in West Africa as well as several other cultural sites.

We’ll try to update the blog again in the next few days.  However, as we mentioned, we’ve been experiencing problems connecting to the internet, so we’ll do the best we can!

Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

-- Doreen, Jenn, and Dan


Feb 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm

We got royaly dumped on today. Quassi is here for the weekend. Had a heck of a time taking him out to do his business. The sidewalks are not yet cleared up and the snow is deep everywhere.

Have a great weekend.

Rose S
Feb 9, 2013 at 11:55 am

Thanks for your updates. I'm following them with interest. I got back from a trip to Nicaragua a few weeks ago, and am hooked :) I feel so incredibly blessed by the experience!

What you are planning to do with the beads is a wonderful idea! May God bless you all and keep you safe!

Feb 9, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings on the next week of work!

Feb 10, 2013 at 7:01 am

We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers this morning in church. We are glad to hear that things are going well and that the work is progressing, although slowly. We will also think with a little envy because of your warm temperatures. It's -15 this morning, although it looks like it's going to be a beautiful day. God's blessings to you all.

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