Back in the Classroom!
When we arrived in Ho we thought that there was no school on Friday. We were told it was Farmer’s Day, a Ghanaian national holiday and celebration, where they honor the farmers for the food and nurturance they provide to their communities. We were a little surprised since we knew this holiday was typically in December … and then we reminded ourselves that everything happens on its own time in Ghana. We learned that there was an election in December that conflicted with the holiday so they decided to move it up about a month, and therefor, multiple sources informed us, that there would be no school. Naturally confusion set in, when later, in the day, we began being told by multiple sources that there was school! That evening we finally confirmed that indeed Friday was Farmer’s Day but that school was not closed. We were so excited to hear that we would be able to get started the next day!
Today we kicked off our Fall 2012 trip in the classrooms. Woohoo! We are so excited to be connected and present again with the children. Our first school was RC Mixed Primary Ho-Bankoe. When we arrived on campus, we were greeted with big smiles, enthusiastic waves, and children running to greet us and help us carry our bags. In the classroom, upon seeing us, the children quickly jumped up together and in unison warmly welcomed us back with the familiar Ghanaian greeting, “You are welcome.” Our first Ghanaian classrooms were both Class 6. These two classrooms are paired with Vail Mountain School Grades 6 and 7. After introductions, the children remembered that with Children Inspiring Hope we always start with an opening circle. We gathered together, hand in hand, along the edge of the classroom, and connected more deeply one-by-one as each child introduced themselves and shared how they were feeling today. As they were sharing, we were reminded of some of the beautiful names here in Ghana—Wonder, Wisdom, Beauty, Rejoice, Redeemer, Precious, Bless. After a little warming up, the children were enthusiastically raising their hands and were very animated while sharing the holidays, festivals, and traditions celebrated here in Ghana and what they do to celebrate them. One child even stood up and sang a beautiful Ghanaian Christmas song. The children were curious and excited to receive the projects from their friends in the US—in the first classroom, the Olympic rings and people depicting US holidays and stories; and in the second, the Book of Celebrations. And then the real fun started when they got to work on their own projects.
Clamoring for different colored pencils and markers the students got to work creating their own scenes of Ghanaian holidays. We noticed that one of the most popular holidays chosen was Ghanaian Independence Day, celebrated on March 6. We suspect there choice was strongly influenced by a desire to bring to life the red, yellow and green of the Ghanaian flag. They love to draw their flag and their first choice of colored pencils and markers is often the same as the national colors.
Two of the other most popular celebrations were Birthdays and the Yam Festival. There were lots of pictures of yams and the mortar and pestle used to ground and prepare this popular meal. We learned that at the festival some of the mortars are so big that it takes 4-5 people pounding pestles to prepare the yams. The Yam Festival is in celebration of the key food that sustained the Ghanaian people when they migrated from what is now present-day Togo. In the second class, the children were also soooo excited to receive and write letters to their friends in the US. There were only a handful of letters from the US but this did not deter them. They wrote multiple to letters to the same US child or addressed their letter “dear friend.” The art projects brought out the joy and creativity in the children, and the letters showed how much they deeply cherish their connection with their friends. In the evening we were enthusiastically greeted by the children, our friends, in the surrounding area. All day people had been asking “where is Sister Amy,” and it was the local children that got the most excited when they heard her baby was on the way. They jumped up and down squealing and yelling with joy. Amy you are most loved by the children here.
They miss you and send their love.