First Day at EP-Ho
“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” ~ Thomas J. Peters
Today was our first day at EP-Ho. As soon as we drove onto the dirt courtyard at the school, we were enthusiastically greeted with smiles, waves, and shouts from the children. Those that were in the classroom were leaning and peering out to see and welcome us. We were warmly embraced by the new EP-Ho Headmaster, Angelica. She gave each of us a big hug as if we had met before and were already friends. Before we went to our first classroom, Angelica took our hands, joined us in a small circle, and shared a beautiful prayer that set the tone for our trip and blessed our time together. Vita’s shoes are nearly impossible to fill but there is a strong sense that Angelica is already expanding into them. What a blessing. As we made our way to the first classroom, we were greeted by many of the teachers. All of whom asked about Amy and sent their love and blessings to her and the baby.
Our first EP-Ho classrooms were Class 3A and B. Both classes are paired with Saint Andrews School Grade 2. The children in the US sent wreaths decorated with images and symbols from various holidays with a card on the back describing one holiday in more detail. Before starting their project, we gathered ideas from the children on Ghanaian celebrations and traditions. They found it easy to identify holidays, festivals, and other celebrations, but it was a little more difficult for them to articulate how they celebrate and to identity images and symbols associated with holidays—such as the U.S. Easter Bunny, turkey, Santa Claus, and fireworks. With Kelvin’s gentle assistance, the floodgates opened, the hands shot up, and they shared a number of celebratory activities that are similar to the U.S.: gathering together to celebrate with friends, family and community; preparing and eating special foods; wearing special clothes or certain colors; and bringing celebrations to life with music and dancing. Some of the most popular images the children chose to decorate their wreaths were cakes, flags, yams, mortar and pestles (for preparing yams), stars, hearts, balloons, people, and Christmas trees. A few seemed to be influenced by last Spring’s trip and included lots of different kinds of foods.
As always, the kids love love, love creating with the huge variety of art supplies sent by their friends in the U.S. They especially clamored for the variety of brightly-colored markers, pencils, and papers provided to create their wreaths—and there was no shortage of glue on most of the projects.
We will be back at EP-Ho Class 3A and B next Monday to finish the cards describing one of their favorite celebrations, and to share the pins—decorated with red, white, and blue beads—that the U.S. students made for their Ghanaian friends. We hear that Beauty’s class, 3A, are great singers so next time we hope to be treated to a few songs.