We begin our final week with the new school EP Primary Sokode-Bagdle. The children are singing lined up in morning assembly, our smiling faces ready to greet each other again. We begin our exchange with P4, paired with Cliff Valley School in Atlanta, and working on the “Go Blue” theme. We are taken from the class temporarily to meet the local chiefs under a palm thatched outdoor structure; in actuality, one Chief, two Elders and the Secretary for the Chief. They are given our mission and share their feedback. They say that they want us to return, when we receive an invitation, for their annual festival so that we can “fasten the belt of unity between our cultures tighter” We return to a happy P4 room, adorned with all the Cliff Valley School artwork, and many drawings already well in progress. On to the combined P3 classes to work on the index card letters. The kids have already drafted their letters, and are eager to transfer them and color. Ann takes a break and plays with all the KG kids, running around in a cacophony of laughter and joy. The school gathers to send us off true Ghanaian style with songs, and a gift of beads. A prayer is also said for our safe journey home and hopes that we will return soon.
Holy Innocents’ second grade class project was under way today in a very excited P2 classroom at EP back in Ho. They loved seeing their handprint art work in the children’s hands in America, and were even more excited to receive the construction paper heart people! Cut and pasting is a rare treat, as is colored paper, so there is a wonderment that fills the air and learning some special skills. How foreign the thought, we say to each other, having not experienced cutting out hearts in childhood. The project will continue tomorrow, and the heart people which are now hanging around the room are a real and tangible reminder of the heartfelt expressions and love sent from a far away land, not so far away anymore.
We get one final dance lesson this afternoon, and have learned enough that the perpetual laughter, or attempt to conceal it, has mostly subsided and is replace by tacit smiles of the bond of sharing this experience. We love getting to learn from them and be a part of their cultural traditions. We share dinner with Vida, the Head of EP School, and reflect on the project. Ann inquires as to the impact she feels it is having on the school. Her first response of many is from a child that joined her in the office the other day while paying fees. She reports that this child asked if “our friends” were coming today. The child goes on to state that, “They are lovely people, I don’t want them to go; can’t we invite them to just stay here with us.” Vida explains that there are children at home that we also will be working with and does she want to prevent us from sharing with those children as well. Vida’s first response to the impact of Children Inspiring Hope is one from a child’s inquires and heartfelt expression of connection.