Heaven & Earth- Boti Falls Excursion
“If you are coming to help me you are wasting your time, but if you are coming because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” In 2010, our team took the leaders group at EP Primary Ho-Bankoe to Tagbo Falls. This excursion, the first of its type for the students, and some teachers, was supported entirely by the students at St. Andrew’s School in Savannah. It was their idea, and they funded it by working together- primary and middle school students- baking and selling their goods. As recently as last year, some of those students that created this service project, still sited this as one of the things they remember most, and loved, about Children Inspiring Hope. They remember the joy they gave those students in seeing the natural world in its protected glory.
Their Head Teacher at the time, Vida Oyiadzo, was one of the teachers on the excursion. She had as much fun as the students that day! She was singing, skipping stones, and starring at the fall in awe of the beauty. A teacher is every way, when we returned from the excursion, she had the children give thanks and prayers. She asked of them, “Don’t keep this to yourselves. Go and tell everybody you know about the wonderful things you have seen. We thank our friends in America who made this possible. May they be repaid tenfold for the gifts they have shared.” She later shared with other leaders at the school that she wanted to take the faculty, one day, to share the natural beauty and give thanks for all their hard work. As many of you know by now, she passed away from cancer in 2011 before that was possible.
It seems fitting, that during the exchange that we are “Celebrating Our Natural World”, that we are finally able to fulfill this desire for her. On an early Saturday morning in March, nearly 40 CIH Volunteers, teachers and a couple children loaded on a 27- seater bus to go to Boti Falls. Kathee and Leslie shared many details of a typical, long, Ghanaian excursion (they left at 5:45 am and returned at 7:30 pm). Children sit on laps and in coolers, Kelvin stands just inside the doorway. Everyone is talking and laughing…radio blaring. At every larger town, where traffic slows us down, people on the side of the road, carrying baskets, boxes and bowls of all sorts of goodies on their heads approach the bus. Through the open windows, teachers buy oysters on skewers, water in small plastic bags, red shrimp rolled up in plastic, bread, a cocoa drink (again in a plastic bag), chicken gizzards on stick, popcorn with popped amaranth and peanuts and a variety of other foods that they don’t recognize.
At the Falls, they unload coolers for picnic of kenkey, sardines and sauce. They take a short walk to the Falls. Kathee reminds every teacher she speaks to about the reason we have taken this trip: to honor the memory of Vida, their hard work, and the beauty of the natural world. The teachers nod and speak her name and enjoy the beauty and cooling mist of the waterfall a little longer. As we received the photos of the waterfall chosen by the group, we think, how perfect- two falls. We think, heaven and earth… and Vida smiling down thinking how wonderful!