Postcards, Books, and Skype!
Wednesday is Sokode-Bagble day. This week we went to visit Class 4A and B, starting with 4A. When we arrived, the kids were scurrying around moving desks, erasing the board for us, and generally running around in a playful way. We learned their teacher was out, potentially with malaria. “Don’t worry, you can’t catch it, we were told.” We were amused that they shared this with us and concerned for the teacher. Kelvin quickly brought order to the class and we started with our opening circle.
Class 4A is paired with Red Sandstone Elementary Grade 4. The kids in the U.S. made had four different projects for their Ghanaian friends, three murals and one Fourth of July book. The kids in Ghana reciprocated with pictures about the same size as the book and are hoping that their friends in the U.S. will assemble their drawings into a book too.
The class size was small today, only 17 students, so we moved the desks out of the way and sat in a big circle on the floor to draw. The floors in the Ghana schools we work with are all concrete and the only brooms in the classrooms are swatches of branches tied together. The kids were all amused as Angela tried to sweep the floor before we sat down. It probably helped a little but don’t be surprised if there is some dirt on the back of the holiday book pages.
In the middle of the circle, we dumped all the markers and pencils. At first, even though there were so many pencils and pens to choose from, the kids only took a few colors. We had to set a big pile in front of each of them to give them permission to start expanding their palette. They were so focused on their drawings that at one point it was very quiet in the room. When it was time for break, most kids were still drawing and coloring. About halfway through, we had to ask them to finish up. We are certain that many of them could have kept drawing and coloring for many more hours. So often we wish we had more time to spend with the kids.
In the second class, 4B, we went to a classroom at the back of the school grounds. It seemed to be an older structure. There were pot holes in the floor that went all the way to dirt and the chalkboard had seen better days. Despite the condition of the room, the children were just as excited to create. Their friends at CT Walker Grade 3 sent them 5x8 “postcards” with a holiday drawing on one side and a message to their friends on the others. The Ghanaian kids reciprocated with drawings of Ghanaian celebrations and messages for their friends. Many of the children at Sokode-Bagble don’t seem to speak English well, so we assisted them with phrases to complete their messages—just like we did with Class 2 and 3 at EP-Ho. When they were done with their postcards, they got a “stamp”, a sticker to put where the stamp goes. They loved the stickers. We gave them extras and they were sticking them on their clothes and on their friend’s clothes at the next break. While some of the kids were still finishing, the others gathered around Christie after she volunteered to read to them the messages on the U.S. postcards. Many of them repeated the name of the friend who sent them the card to ensure they could pronounce it. As always, the kids are so interested in the personal connection with their friends in the U.S.
After Sokode, we went back to EP Primary Ho-Bankoe to share the library books that had been donated and that we had brought with us from the U.S. Angelica, the headmaster at EP Primary Ho-Bankoe, was really grateful for the books. She showed us that the shelves in the library are still very empty. There is one book case for each Class with three shelves each and most of them do not even have one shelf full of books. The kids could still use a lot more books for their library.
We also returned to EP-Ho to see if we could make one last attempt to get the internet in the computer lab working. With Vodaphone’s and Kelvin’s assistance, we were successful. Woohoo! We were actually able to Skype with Amy from EP Primary Ho-Bankoe. This is a huge milestone. All the teachers came into the computer lab to get a glimpse of Amy and the baby and to share their well wishes. They were hooting and hollering, blowing her kisses, and sending love and blessings to them both. What a beautiful group of teachers and so much love for Amy and Children Inspiring Hope.