Today was a day of song, dancing, and celebration. Given that we also spent most of last Friday in song and dance, we have decided that this trend of Fun Fridays should continue! We greet a new school this morning, EP Primary in Sokode-Bagdle. The Head Madame is Mawuse whom we met at EP Primary in Ho-Bankoe our first trip for Children Inspiring Hope. This school is a little out of Ho, and a more rural area. There is a peaceful feeling here, and the students greet us with a beautiful song that Mawuse translates for us. “They are singing about what each of us can do to move forward and make Ghana a better place, how we are all inter-connected.” We are introduced to each teacher then move to two specific classrooms that have been chosen for the exchange with Cliff Valley School in Atlanta and St. Andrews School in Savannah, Georgia. The P4 class is excited to see all of the projects and by the time we leave every single one of them have been hung on the walls. We greet the P3 class, who will be getting what is left of the index card letters and self-portraits. They proudly stand to read these cards out loud impressing us with their strong language skills. Then they excitedly share some of their favorite things to do as a “warm-up” for when we return next week for them to create their own index card letters and portraits. A little boys arm pump is not lost on us when we pull out the zip lock bag of color and leave it on the teacher’s desk. Before parting, we meet the KG little ones, and can hear them singing “If You’re Happy and You Know it Clap Your Hands.”

We are charged with the energy of this new connection as we drive towards another wonderful new connection we’ve made with two amazing Dutch men. Jan and Hans have invited us today to the Celebration Ceremony for Shoonhaven: Cured Lepers Village they have created and funded here in Ho after witnessing the unbelievable conditions these handicap live in even after they are cured. Shoonhaven is the name of their hometown in Holland and it means beautiful garden. The women and children gathered to dance for us are like bouquets of color in their brightly printed fabrics and the joy they exude this day. The drums beat as special guests arrive including the local Chief and the media. The elderly cured lepers are seated waiting patiently to receive keys to their new homes and clap and sing in celebration for the kindness that has touched their hearts. The sweetness of this project and being able to share this day of celebration with our new friends whose basic humanity inspired it will not soon be forgotten.

Our continuation of letter writing to RC Mixed has been canceled, and the kids are in games this afternoon and on early release, but we are able to engage with the EP kids in a dance lesson this afternoon.   Ann gets a roaring cheer as she crosses the sandy classroom floor swinging her hips and moving her arms to the complicated rhythms. I am told more than once by the leader to stop laughing and be serious; clearly he missed the Fun Friday memo. We are pouring sweat out of every pore by the end of this session.

I finally find the time to drop by and say hello to Eryam & Koku, the children on a path not far from us that we checked on so much last trip working to heal Eryam’s foot. As I walked down the familiar path through the palms and banana trees, I am filled with gratitude for this day and all the beauty being exchanged and am lifted by acts of kindness all around us. As I enter their small path to the mud huts, Koku yells out for Eryam and both charge at me for hugs.

My visit is short, as it is the end of the day. They walk me back, each holding a hand. With each step, I give thanks for this small slice of heaven and the privilege to be here and connecting the children back home.