Waves of Grace
We begin our morning at E.P. Primary Sokode -Bagble with the striking paintings and comic strips from the students at SPARK. We try something new, here, and have the students remain in our opening circle as we share the projects and pass them around the room. We set out the watercolor stations in this same oval during break so that when the forty-five kids re-enter the room, they are quick to find a spot, facing inwards, on the floor. Most students abandon their shoes in a pile underneath a desk and we decide to do the same, spending the remainder of the class in our bare feet. The children are splayed around the room, some lying belly-down, with their feet positioned up in the air like the tails of mermaids, while others kneel and hover with noses poised mere inches above the ground. They are silent and content in their focus. The beautiful artwork created by their friends at SPARK lies in the middle of the circle. The students are inspired by the magnificence of the projects, but they choose to explore their own creativity. The results are outstanding and we leave the campus with hearts filled with the serenity of a watercolor painting.
We head to work with the Leaders Group at E.P. Junior Secondary School where the calm of our quiet and peaceful is disrupted by the energetic noise of rambunctious adolescents. These students are bigger, each one takes up more space in the classroom – both in personality and physicality; the contrast from the tiny bodies of the students this morning is hard to ignore. We introduce Paideia’s Six Word Memoirs and the students are quick to pick up on the concept. They take joy in figuring out how to put their personalities, likes, and interests into a short English statement. We call out the names of returning students from America, and the kids here jump out of their desks to claim the work of an old friend. They recognize the names and look at the pictures with smiles of recognition. They are equally as eager to catch the names of new students; they allow the letters and sounds to roll around on their tongues before they say them out loud. It is a free-for-all as the students scour the materials for the right bubble letters and stickers, not unlike that Friday in Atlanta. Boys and girls alike leave the room sprinkled with sparkles. We even meet a little boy, likely a kindergarten student from across the street, who shines with gold glints of glitter in the light.
We leave the campus with Fred, and wander behind the schools walls, as students from all directions stream down like flowing water towards homes in close proximity – a maze of courtyards, compounds and allies – with open gutters all around. Fred is another new scholarship recipient that needed help with partial fees. We have enjoyed Fred since EP Primary, and he has been a part of the leaders group for years. He is kind and thoughtful, always offering a hand with our bags. His mother, quite ill right now, wanted us to visit so she could say thank you.
We take a taxi to find some cool fan ice, and have some laughs of our own. The driver and passenger are impressed by our Ewe, so we ask them to clap for us (like the school children do when an impressive answer is given). To our amusement, both the passenger and driver clap for us. We laugh. We mispronounce one word- ironically, it means you have tried- which they are quick to correct. We are then told we have an issue with “a”… we need to open our mouths wider and let it drop down. We then get a small lecture on the difference between consonants and vowels. We laugh harder! So, Paideia students, we are inspired by your 6 word memoirs and are working on our own Top Ten 6 Word Ghana Stories. In this case: Battered taxi, mispronounced word, vowel lecture.