We Are Our Famers

Step into the garden/lift your face to the sun and just breathe/it will help you remember all that is beautiful and right in the world. - unknown

We close our week with a drive through the lush forest to get to Ziavi village, as memories of trips past fill our minds. We notice differences immediately, as we are greeted by the Headmaster, and teachers are with us in the classrooms. Last trip, there was a day-long PTA meeting, and the campus was chaotic. Senior students are sitting around a huge pile of rocks- cracking stones- for a new block of classrooms. Likely the next time we return the tiny huts that have housed the primary students will be gone. Growth is good.

Some familiar faces are missing, but others- surprising- have returned. In these small classes, we get to know these students well and see their bonds of community and friendship clearly.

Red Sandstone Elementary students sent pictures of foods and some in a picnic basket. The picnic basket in particular is full of processed sweets- candy fish, gummy bears, ice cream and coca-cola-these items require some exploration, as these students here are not used to dosing themselves with jolts of sugar, salt and artificial flavors. Their meat intake is generally relegated to holidays and special occasions.

These students are their farmers, and for the majority of their intake, they have their hands in growing and harvesting the food. We have learned with the schools we work with here, the further from the city, the closer they are to the earth and the greater the number of famers. They grow maize, cassava, occra, tomatoes and yams. Mango trees surround their classrooms and we are given a bunch to take home. They recognize “we are fortunate” as the Headmaster reports, to be so close to the land and the source of their sustenance.

After school, a swarm of nearly 80 students – comprising only a few more than 10 extended families- follows us under the mango tree. Students line up from small to large to receive toothbrushes donated by Dr. Manveen Sahni, DDS. These are a perfect gift to follow our lessons on food and Earth stewardship.  We have just enough for everyone!

We follow the students home as we wait for our driver to arrive. We sit in the shade of trees and watch them enjoy local Baboab ice-cream as their after-school treat. We watch as an adolescent uses a mortar and pestle to crush palm nuts into oil that is used, quite readily, in Ghanaian cooking. We are looking forward to a restful weekend to reflect and share more of the journey with you all at home. Ntifafa nami.