We Begin: EP’s Veterans and Rookies

We began our exchanges for this trip with a group of veterans. We have worked with the students in Anita’s P4 class since the exploratory trip when they were “veda veda”, as they say in Ghana- small small. Some of them will join our leaders group later this week. They were matched, on this endeavor, with Ms. Green’s 4th grade class at Holy Innocents Episcopal School in Atlanta.

We proudly carried the decorated box of accordion stories into the room and placed it prominently on the teacher’s desk. All of the students smiled as we handed out the small books, neatly folded and beautifully adorned; the novelty and uniqueness of this project did not go unnoticed by this experienced crew. They eagerly read and shared the stories with their desk mates, and they passed the folded booklets around the room until they got their proverbial fill. Without having to ask them, the students set to work. They began the process of writing their own tales; some summoned storylines from Ghanaian tradition and others based their work on individual accounts of daily life at school and with family. They drafted copies in their personal notebooks as the KG kids watched inquisitively at the door.

In the afternoon we took the Word Book created by Dr. Connor’s third grade students at St. Andrew’s School into Dzidefo’s P2 classroom. This is a new set of students and although they are used to spending time with us at recess, they are eager to get a real taste of our bigger purpose on the campus.

We share the pictures and words, page by page, and Kelvin quizzes the students in the class on the Ewe equivalent for each one. They acknowledge their successes with collaborative and harmonious clapping; the classroom buzzes with a familiar and beloved rhythmic beat. The students are eager and sweet. Their faces glow with smiles and eyes as bright as the markers they use when given the opportunity to create. This is a class of excellent drawers. They focus contentedly and peacefully on making a Word Book to make their friends at St. Andrew’s School proud.

We hear chorus after chorus of “Akpe, akpe, akpe” (thank you, thank you, thank you) as the students leave the classroom at the end of the day. They shake our hands with looks of elation and true satisfaction. It’s official, these are our newest groupies to join the club.