Our time in Ghana was so packed, I didn’t get to update this as I had planned. Over the next couple of days I hope to catch up a bit.
We headed back to Tema and Community Eleven on Tuesday to meet with the faculty and visit some of the classrooms. We were in for another interesting day.
Students were “writing their exams” on Tuesday as they were approaching their holiday break that began Thursday. Friday was election day so school was going to be closed for that as well. Needless to say we provided quite a distraction as the students were working, but it did not seem to be a problem.
We started with some time sitting and talking with Gift, the Headmistress of Primary School A, and Gifty (spelling?) who was Headmistress of Primary School B and two members of the PTA. They shared information about their student population and the needs of the school. They expressed a desire for a cafeteria space where their students could all sit to eat, a wall to enclose their campus, toys for their kindergarten classes and a printer/copier. The list certainly could have included much more, but these were the things they felt were priority.
We got the full tour of the primary school starting with the youngest and working our way around. In each class Gift addressed the class as we walked in with, “Hello class. How are you?” To which the class would respond in perfect unison, “I’m fine. Thank you. And you?” Very different from entering a class in the states. She then went on to ask each class to sing us a song. Each class chose their own song, some of them sang several. All in English. Well, except maybe one that had some native language mixed in. Everyone sang. Everyone.
We never made it to the junior high side of campus. We kept talking about it, but in the end I guess we just ran out of time. Or maybe they decided that we shouldn’t really interrupt them as they were writing exams. In any case, we spent the day in the lower school.
Once we finished our tour they collected some members of their three soccer teams, two age groups from the primary school and one from the junior high, and had them put on the jerseys and let them play a bit. According to our tour guides, they regularly win the cup in their area. They were certainly good. It was nearly noon and they were playing hard despite the midday sun. The field was entirely dirt and many of the kids played in socks. There were no lines and no nets on the goals, but it was still a beautiful game.
After the game it was almost time for lunch. Students who had wandered out to watch (there seemed to be a lot of freedom for the students to come and go) were hustled back inside to continue working on their exams. We had a little time to sit and talk in the courtyard under the trees. Robyn spoke to a few of the teachers about their required training and I walked across the street with the PTA leaders to meet one of their wives and the other\’s daughter who was in the upper school. The wife was in a partially completed building across the street with another lady who was sewing on an antique sewing machine.
We departed Tema about 1:00 with a lot to think about. In some ways this visit was a culmination of our efforts of the last couple of years, but I also have to look at is as the start of something new. I hope we can continue to work with CESC and find new ways to learn from one another.