Ghana Team Journal

Bryan's Story

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Each student in Ghanaian public schools is required to wear a uniform, but school fees have been abolished in recent years. Thus any student with enough money for a uniform (about $4) can attend school. That said, there seemed to be lots of a la carte expenses the students had to pay. For example, at the end of the term, in order to take the exams that would secure or deny their promotion to the 7th grade, each student had to pay 20 peswas for the copying of their exam (20 cents).
Victor stays behind during recess to complete his assignment

Christian and Emmanuel work on their Maths

I brought a stack of photos with me to share more about my life in the U.S. with my students. I then used these photos as prompts for a writing exercise. Here Eric writes a paragraph about the photo of my Nephew Jacob eating ice cream

Gladys prepares to ring the bell (analog) for recess. Gladys was one of the students who was obviously hungry each day. Although very bright, she didn't have much energy. During recess I would share my Cliff-bars with her and she would perk right up.

Diku relaxes on a bench during recess

Mavis, Conscious and Abigail

Priscilla learns to throw a frisbee during recess. I brought a frisbee and soccer ball with me for my students to enjoy. The school had only one ball for all 400 students.


Helen during break

The Library at Senchi Ferry Methodist School. The selection of books was very limited, but there were plans to install electricity and install a donated computer. Its a start!

Patricia reads an old favorite

After a snack, Gladys reads during library time - she is puzzling over the concept of "Igloo" (she has never experienced a temperature lower than 75 degrees, so her concept of ice is limited to the freezer at the local market).

Gladys, Esther and Martha

Another wing of the Methodist School

I picked up a soccer ball at Target before leaving for Ghana, and I suspect it was the most popular thing I brought with me (including myself).

Who needs shoes - that is why they call it football!

Moro and Diku


Diku was about 15 and in the sixth grade, so he tended to dominate at recess

Al-Haji, one of the few muslim students in my class, takes a shot on goal

Karen, another volunteer on our team, teaches her 5th graders the Hokey-Pokey

Bryan's Story

Friday, July 10, 2009

Classroom lighting provided by openings in the cinderblock walls

This is the classroom - tin roof, open to the outside on the sides, chalk board

Hagga poses in front of Senchi Ferry Methodist School

Bryan's Story

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mr. Ankamah is a seasoned educator with 35 years of experience teaching in Ghana. He grew up in the region east of Lake Volta, near the border with Togo, but had been teaching in Senchi Ferry for years. Actually, our local group leader, Benjamin, was in Mr. Ankamah's class back in the 6th grade!

I was welcomed into his classroom, and taught all subjects to his sixth graders for three weeks. Mr. Ankamah was present most of the time in the classroom, but on occasion left to attend to other business. My situation was common, in that I was not filling a void in the school's teaching needs, but rather invited in to assist regular teachers already in place. The Global Volunteers model is based firmly on the concept that volunteers work with local partners and participate in a cultural exchange. Thus, none of us was supposed to be working alone. That said, some of our teachers were present less than others.

After the kids got used to me, and I them, I did my best to teach Math, English Grammar, Science, PE, and yes, Ghanaian Citizenship. Each class had a very detailed syllabus, so after studying this and available text-books, I was good to go!

Bryan's Story

Monday, July 6, 2009

“Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.”
- Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary General, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and famous Ghanaian

Although our team worked on multiple projects while in Ghana, most of us were placed in one of three schools in Senchi Ferry - Catholic, Bea Akoto, and Methodist. The denominational names are based on their founding years ago by missionary groups - they are now all part of the public system. From first to seventh grade, we were scattered throughout the community based on need and our preferences. I ended up working at the Methodist School, teaching 6th grade with Mr. Daniel Ankamah..