Ghana Team Journal

"Spring into Service" in Ghana!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

“Spring into Service” with Global Volunteers to receive a special limited discount offer for our March and April teams!

Four or more volunteers who apply by January 31 for any of these 28 teams in 16 countries will receive a discount of $200 off our standard service program fee, per volunteer, for one-, two- or three-week international programs or $100 off our standard service program fee, per volunteer, for USA programs. No other discounts apply.

Please encourage others to volunteer in our five fundamental project areas: education (especially promotion of girls education), labor and community infrastructure, health care, child care, and food and nutrition.

Call us at 800-487-1074 for details and we'll assist you every step of the way. Our worldwide host communities can’t wait to welcome you!!

Check out this link for more details & service program dates:

Ghana Service Program Dates, March & April Teams:
23-Apr-11 to 14-May-11

Team Journal, November 19 ~ The Final Day

Friday, November 19, 2010

Team Journal ~ New Akrade, Ghana

Friday, November 19, 2010

First thing this a.m., we had a ceremony where we presented the Mayor of New Akrade with the donations of school supplies and outdoor equipment. Everyone was delighted!

In my honor, the Jr High held a “quiz show”. I was the scorekeeper. Each grade picked 3 of its best students. Jemima was the emcee with Sydney keeping time and sounding the “buzzer” which was the school bell. He was so cute and funny because he was very serious about it and would cut students’ responses off very quickly with the bell. The students and I really enjoyed his performance! Such fun! Each team had a different cheer! The “Warriors” won with the other 2 teams doing a great job too.

After the game, I was presented with several certificates of thanks and a play by a Ghanaian author.

My leaving is bittersweet as it’s time to get back to my family but I also regretted having to leave all the wonderful friends and students.

A few quotes in honor of our experience in Ghana:

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember that you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~ Harriet Tubman

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. ~ Mahatma Ghandi

It’s never too late to be what you might have been. ~ George Eliot

Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough; money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So spread your love everywhere you go. ~ Mother Teresa

Vote for Global Volunteers!

Global Volunteers is engaged in a contest entitled 'Full Page Project' - put on by the Star Tribune newspaper in the Twin Cities - through November 21 amongst Minnesota non-profits and the winner will receive a free full page ad in an upcoming addition of the Sunday paper!

Please vote for us this week ~ you can vote once per hour!

Here is the link where you can register and then vote for Global Volunteers (please copy and paste the link):

We would also encourage you to pass this link along to your family and friends, colleagues, classmates or students, and post it on your personal Facebook page or blog if you are able. Let us know if you have any questions, and remember voting goes until 5 p.m. Sunday!

Thank you for your support.

Team Journal, November 15 & 17

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Team Journal ~ New Akrade, Ghana

Monday, November 15, 2010

The students began working on their pen pal letters today. We had a slow start as I had to explain the concept to them. Many great letters were written. More letters will be written at the primary school tomorrow. I also organized school donations and labeled boxes for Esther. ~ Kem

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I spent the day helping with math and visiting the primary school. The 4th grade teacher, Susie, graciously agreed to assist with the pen pal letters. ~ Kem

Team Journal, November 12

Friday, November 12, 2010

Team Journal ~ New Akrade, Ghana

Friday, November 12, 2010

Colleen and Kinjil came back to the Jr High today to play BINGO with the 8th graders. Early in the day, a woman came by selling cloth. Christian’s wife is a seamstress. I loved some green fabric. So, Joseph and I walked to Mavis’s shop where she measured me for a skirt. Well, when I got back Colleen and Kinjil wanted one! So, we made several trips to the seamstress.

The three of us showed the teachers the Electric Slide. Also, they hear the children having so much fun with BINGO, now, they want to play. Friday is a short school day as they have “game day.” I took 3 frisbees for the students to use.

All of the team except for Yvonne and me are leaving in the morning, so we had a ceremony tonight. We were so pleased to see many of the teachers and construction workers! Bless prepared a delicious dinner consisting of rice, fried chicken, and salad. Bless is a great cook - the food is all organic, no preservatives, and tasty.

Team Journal, November 8

Monday, November 8, 2010

Team Journal ~ New Akrade, Ghana

Monday, November 8, 2010

We were cheered to see Esther at breakfast. She always has a way of making us laugh.

Five of us (Colleen, Carolyn, Diane, Kate, and Kinjil) headed for construction. They are all excited to see the progress made-the first floor of the school addition is completed along the perimeter and the inner walls are now being constructed. Our “construction crew” is anxious to make more progress before Friday as no more work will be done until new volunteers arrive.

Nancy and Jasmine had a wonderful time in the second grade class. Nancy felt having Jasmine in the class was a big positive as the children received more attention. The students were more focused.

Angie and Travis were in the 4th grade class. Angie is moving from the combative and ferocious 5 year olds! The new class is more structured and the students more disciplined. Angie will be teaching math and English tomorrow and is glad to be able to relate better with the students.

Fred and I were back at the Jr High. Fred enjoyed sitting with the students during classes. We both listened to lectures on chastity and commitment.

Day Six

Friday, November 5, 2010

Today was hot, first instance of going outside the sun and the humidity just struck us heavily. We headed to work in the morning. It was a hard day for us all of us were just drained. After lunch it was pouring outside so we weren’t able to tutor the children. When the rain let up we headed out to the chief’s museum in New Akrade. There wasn’t much compared to museums at home, BUT when you saw the pride in the coordinators face it was uplifting. When we got back a lady had dropped off some of her crafts which included fabrics, clothing, wallets, and other goods. I was preparing for bed when a question struck me…”How do you feel connected with the team?” I think it’s like an energy that draws us to this one instance. We’re all here with many goals and purposes BUT were here as people, humans. We’ve done so much in so little time. I honestly want to say….I don’t want to lose contact with these amazing people. TODAY was a good day!


Today was amazing had a good night sleep. So in the morning I was chipper and ready for the day. Worked at the construction site which was hard work a lot of lifting and carrying things like water, soil, and rocks. It was great everyone missed Carolyn (aka trouble that’s the nickname they gave her). joked and laughed a lot today. After work went to the arts and crafts market it was great got a lot of stuff for people back at home and for myself. Had an early dinner because of our early morning to Cape Coast 5:00 am sharp. Ready for the emotional part of it to see where it all began and ended until tomorrow.


Angie, Kem, Fred & I rode in the taxi to the school this morning. We arrived earlier than usual and saw all of the children, Kindergarten through Junior High, standing in lines on the field listening to the headmaster. This is their student assembly that happens every Thursday morning and it is a sea of royal blue uniforms in the middle of the brown field. Then the drumming started and one class at a time they started singing Ghana’s national anthem and marched to their classrooms. I love hearing them sing – it is a beautiful, rich sound.

The Kindergarten classroom was as chaotic as usual. With 63 children ages 4-9 in one small room, it is difficult for them to keep their hands to themselves. Angie & I refereed as best we could. We had brought Kem’s ipod and player for the children to hear the “Apples & Bananas” song they learned yesterday. The children love that song! We also taught them “This Little Light of Mine” and “BINGO” (which the kids also loved). Their bright smiles are priceless.

It was very hot and humid today so the whole team seemed to be dragging a bit as we walked back for lunch. The tutoring was cancelled for the afternoon because of a thunder storm (the tutoring is outside under a tree) so we had some time to rest in the afternoon.

At 4:00 we walked to the Chief’s History Museum at the Palace. We unintentionally gathered children as we walked along and as we waited at the Palace for the Mayor to show us around the museum, we heard the children singing the Apples & Bananas song! Angie, Jasmine & I were so surprised to hear them singing our song. We had actually taught them something!!

The museum was small but interesting. The highlights were: two big buckets that the ancestors used to descend from heaven, the chief’s warrior coat with little mirrors all over it so he can see his enemies from all angles and a contraption that looked like a large baby cradle that the Chief sits in to ride to the annual festival. Four men carry him; two on each side.
After another nice dinner, some team members played “name that tune” with the songs on Travis’s phone. Listening to their laughter, I feel very grateful for the wonderful people on this team.

- Colleen

Day Five

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Today I woke up not feeling so well. My head was out of place and my body was as well. I decided to catch up on sleep and take a multivitamin - it worked! I feel better and more alive. I came in for lunch and everyone asked how I was doing. We headed up to tutoring and instead of reading Yvonne and I took a walk to explore. the people are wonderful and we discovered another school. I picked flowers for Esther who hadn't received flowers before. After tutoring we headed to Aksombo Hotel - what a view! Beautiful dam and nature around it. I had been requested to take a picture with "Doc" a novelty dwarf from the 7 dwarfs. I did take a couple picture - I also got a shot of him as a "ladies man" with all the women of the group. Today was a good day.


Today was a tiresome day- really hot but it’s part of the work. The children are so wonderful , they come up with hugs and waves brighten my day. Got to see the Ghana museum which was nice we will have an early dinner which is good… we get a night to relax. Tomorrow morning back to work but in the afternoon we go to the arts and crafts market which I’m excited for. Saturday is Cape Coast. A week is over. one more to go. I will miss Africa very much!


Today felt like a turning point on so many levels, perhaps for the most part due to our incredible time of sharing over dinner last night. That dinner felt like a pivotal time for us as a team, and most assuredly for me personally. I arrived at breakfast, feeling raw and exposed, and simultaneously feeling supported and more importantly supporting - because I know for a fact that I was not the only one who felt raw and exposed. This knowledge made me feel closer to the entire group and even more grateful to be here.

After our egg white frittata and two very enjoyable cups of coffee, off we headed to venture to say was our hottest day so far. This trip to date has been all about learning, and this morning's lesson was blatant: When in Ghana, do as the Ghanaian's do! I say this because when we arrived at our construction site, feeling invigorated and keen and somewhat smug about the wall that we had managed to erect during the previous morning. But alas, not only were the tasks that we had left half completed the day before now finished but it appeared that there was absolutely no role for us as this work day began! With our North American mentality far from aborted, we asked, questioned and almost begged "What can we do?" And when the response continued to be nothing as the wooden molds were being constructed by only two of the men we felt useless and I dare say, disappointed. But one side of me kept noticing one thing - all of the young men from Ghana, who were not constructing the molds were not only accepting that they had no task, but they were taking advantage of the idle time by lying in the shade and resting. There was a moment when I realized they were preserving their energy for what was to come. And so I repeat: When in Ghana, do as the Ghananians do! By 10am, we were shoveling sand and cement and stones in order to mix what was needed to pour the pillars, and by 10:30 we were carrying bowls of water on our heads from their water reservoir to the site of the school addition, and I think I speak for all of us in construction when I say I have a new found respect for the women of this culture who carry so much more on their heads with never a spill. By the time we left to walk home at noon, we were physically exhausted, sunburned, starving, thirsty and very much in need of not only lunch but a good, long shower. In our many moments of leisure before the workday escalated, we had the pleasure of watching our teammates as they taught classes, resolved conflicts among fighting children, and assisted the nurses as they gave shots and Vitamin A supplement to the children. Ahhhh.....what a difference we are making in this community! I think I finally experienced a moment of truly appreciating that knowledge this morning. Lunch was early, I was late. I hate being late, but this time is all about stepping out of my comfort I chose instead to enjoy my sticky rice ball dipped into my bowl of curried chicken and soak in the company of my table mates.

Tutoring under the big tree today felt calmer, perhaps because the intense heat affected not only our energy level, but also those of the children. One young boy at my table actually put his head down and slept for almost the entire hour.

Out time at the Voltare hotel was fun - some good conversations with our ever evolving and endearing friends and a chance for many of us to touch base with our loved ones at home. We arrived back for dinner with a sense that we had all been old friends for years. And such is the formula for a perfect day: hard work, an unexpected lesson, good food, the touch of an innocent child, laughter and good conversation, and the trust and support of new and old friends. It was a perfect day.

- Carolyn

Day Four

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What a day! Construction was hot, but I was able to teach others in our group to do the rectangle brackets for the rebar structures. Later in the evening we introduced ourselves to the group. We all had powerful emotions. I loved everyone's purpose for being her. One, woman, named Carolyn from Canada is someone who works with Special Ed students and contributes her time and money to youth in trouble. I expressed my gratitude and cried, saying how wonderful she is. I have a lot of respect for her. Today was a very good day.


Carolyn's response to Travis:
I thought a lot about how profoundly moved I was by Travis' words this evening. We touched each others lives tonight.

What Travis does not realize is that I went to my room after lunch, saddened and feeling lonely and unappreciated, I think because I have not had any contact with my loved ones since I arrived. What you did for me tonight, Travis, could not have happened on a better day. I needed to hear what you said! Everything happens for a reason. Travis, never forget that!

Today was a successful day. I worked construction and got four walls with four layers. It was good and I felt proud of our team. Tonight at dinner we went around the table to share a little about ourselves which was great. We have only been with each other for three days and everyone was so open with each other. Most here were crying – it was amazing. This will be a trip to remember! Ester brought her son, he was so cute. Little Yow. Tomorrow I will teach kindergarten, I am ready!


I am humbled after only a few days of being here. In fact, I was humbled when I arrived at the airport. I have no concept of date or time, but I know right now is the time for all of us to be here. Dinner was delicious, from fresh tilipia, homemade peanut brittle - and the popcorn we have come to know and love after only 2 days. After dinner we all discussed why we are really here. Perhaps the note card exercise should be repeated after the first few days. We think we know why we came until now. Now we know. We're here to serve. We're here to support - we are in fact here to lend a hand. We extend ourselves out to the community, to each other, to the world. And almost immediately, if not instantly a hand reached out to us as well. I am humbled to be here. We know why we have come.

- Kate

Day Three

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

“Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that can.” – Margaret Mead

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you will look back and discover they were the big things”

What a great day. We toured New Akrade and Senchi Ferry. We saw the schools and the clinic. We got to work today at the construction site. We were moving construction blocks. After work we were welcomed by the Senchi Ferry chiefs and community. I give appreciation to the librarian due to the fact that he has volunteered his time for 2 years and 8 months. His goal being to teach the children the world through books. Love for Ghana!

- Travis

Today we got to see the village. It was awesome – and walking was good too. I have got to get used to the neat people here, they are so nice and say hello everytime you pass and also get a lot of smiles. We worked for an hour today – I picked up a brick then I was called over to help make the rectangle holders for the pillars around 4pm. We are working on building a new school. We went to the neighboring village of Senchi Ferry to meet the Queen Mother, chiefs and mayor. The ceremony was so great we got to dance and I liked it very much. Starting to miss my family and friends but all over a great day.


We had a lovely day. We walked around Senchi Ferry and New Akrade and toured all the schools and visited the new clinic and library that Ghanaians and Global Volunteers helped build alongside the local Ghanaian people. We also visited the very friendly mayor and saw the magistrate court. Some of us got to meet the classrooms and teachers that we will be working with. Some of our group helped with the construction of a two story addition to the school. We were invited to a community meeting and celebration where the Queen Mother, Chiefs and teachers of Senchi Ferry welcomed us with warmth, kindness and open arms.

- Nancy

Day Two

Sunday, October 31, 2010

We’re on our way!! Ten hours later though a rough night of no sleep we had arrived and met Esther. We had traveled to St James Guest house and met Amo, another amazing man.


Today was a wonderful day. We met Esther finally and she was great and so, so sweet. Went to our welcome ceremony and there we met the people of the village and also the chiefs, mayor and the Queen Mother. They sang and danced for us and gave us a big welcome. I’m so happy to be here, it is a great honor. Later we shall have dinner and cool off until tomorrow. I have signed up for construction for now, can’t wait to teach too!


An Inroduction

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Sauer Children’s Renew Foundation has partnered with Global Volunteers to engage at risk youth in the Twin Cities in international service work. The goal of this partnership is to provide a life changing experience to youth here in Minnesota by engaging them in community development work. The hope is that by making an impact in someone else’s life and being provided the opportunity to contribute to the world that they too will be able to realize their own potential, through service. The following blog entries detail their journey in Ghana, along with the rest of the Global Volunteers’ team.

My name is Jasmine. I live at The Bridge for Homeless Youth and I don’t get along with my parents very will. I was abused from the time I was 11 until I was 16 which made things very difficult in my life. I wasn’t ready to deal with it so I acted out, my parents couldn’t handle the way I was acting so I got kicked out of my house and couch hopped for about two years. I finally contacted the Bridge and was accepted into the program a month later and have been living there ever since.

Akwaba! Welcome to my description of me. Wofe me Travis. That means my name is Travis. I am 20 years old and happy to be. I am a very outgoing person that can make people laugh. I have funny remarks and lots of knowledge. If I don’t know it, I want to learn it. I have a very big hear that at times is shadowed. My mind is set on a lot of helpful things AND self goals. One of my goals now is to set a footprint in the world and I am working on it now. I go with the flow of life and energy.

Day One

Friday, October 29, 2010


Mostly the perfect words to describe it. The first day we had started off great! When we left New York though…we had to trun around due to mechanical failure. Sadly, we had to spend another night in New York.


Today was the day we set off for Africa, it was great. Didn’t get much sleep but I was excited we were on our flight to Ghana finally after being delayed two hours….then got an hour and a half into the flight and had to turn around. We got a hotel and had to leave the next day at 4pm. Let’s hope all goes well!


Reflecting on the School & our new Friends...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Team Journal ~ October 21, 2010

Written by: Volunteer Kathleen

Quote for the day: "We will all be together when we reach common ground." ~ From a song we sing at First Unitarian Society in Minneapolis.

Before going in to my second grade classroom, I take a little tour of the grounds of Beatrice Akoto School. There are two one-story buildings with classrooms for students from grades one through six. There are two small buildings away off which I imagine are latrines. Garbage burns in a corner of the yard. Sometimes I see the older children “cutting” the area grass with yard-long machetes.

The office—the wonderful office: two of the ever popular molded plastic stacking chairs, a table and two or three stacks of books on the ground. All this is under one of the big sheltering mango trees. What a dream office!

Madam Rhoda wears dresses made of the colorful African fabric, some traditional style, some not—but all tailor made for her. Even the students’ uniforms, brown and peach and yellow, are made by a seamstress, pants for the boys, skirts for the girls. No “off the rack” for Ghanians, at least not in this village.

There seems to be no concept of stealing here. Madam R’s purse hangs on the back of her chair most of the time half open, her cell phone and money on the desk. Esther tells me that if someone finds money or anything else not belonging to them, they must try hard to find the owner. If that proves impossible, the finder must give the money to charity. And this is not a land of plenty. Every piece of paper, every worn down pencil (sharpened by its owner with a razor blade), every bit of eraser is precious.

The path to school today is surprisingly dry; only larger puddles remain after yesterday morning’s deluge. The rain has cooled the air somewhat—more so yesterday when some kids were wearing hooded sweat jackets. One boy was wearing an enormous Air Force Academy sweatshirt.

The second graders on their way to the classroom from morning assembly in the yard race to meet me and see who will carry my books to my chair/office where a nail has recently been appropriated to hang my backpack.

Madam Rhoda is not here today — at a class or meeting, the headmistress tells me. Madam Rita wearing an Afro-print pantsuit will help me. She has a class of her own in the next room. She starts the children on mathematics “Applying the Properties of Addition.” After board work, from the supply cabinet textbooks are passed around. The children don’t write in these books though they are intended to be workbooks. They write only in their personal notebooks. These very much used textbooks, the class textbook are not to be folded back; the book spines must be protected from wearing as much as possible.

During the board work, the kids often clap for a fellow student’s right answer or the whole class claps for itself. It is a rhythmic clapping—one two, one two three, one. I like it. I think it encourages the kids the shared moment.

For English we work on phonics (letter sounds) from pictures in the textbook, again writing only in the individual’s notebook. I read a story in the primary English book and the children read back to me. I ask them to write six nouns and six verbs (desk work). Then I grade the kids’ verb and noun lists. With a little help, they all got 100% A+. Not being the real teacher or a professional, I could be somewhat relaxed.

The teachers gather and eat oranges during the recess. Later when the students are quietly doing desk work, a mama goat with two babies comes to eat the orange seeds thrown out the door and the babies even dare to snatch some under Madam Rhoda’s desk chair.

After lunch at the villa, Esther arranges for Michael to take Madeleine, Betty, and me to the Thursday market. I think it safe to say we all three had a marvelous time seeing the many and varied venders and buying some things African to remember our tour here in Senchi Ferry and to take home for friends.

Letters from Ghana

You may have seen these images if you follow us on Facebook. But, for those who prefer to check the Ghana blog for info and updates, here's your chance to view some of the greatest penpal letters ever! A number students in Ghana have been writing with students in Minnesota and their sentiments are beyond heart warming ~ not to mention our pride in their excellent English skills!! Read on & enjoy.

Teaching & Touring!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Team Journal ~ October 14, 2010

Written by: Volunteer Madeleine

Quote of the Day: "Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace." ~ Albert Schweitzer

I read the story of the tortoise to the class. We then began discussing the moral of the story: greed and selfishness. A good class discussion. Then we did the recall questions. We also discussed and compared Ghana with the U.S.A., capital, regions, states, and countries. They were quite good in social studies.

Second period there were five questions on the board. They were to choose one and write a paper. This was their exercise. They were given until 9:25 to finish the paper. Then they were collected. I asked the class to help grade. Grading was like 30/30. Nothing was given below 3 ½ over 30. After the exercise and the papers were collected, I stayed in the room with then until the class was over. They came and went. I guess to use the restroom facilities or just visited with other. They were not as loud as some of the other classes.

Third period the science class came in. They were supposed to be studying for their science exam. Their teacher had not yet come in. When he came in, he wrote the exam questions on the board. Most of the students were studying at their desks. Some were at the board working math problems. I guess this is considered study hall. Before the exam, the bell was ringing for the break for 20 minutes.

At 1:00 p.m. the taxi picked us up at the arts and crafts market at Aburi which was about 3 hours away. The drive was glorious through the beautiful countryside as we drove up and up through the mountains. We passed beautiful tropical trees: pineapple, mango, and banana. We passed beautiful churches—Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian,. The missionaries did their job well. Lush grasses, beautiful flowers.

We passed many villages with their share of everyday goods. Some of the roads (highways) were quite good. After about an hour and a half we arrived at the arts and crafts market where there were beautiful hand made carvings. Behind the shops one could watch the artisans as they created their own works of art. They used kisi shoe polish to add an extra luster to the statues. There were beautiful beads all made by the owners of the shops. Bargaining was expected, and prices were quite good. Also, the workmanship was good. The shop owners were very friendly wanting you to look at their wares.

On our way home, we observed on our way home, there were some very beautiful homes and gardens. Probably the rich owned them. There were many people in the villages that we passed. People were everywhere. The Ghanian people were very well dressed regardless of what they were doing. Some were even chopping weeds in their yards in their nice clothes. As we traveled through the countryside we saw the same type of uniforms that we see in our school.

Orientation - "If we went home today, the trip would be worth it!"

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Team Journal - October 10, 2010

Written by: Volunteer Betty

Quote of the Of Day: "In the final analysis, our most common link is that we inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future, and we are all mortal." ~ John F. Kennedy

After breakfast, we traveled to the St. James guest house while we enjoyed the sights and sounds of Sunday in Ghana. We saw many people in their beautiful authentic colorful dresses. Others were carrying baskets of fruit on top of their heads. We listened to praise mujsic on the radio while visiting some with Eric and Vincent. People were selling watermelons, tomatoes, cocoanuts, pottery, and other things.

After lunch we participated in team building exercises. The three categories that evolved for our purposes to be here were these: 1. to help the children, 2. to encourage our own personal growth, and 3. to learn about the Ghanaian culture.

We found the guest house to be clean, comfortable, and attractive.

After walking to the palace in Senchi Ferry, we had the experience of a lifetime being welcomed by the tribal chief, the queen mother, and many major leaders of the community. We met some of the teachers and heard speeches of welcome. They were all dressed in native costumes and tribal robes.

One man told the story of this golf staff which was important to every formal occasion. It included a carving of a man climbing a tree—but he needed help—signifying that we all are in need of each other. It indicates that we are all on this earth as one.

They invoked the memory of their ancestors with an alcoholic drink poured. One unusual happening was when the serious, revered tribal chief answered his cell phone!

We have now begun to test our taste buds with the spices of Ghana mixed with rice or pasta. If I went home today, the trip would be worth it!

September 10, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thank you!

September 9, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Prepared by Kevin

Quote of the day:
“And we find at the end of a perfect day, The soul of a friend we’ve made.” -Carrie Jacobs Bond

We headed out to see the monkeys and the waterfall. The ride to the monkey sanctuary was smooth, compared to what was to come. It took awhile to find the monkeys, but once we located them it was a wonderful experience. The monkeys were willing to approach us as long as we have bananas. Since Tim and I ate 1 banana each and Jessica decided to feed 5 bananas to the monkeys, we ran out of bananas rather quickly. We tried to offer banana nut cereal bar to the monkeys, but they did not fall for it.

After spending almost 2 hrs at the sanctuary, we headed out to the waterfall. The drive itself was an adventure. With all the bumps on the road, I’m surprise the axel and the shocks are not damaged. The car bumped along for few hours and when we finally got there, we had sandwiches for lunch. The 45 minute walk to the waterfall was very peaceful with a soothing sound of the running water in the background. As we walked, we counted down on the bridges that we had to cross. As soon as we crossed the 9th bridge, the view was breath taking. After numerous picture shots, all of us decided to follow Samuel into the water. The cooling mist as well as the view of the bats made the trek worthwhile. It started to pour as we headed back to the car for another bumpy ride back to the hotel. We made it back just in time for dinner. Except for Kathleen who was not feeling well, the team finished eating dinner in 20 minutes. This was followed up with another Ice cream party.

September 8, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Prepared by Jessica

“The morning is wiser than the evening”. Russian Proverb

Sadly to say….. a few more days until we leave our friends in Senchi-Ferry. Walking thru our daily trail to the library, it is such a joy to see the locals and animals especially my adopted “GOATS” giving us their morning greetings. This is a moment I will be thinking about when I am back to the noisy morning rush hour of New York City.

Library, Library, Library… Just seeing the children room has displayed books and puzzles onto the wood shelves. I must say it’s almost coming into place. Under Samuel’s direction Lu decided to categorize Mathematics textbooks in order. What a project for the day! Looks presentable. I can image the children are picking up these textbooks and doing super well on their Math scores.

An hour and so, Gerard & Katy has joined in and working on the adult room with a help from Young Tim. It is so nice to see everybody has been chipping in the labor work.

Tick Tock- 12 pm--- “ LUNCH” Katy suggested us to pass by a religious monument and will be an interesting place to check out. So, we did and it doesn’t looks like I am in Sechi-Ferry. We would definitely recommend the next group to go see it along with a brisk walk with termite hills back to St.James.

September 7, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Prepared by Tim

Quote of the day – “I finally figured out the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it.” ~ Rita Mae Brown

Group #99 - Senchi Ferry
1 – Computer class with 14 – 16 kids using one laptop (Unacceptable)
2 – Kids learning how to crop & edit pictures. (Delightful)
3 – Off Day from yard work. Giving us a much needed break . (Exhilarating)
4 – Washing the floor, cleaning the shelves, and stacking the books. (Satisfying)
5 – Jessica & Christina – Dancing during break time (Entertaining)

@ Cede’s Bead Shop
1 to 2 cedis for a single bracelet
400 bracelets purchased (Empty Wallets)
8 Free bracelets at the end of the day.

September 6, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Prepared by Katy

Quote of the day: “A pessimist, they say, sees a glass of water as being half empty; an optimist sees the same glass as half full. But a giving person sees a glass of water and starts looking for someone who might be thirsty.” ~G.Thomas Gale

Labor Day--Hard sleep--Light rain--Breakfast comfort--Hot coffee--Journal catchup--Fictitious fun--Journal joking--Esther scolding--Dream sharing--Malarone blaming--Smaller team--Missed companions--Familiar walk--Maa kye--Yaa ena--Fewer children--Dust shelves--Sweep floors--Computer classes--Pickax swinging--Rock Breaking--Shovel scrapping--Water chugging--Soapy mopping--Clean room--Soon, books--Baby goat--Crazy Obronis--Warm shower--Rice beans--Van ride--“Believe God”--Money out--Curvy road--
Busy streets--Heavy rain--Craft Market--Drop off--Steep steps--Wood carving--Large drum--Machete bite--Toilet search--Endless shops--“Power House”--Statue drop--Bruised foot--Many sales--Heavy bags--Empty wallets--Wet pavement--Wawa trees--Green hills--Red earth--Real Africa--Team 99--Giving 100--Post Script--Dinner Discussion--Family calling--Home missing--Mosquito biting--Journal writing--To live--To sleep

September 5, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Prepared by Mickey

Quote of the day: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have a potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia

We started the day with a hot model named Eric who served us breakfast while his also very good looking brother cooked us breakfast. That definitely put a smile on all of the girls face, especially me.

Vincent, our very shy and quiet driver took us to the Kakum National Park. Right before we entered the park, Cristina and Jessica had to use the bathroom. So they decided to use the bathroom right in front of everyone showing their bare bottoms, which brighten up the guys’ day. As soon as we walked into the park, we saw the restroom.

We did the canopy walk and nature walk. The canopy walk was a lot of fun. It almost felt like we were Tarzan swinging/walking on trees. The nature walk was interesting and informative until we all got attacked by angry ants. At the end of our walks, Kevin and Cris bought fruits off the street even though Esther warned us to never buy anything on the streets.

There is only one main road that all the vehicles take, and the street is always filled with people trying to sell goods. It took us almost 6 hours to get back to the guesthouse due to the heavy traffic. On our way back, Gerard thought he saw Citibank and Jessica thought she saw someone with bread. We were obviously a little delirious from being inside the van most of the day.

We got to see more of Ghana this weekend and it was fun, but we missed the children and cannot wait to start the second work week volunteering at the library.

September 4, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Prepared by Gerard

The day began at 5am with a 4 ½ hour bus ride to Cape Coast. We arrived at 9:30am at the Cape Coast Slave castle. Here we had a glance of the reality regarding the transatlantic slave trade. Each room we viewed told us a horrific story. You could still smell death in the castle. To think humans allowed this behavior was overwhelming. The best part of the tour was our guide. He blamed all humanity for these acts and was more focused on sending a positive message to all visitors.

After the tour, we decided to explore. To our surprise our former group of volunteers we said our tearful goodbyes less than 24 hrs ago pulled up in front of us. It has shown us how small of a world we live in.

Next up was Elmina slave castle. Most of the group was emotionally drained from the first castle so they decided to pass. This castle was the largest transatlantic slave castle in the world. During the tour I could not help to find it bizarre that there were churches residing on the compounds next to all the evil.

After our informative afternoon of history, it was time to shower and head to dinner at coconut grove. The setting was amazing between the sounds of the ocean waves crashing, beach view, and great company of new and old friends.

Expanding our horizons from Senchi Ferry allowed us to discover how precious the village we are helping really is. This adds to my appreciation of my time here more and more.

September 3, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Prepared by Cristina

Quote of the Day: “Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God’s best gifts. It involves many things, but above all, the power of getting out of one’s self and appreciating. Whatever is noble and loving. Thomas Hughes

Fifth day of labor in the library. Morale is high but it seems like the work is never ending. Since day 2, we were told that the book covering assignment is DONE. But, every day we get MORE boxes to do. We suspect that Samuel inspects our book covering job for Quality Control and remove the covers from those that didn’t pass for us to redo. This has to be the explanation for the additional boxes to be done. It’s Ok because there are those that enjoy wrapping them. The ground around the septic tank needed to be leveled. Kevin, young Tim, and Gerard were at it. The girls took turns with the shoveling after Samuel and young Tim has broken the dirt. Kevin and Gerard took turn wheeling the dirt. The apron duty was also still in progress. Carl, Patty and Katie helped carry the cement to the masons. THE SUN WAS BEAMING ON US. The phrase “for the kids, for the kids, for the kids” was playing over and over in my head for motivation. The electrolyte drinks and power bars also helped. The kids being there as distractions made a tangible reminder of the purpose for the labor. Mickey and Bev faced their challenge for another of teaching 20 or so enthusiastic children learn how to use a computer WITH ONLY 2 laptops to work with. The others that were wrapping books were again told that book wrapping is finally done.

Samuel had a treat for us. It was a hike to the river to venture on the history of Senchi-Ferry. It was sad to hear how the building of the bridge led to the FALL OF THE SENCHI Empire. We saw remnants of the old hotel that used to lodge travelers that would visit the town for business or leisure. We also hiked through a cassava and banana plantation.

Throughout the whole day, we carried a sad burden of knowing that part of our group will be returning for home. We have enjoyed each other’s company so much that we are dreading saying goodbye. Patty gave a speech about how fulfilling their volunteer experience was and how the young ones have inspired them. After group pictures, Patty had a prayer for our continued success with the library and for the health and safety for the remaining volunteers. While seeing the Minnesota group off, Jessica and I expressed how we felt that they portrayed what Gerard wrote as one of our purpose of being volunteers which is “TO LIVE”. These beautiful people raised their families, held their careers and had their share of sorrows but have LIVED FULLY by not confining themselves in a box. THEY GOT OUT AND SAW THE WORLD and learned how other people live their lives. There were tears all around. It was hard saying good bye to them. We pray for their safe journey home.

September 2, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Prepared by Carl and Bev

Quote: “One cannot pay in gratitude; One can only pay ‘in Kind’ somewhere else in life. “ - Ann Morrow lindberg

This morning our team gathered again for breakfast. It is so pleasing and amazing that 15 very different and all different ages people have come together to help the Senchi-Ferry community build a library for the children. It has been such “fun” working together. Today we varnished the library shelves, mixed concrete, helped lay tiles, taught computer skills and read to the kids, Oh, and less we forget, we covered many-many more books. It was very sunny today. It is also Ramadan; the young Muslim laborers would not eat or drink water. It is so nice to see Muslims, Methodist, Catholics, and all religious people work together and respect each others’ view in Ghana.

After lunch, we headed back to the Library for more working and fun. This afternoon, Samuel, our boss, the Librarian said we could not let the kids help. I think he inspected so of the boxes. He said the kiddies could just watch us cover the books in plastics. Speaking of Samuel, some of his funny saying to the kids have been, “if you are not good, I’ll put you in the library prison and the monkey will get you. Our 2 nurses Carol and Cristina had a tour of the medical clinic and found it very nice.

We cleaned up and some of the team wore their newly purchased custom made clothing. Gerard called his new attire “African Sheek”. Off we went by tro-tro to the New Akrade community center for our night of peaceful, relaxing musical interlude- Drums and Dancing. As the performance started, we looked around and found ourselves surrounded by the local people and children. GREAT! A large audience to watch “the obroni’s” We were invited to learn a few simple steps. Needless to say, we looked like we had just learned how to walk, let alone dance.

It was a great last night for us old timers who have to leave tomorrow. What wonderful experience to leave the people of Senchi-Ferry alongside some of finest young people this old timer has ever met.

September 1, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Prepared by Betty

Another great day with the people in the village and our team members. A lot of hard work was being done by the villagers and the volunteers; back filling the septic tank , sealed the book shelves, wrapping more books helping the kids with computers and, of course, playing with kids. Mickey brought a soccer ball and Tim had a couple of Frisbees, while Kathleen was having kids draw and color. There was also paper airplanes making and flying and Patty showed the kids how to make paper cootie catchers, A fun and productive day was had by all. After a late lunch, the group decided it was time for a night out so we went to Akosombo to the Volta hotel for some swimming and a what was supposed to be a nice quiet dinner. The dining room over looks over the scenic vista of Lake Volta. We talk about the day and such but our quiet dinner went bye-bye after old Tim read a poem he had composed for the team and a couple of our resident comedians got rolling. Back to St. James and sleep.

August 31, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Prepared by Gary

Quote for the day: “Whom have I served during my waking hours of this day.” Fr. Dave Kohner

The younger volunteers from the east coast continued the hard concrete work. No key available to get water so they pumped water out of the new septic tank. YUK, but creative. Of course it hadn’t been used yet. Another day at the library covering books for the village and its children. The children enjoyed cutting and handing over the tape to us. One girl about 11 years old would watch me so close and hand me the tape before I asked for it, I told Tim that she will be a great nurse or dental assistant because she would give the doctors their instruments before they would ask for them, and everything done with a beautiful smile. We finished up at 4pm and went over to the queens’ palace where she served us some ice cream. The children were in the door way so I motioned them in and proceeded to feed six children my ice cream. Their mouths were open like little chicks in a nest waiting their turn. They said they loved the ice cream but not near as much as I loved feeding it to them.

As I looked around at the village elders and the children’s parents, I could see the enjoyment in their faces as we worked with and played with the children. The children were having so much fun and we were working at their future library. We have been in other developing countries but I felt so much safer and more loved from the people of Ghana and especial the people of Senchi-Ferry. I could also see first hand that the Global Volunteer staff from Ghana, Esther and Amo, Katie from St. Paul and Kathleen, from Boston, truly enjoy this project, the people, the volunteers and the communities they serve.

August 30, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Prepared by Carol

Quote for the day: “Accept the things to which fate binds you. And love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart. “ -Marcus Aurelius

We begin our day with a good breakfast. This is our first day of work and we are excited to begin. We arrive at the library after a walk through part of the village. The children yell “Obruni”, as we pass. Samuel is in charge of the library and shows us how to wrap books. Several people begin sanding shelves and they sand all the shelves. Samuel’s dedication to the library and the children is amazing. Kevin, Girard and Tim worked very hard on the apron and made great progress. They plan to complete it this trip!

The book wrappers are surrounded by children in a short time. They are so anxious to help and didn’t get bored handing us tape. We return to the Guesthouse for a delicious lunch of rice, Red-Red and plantain with a dessert of Oreos. Amo, Esther’s assistant, has his first Oreo; he said it made him sweat.

Then the seamstress came and people ordered dresses, shirts and bags. We return to the library to wrap books and reluctantly stop so we can go for a boat ride on the Volta River. We travel by tro-tro to the Continental Hotel to board the boat. The boat stops running at 5 pm, we are too late, maybe another day. We tour the grounds and see the crocodiles, cranes, peacocks, and monkeys. We stay and have something to drink; a very nice time and a break from our work. We return by tro-tro to the Guest house for dinner. Good food again with popcorn for dessert. We say goodnight, feeling accomplishment and ready to begin tomorrow.

August 29, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Prepared by Pat

Quote for the day: “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” Albert Schweitzer

After a long night for Esther, waiting and picking up people from the airport at all hours, we all leave for Senchi-Ferry. It’s our first day we’re meeting the children. It’s what I’ve been waiting most to see! The drive from Accra was an eyeful and hard to look at, similar to other developing countries. But there were still smiles, warm welcomes and a sense of community. One thing that struck me was how nice and well-dressed the people looked, walking home from church: clean and polished, very nice outfits and happy. They probably walked a long distance too. There were lots of people (maybe families), gathered together. We could certainly learn from that: the respect of dressing up for church and the community time. It seemed odd to me to see so many farm animals roaming loose everywhere: lots of goats, chickens, and skinny cows. I wondered what Africa was like, or what Ghana was like 100, or 50 years ago?? How much has changed for the people who live here?

Today was about team-building. What a beautiful group of people we have on our team! We have the young, (the ages of our children), and the old, us! I think we’re going to make a great team. We’re already planning how we would like to attack the work at hand, and what kind of free time activities to do together. The exercises Esther had for us to do today were very insightful and a great way to get us all on the same page.

Our walk to the village was interesting and fun. We met lots of children along the way who came out to greet us want their picture. We were all very happy to be so welcomed! The cameras couldn’t stop clicking. I can speak for the team when I say how honored and humbled we felt to be welcomed so warmly by the chiefs, Queen Mother, the mayor and all the other dignitaries, as well as the children. I loved it!

We also got to see the library, our work site. There is a lot to do!!! But we’re determined to get it done: for the awesome community and most of all for the children!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

After a long hot night due to no power, which meant no air conditioning or fan, we had our usual breakfast with a new twist – avocado! We all love avocado so it was a welcome addition.

On the way to the work site, Kathleen and I dropped Robb at the Methodist Junior High school so he could teach his much anticipated computer lesson. During the setup, we discovered the community extension cord that we brought with us wasn’t working in the power outlet, so I went back to the guest house to get a converter. Kathleen continued on to the library and got a head start on the painting. By the time I arrived at the library, she was well on her way to completing the first coat in the foyer. After a morning of hard work the foyer as finished and we had the walls prepared in the adult library room to begin painting on Friday.

After our work projects we had a nice lunch and relaxed for an hour before going back to the Methodist school for our last day of tutorials. We had 20 kids show up and many who were showing off their computer skills after a week of practice. Some were first timers so we put them on the typing tutor program. Kathleen and Rob did reading tutorials while the kids waited for their turn on the computer. We ended the afternoon with a group photo. I was sad to see the end of this part of our volunteer mission as teaching the kids is my true passion.

Back at the guest house, we played solitaire and enjoyed teaching Amo the rules of the game so he could play on his own using his computer. We enjoyed dinner and ended the evening with a movie that Robb brought.

Quote: He who demands little gets it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Prepared by Kathleen

Up for breakfast at 7 a.m. and today we had yummy mango added to our regular breakfast. Patty and Robb tested Kathleen’s sense of direction by having her lead the back way through the village to the library. P & K got right to work doing more filling in preparation for painting. The goal is to have the foyer all painted and clean before the next team arrives. We had a number of teenagers assist today which did help the filling and sanding go faster. Robb helped the carpenters finish the covering of the soffits with ceiling board. A good day for Robb as he was promoted to a sawing position!

In the afternoon we headed back to the school to continue with lessons. Patty worked with the kids on furthering their keyboard and mouse skills, while Kathleen had them writing a description about themselves without using their names. This was a challenge for them but it resulted in some really endearing submissions. Once the children were finished their computer practice the teachers bombarded Patty with requests for program demonstrations. They are impatient to see all that can be done with the computers.

During this time Kathleen was involved in a strenuous game of “volleyball” with the globe beach balls in the schoolyard in what seemed like 200 degree F. temperatures. During all this time Robb was over at the Methodist Junior High overseeing the exciting installation of electricity which was done at the very top of a ladder during a thunderstorm… wiring with no glove on!! It was a very proud moment when the power was turned on for the first time at the Junior High. Power was out for a short time when we go back to the guest house but we had a relaxing evening reading and chatting.

Quote: “Nobody ever drowned in their own sweat.” – Ann Landers

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Prepared by Robb

The breakfast was not the usual! Instead of the tomatoes and peppers being the eggs, it was on the outside like a happy face. We also got wheat bread. On the way to the library, we stopped at the Queen Mother’s Palace to say hello and ask for Mayor Sam. He had gone to Accra for the day but promised to stop by the guest house later.

We were extremely productive and finished priming the last room in the library. We had a lot of help from a brother and sister who worked very hard. Music was being played and they dance while upon the wooded tables. We started putting filler in the cracks. It must noted it was a very hot day and even with the windows open, no air was stirring.

The afternoon computer class brought out 14 students of various ages from 5 to 16. As soon as we got out of the taxi, the children descended upon us and carried our bags to the classroom. In setting up the computers, we must always wait for what must the only extension cord in town. Kathleen and I read and did computers.

The Mayor Senchi – Ferry stopped by to see us at the Guest House. He shared news of exciting coming events in the village.

These include:

A Circuit Court will be built in Senci Ferry.

The Chiefs are going to Accra in two weeks to meet with the Minister of Roads as well as the Minister of Lands

They are asking for the main road through the village to be paved.

They are also asking for compensation for the land taken from them in 1957

And they want funding for a new Pontoon Service to replace the canoe service.

It was great to hear about community affairs from the Mayor. After the Mayor left, the three of us had dinner with Amo. There was much discussion about the US and Canadian government and politics. It was another good day in Ghana.

“Nobody who is somebody looks down on anybody” – Margaret Deland

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

Prepared by Patty

Off to the worksite by taxi because of all the wet trails from the rain yesterday. Kathleen politely asked me to pass the crank to open her window. We had another productive work day of painting primer. Today the kids got a little too involved with the extra brushes we brought; they had paint from head to toe, on the wood trim, the floor, etc. so Sam decided he should put a halt to that. About mid morning I had the pleasant experience of reaching for my water in my backpack to be greeted by surprise by a large toad that was nesting in my backpack. I very appropriately screamed very loud and that had all the kids and Sam laughing. By the end of the morning, there were only 2 rooms remaining to paint.

After lunch, we prepared for our afternoon tutorials. Our plan for the week was to give the kids more practice on the computers and those waiting for their turn could join in on another activity. Today we read the book ‘One Hen’ with them which tells a story of a successful Ghanaian man who started a large business with a small loan from his mother that allowed him to buy one hen. On the way back from tutorials, Patty took a walk with Sam to visit Nursery School site that her daughter, Kelly, worked on last June to see the efforts of her labor and take pictures to send home. We finished the day with evening of dinner, conversation, and reading.

Quote: A well spent day brings happy sleep.

Sun, May 2nd, 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Prepared by Kathleen

Up at 7 today and put on our Sunday finest as we were heading (at teacher Esther’s invitation) to the International Central Gospel Church for 8:30 a.m. When we arrived we were escorted tour seats (3rd row) and were immediately immersed in the joyous singing and dancing of the morning service. The opening song lasted 35 minutes!! This was followed by short prayers, more singing, a long sermon, primarily about values and worth, but also a lesson on the value of eating limes (for healthy blood and the dissolving of kidney stones), and peanuts (for good skin and lowering cholesterol). After the service were invited to the church office to meet the minister.

Had a wonderfully lazy afternoon reading and doing a puzzle, although Robb had an adventurous stroll through the village… joined a town hall meeting at the palace, escorted to check out the river with Sam, and watching a soccer game. A huge storm came through and knocked out the power and A/C for most of the afternoon. Thank goodness for the generator that kept the ceiling fans going. Luckily the power came on shortly before bed and we were able to turn on our air conditioners!

Sat, May 1st, 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Prepared by Robb

We started with the usual breakfast at the usual time even though it was a Saturday. We left at 8:30 to go to the Volta Dam to spend the day on the boat, the Dodi Princess. It was leaving at 10:30 for a 2 ½ hour cruise to the island of Dodi. It was a big boat which held approximately 300 people. There were three decks and included a small pool for kids. There was also a band which played very loudly for the entire journey. The only time they took a break was when we reached the island. 300 people had 30 minutes to spend on the island. Then we spent close to 3 hours on the return journey. The Ghanaians were ready to party as they drank and dance the day away. We met a group of young professional volunteers from all over the world. The boat ride was long and extremely hot. Very little breeze was to be found even on a moving boat. We left at 10:30 and arrived back at 4:30! Our driver Phillip was waiting and so we were the first car to leave. Due to all the heat, Patty “the Energizer Bunny”, actually came home and took a nap!

Later that evening, we went to the Volta Hotel for dinner. Patty and Kathleen had Madiera Steak which was excellent. I had some pretty tough lamb. We had great conversations.

“Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

Prepared by Patty

At 7:45am we were off to the work site with paintbrushes, rollers and trays in hand, eager to begin painting the primer coat on the concrete walls. We started in the adult library and the morning proved to be very hot with so little air circulating. We were happy to get the first room finished so we could move onto the corridor where there was a cross breeze from the open doors. By mid morning our efforts had attracted close to a dozen young boys who were keen to get involved. Whether we were painting or sanding, they were fast on our trail to help. With all that enthusiasm, I suggested we clean the grounds of refuse that had accumulated from the work project. It was a very productive morning and we all felt exhausted by the time we packed up our things to head back for lunch.

After lunch, we had a much needed rest before heading back into the community for the afternoon tutorials. Our computer lesson for the day was Excel and we had a special surprise for the kids; we put on a slide show of the pictures we had taken all week. I think the teachers enjoyed that as much, if not more than the kids. Following the lesson, we gave the kids more time to practice their typing skills and those who wanted to apply their artistic talents could try out Microsoft Paint to practice their mouse skills. On the way back from teaching, we stopped for a beverage at the roadside café.

We had fried chicken and french fries for dinner and then put our heads together to figure out how we could all watch one of the movies Robb brought. We hooked the laptop to the Patty’s projector and used the wall as our screen. The picture was crystal clear!

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Prepared by Kathleen

Up for 7 a. m. breakfast of egg with onion, toast and juice before heading of to the library. Robb will be helping the carpenters with the ceiling and Patty and I will continue with our sanding of the walls in preparation for painting. Half way through the morning Patty and I headed out with Reuben (the mason), to buy primer for the walls. They will need one of primer and then two coats of paint. It was exceptionally hot in the airless rooms, so occasional breaks were taken to bring down our body temperatures. Robb had a great morning as a carpenter’s assistant and was reluctant to leave for lunch. The ceiling work has really progressed rapidly. The carpenters work hard, long days.

On our way home from the library we were lucky to find that the local court was in progress. It is an open-aired courtroom where community disputes are resolved before a magistrate that comes once a week.

In the afternoon we headed back to school to continue with computer lessons… some new memory games and more typing tutor. We also played with the blow globes and some girls tried to teach me a foot jumping game called Ampe. I was quite pathetic much to their great amusement.

After school we went to the bead factory and had an interesting lesson on bead making from the owner – a member of the Int’l Bead Making Assoc. who has traveled the world to Association meetings. We each bought several pieces of bead jewelry. It was a fascinating journey to and from the factory through the busy streets of people selling their wares and doing their shopping after work.

Dinner was spaghetti and meatballs with our usual glass of wine and an early night to bed.

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Prepared by Robb

We began the day with the usual breakfast of eggs, toast and porridge. Patty read the journal from Tuesday and then it was off for our first day working on the library. On the way, we stopped to visit the Queen Mother at the palace who was having a meeting with Mayor Sam and the first Chief. We arrived at the library and the carpenters had already begun working on the ceiling in one of the rooms. The three of us spent the first hour trying to find the appropriate jobs for each of us. We tried hammering the ceiling strips. Kathleen was the best at it and I was the worst. We finally settled into Kathleen sweeping, Patty scrapping the walls and I helped hold the ceiling tiles while it was sawed, then handed to the carpenters as well as taking out the trash. It was very hot and the sweat was pouring heavy. It was a long but productive four hours.

Patty and I walked back for lunch and along the way stopped by the Methodist Junior High School. The teacher I worked with last year was holding special vacation classes and it was great to see him. I even recognized several of the students. We tried to get the students to come to computer class.

Lunch was fried chicken for the second day in a row!

The afternoon began with a nice thunderstorm and it did not rain until we got to the school for the computer class. The rain was heavy with hail and lasted for a short time. Made you really notice the lack of lights in the school as it was dark. Only about 15 students showed up, but they were all so excited to have hands on with the computers. After class we returned to the compound and it continued to rain. I finished a book (The Help) and Patty and Kathleen started a huge puzzle. It will likely take days to finish! Another good day in Senchi Ferry!

Nothing has happened today except kindness. Gertude Stein

A Message from Esther, Ghana Country Manager

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thank you very much for the good work you are doing for my country. I enjoy working with the Global volunteers because of the warm and sincere affection they have for the needy in society. They extend a hand of friendship to the community first by serving in our community. I appreciate the development work they offer the community as they serve in this hot weather as they have never experienced before. Yet, they go back to their country and come back again and again. By their mear presence in my community enrollment has increased in the schools we work in because very child wants to be taught by a native English speaker. Personally, I call it love, because such action is rare to find in this hard turbulent times. This compliments the saying by one Ghanaian scholar in the early 40s which state's that the black and white people in the world are like the black and white keys on the piano or organ, when you play only the white keys, it won't give you a nice melody; likewise for the black keys. However, if when you combine both keys and play them together it will give you a good melody. By this he meant that, when people from different cultures come together to work, it promote peace and uinty. That is what Global volunteers stands for to the people of Senchi Ferry and New Akrade communities.

Thank you once again.

Tuesday March 9, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

“ I expect to pass through this life but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do for any fellow being, let me do it now……as it shall not pass this way again.”

Today our remaining team members, Rose, Shirley and I, awoke refreshed from the Independence Day celebrations that subsequently gave us all a Monday off. At breakfast, Rose and Shirley shared with us their Cape Coast excursion experiences, and I shared my encounters with the local villagers. Some of my encounters lead me to meet children who were truly hungry, and I was blest to be able to share bread and oranges with them.

After our usual breakfast, we readied for work. We took a cab and dropped Shirley off first at the clinic, then Rose and I were dropped off at the school.

The children seemed genuinely happy to see my return. However, I was even happier to see them. They are loving, adorable, respectful, and eager to assist in any way they can; be it carrying books, purses, or our waters.

We all returned to the guesthouse for lunch around noon, so we had an hour to relax before our meal. The lunch was particularly tasty today: fried chicken quarters, coleslaw salad, fresh baked bread, and French fries. Bless was kind enough to leave out hot water, sugar and tea bags for my afternoon tea.

We then rested until after school tutoring. However, a storm came and was too severe to go to tutoring, so we relaxed on our own until dinner.

Dinner was delicious and consisted of salad, beef slices in tomato sauce, rice and bread. During the meal, Shirley shared with us her clinic experience that day. She said it was very busy and she was tired. I admire her strength in seeing needy sick people all day. I would not handle it as well as she.

After eating, I retired to my room to read, prepare for the next days school, and write this journal entry.

Thursday March 4, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

contributed by Laurel

Today, Shirley and I went to the Senchi Ferry Health Clinic, and our assignment was to administer polio vaccines to children under 5. The local community does this project on an annual basis, and consists of dropping two drops of the vaccine into the child’s mouth and then marking their pinky with a marker. However, the marker ink wouldn’t come out, so I got ink dots all over my skirt and arms. After the vaccine was administered, Emanuel, a local volunteer, wrote a VI on the house with chalk and then circled it so that health authorities would know that the people in that building had been administered that vaccine. After we returned, I helped Charity sort pills and watched her give a malaria test. The teachers enjoyed teaching their classes, and Lauren gave the soccer equipment to the Senchi Ferry school district. After lunch, the cab never came to take us to tutoring, and it started raining, so we all waited for the van to take us to Akosombo market. It was interesting to see all of the fruits and vegetables. I thought that the coiled fish were fascinating. We all did some light shopping, then returned to the guesthouse.

Wednesday March 3, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

contributed by Rose

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi, contributed by Laurel

Breakfast began without Laurel. Unfortunately, she was not feeling well. Upon completion of our unusual meal (hot dogs, toast and bananas), Rose read the quote for the day - written by John Adams.

Rod followed with a recital of his favorite poem, titled “White Butterflies,” a poignant metaphor of humans’ innate nature to fly despite life’s circumstances.

“Fly white butterflies out to sea
Frail pale wings for the wind to try
Small white wings we scarce can see
Some fly light as a laugh of glee
Some fly soft as a long low sigh
All to the haven where each would be

Some discussion ensued regarding a more inclusive account of yesterday’s events. It was resolved when Shirley agreed to be the scribe.

While walking to school, I discovered a nail embedded in my sneaker. It was quite piercing. Fortunately for me, a nice man came along and removed it with his machete.

Upon arrival at school, Lauren found her classroom was mysteriously empty. Conversely, Rose found just the opposite. Both kindergarten classes had been combined into one.

We soon learned that the upper grades were at Senchi Ferry practicing their marching routine in preparation for Ghana’s Independence Celebration on Saturday.

As a result, there were (Vidda, Patty, Patricia and Dorothy) 4 teachers along with myself and Meg in the kindergarten class. There were approximately 60 students, and everyone sang a song together.

I shared poems by my favorite author, Maya Angelou. “Still I Rise” and “Phenomenal Woman.” Fun was had by all!

Lauren reported that she had escorted one of her students to the Senchi Ferry Health Clinic. The child was diagnosed with malaria. Due to Lauren’s generosity, she was administered necessary treatment.

Laurel joined us for lunch. The usual egg in tomato sauce, yams, cabbage salad, and mangoes (compliments of Shirley and Lauren) were served.

The afternoon tutoring session was rained out. So Lauren, Shirley and I retreated to an empty classroom with about 14 students.

We read books, practiced writing and blew bubbles. The hour concluded with pictures.

The day concluded with the usual spaghetti dinner, sweet bread and wine (compliments of Rose and Lauren.)

Tuesday March 2, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

contributed by Shirley for Rod

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, ordinary folks can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead, contributed by Rose

Another humid day. Had usual breakfast – Laurel and Shirley went to the clinic – Rod, Meg, Lauren and Rose went to school to teach. The clinic was very, very busy today – both general patients and prenatal students. Midwifes and public health nurses were anxious to put their skills to work. The midwife students need to be observed in performing their functions, and they will soon be graduating. Laurel accompanied the public health nursing students to home visits with the mission to see if homes had mosquito nets and also to check on the man with cerebrospinal meningitis. He was found to have gone to the clinic yesterday, but had no health insurance, so was given aspirin. Prenatal clinic saw at least 20 pregnant women, and two new mothers with 1 week old babies. Babies were given physical exams, and mothers were instructed on breastfeeding techniques.

Back to the guest house at noon for lunch of peanut soup with chicken legs floating in it along with okra and eggplant. It is eaten with sticky rice balls using fingers and dipping rice into the soup. Everyone tried the soup but ended up eating rice, bananas, and papaya. There was lots of soup left over.

The dressmaker came with lots of pictures with styles of dresses. Shirley chose 2 materials and purchased and picked styles of dresses. Rod chose material to take home for his table. Shirley and Rose went to the Cedi Bead Factory with Moses, while the others went to tutoring under the tree. When we arrived, we were greeted by a very nice man who demonstrated the bead making process to us. It was amazing. There were several things that made it so unusual, as all the workers have come from generations of families who have been there for years. They live on the grounds and often begin work at 3 to 4 am. Their families are with them, and it takes at least three years to learn the bead making process. This entire operation is an example of recycling at its best. Broken beads are recycled, bottles of all colors are recycled and termite mounds are used for the firing oven. We visited the gift shop and met Mrs. Cedi, as Mr. Cedi was away for the day. On the way back, we went through a village where a large crowd of people were gathered. A fight was occurring without guns or knives, but fists were being used.

Back to the guest house for dinner – rice, beef, and vegetables with papaya, and spicy eggs with tomato sauce and onions. Much to our surprise, we now have CNN on our TVs. We were sad to see that Edward is leaving us to return to Accra, where he is from. An older woman who has worked here for 18 years is returning and is very familiar with the guest house.

Monday March 1, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

contributed by Laurel

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt, contributed by Shirley

When the group first visited Senchi Ferry, we were all so excited to see the pressed white nurses uniforms and the beaming smiles of the nurses. We all wanted pictures. When I gave my camera to Amo, he informed me that he had never seen a disposable camera before. We live in a disposable society and waste too much. We waste resources and time, and we even waste opportunities.

So it is with an open heart that I say I am enjoying learning alongside the students at Senchi Ferry clinic. Today Shirley worked in the prenatal clinic, and saw many expectant mothers. One needed an AIDS test, which the nurses administered. I went with the students on their home visits, where we counseled families on the causes, effects, and prevention of cerebrospinal meningitis. The teachers in our group were enjoying teaching the students a wide range of topics, including math and singing their ABCs. After lunch, we tutored the children, then I showed Rose the post office and we walked leisurely back to the guesthouse, where we discovered that the power was still out. Dinner was delicious. Bliss made pasta with tomato sauce, and Margaret bought some bread.

Friday February 26, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday February 26, 2010

“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” popular phrase contributed by Laurel

Today began as most others, except for the growing anticipation of the first of our group to actually leave us tomorrow: Patricia, Conor and Chris.

We ate our usual breakfast of scrambled egg/omelette and toast with apricot jam and coffee. Then, the group experienced our first gifting experience when Patty and the boys gave out the soccer uniforms, balls, cleats and socks. The children looked overjoyed.

Shirley and Laurel went to the health clinic and mainly assisted with paperwork. The children at the school were amazing as always. I find myself surprised at how much I have grown to love them – truly and deeply – in such a short amount of time.

Before lunch, I learned that Dorothy, the KG2 teacher, had contracted malaria. The afternoon tutoring was enjoyable.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

contributed by Lauren

“To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people, and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics, and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know that even one life has breathed easier because you lived.
This is to have succeeded.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, contributed by Margaret

Today was another hot day. I was hoping by this point, we might be used to the heat, but no – it still feels hot. Everyone feels healthy, and it was nice to see Shirley up and around all day. We taught again in the morning, and all was successful minus the fact that I needed to teach my second graders how to make a cake and I couldn’t AND a fight broke out over the footballs…again.

Lunch was good – we found the balance between protein and carbohydrates by day five. I guess the small accomplishments we will always revel in, though somehow when someone asks us how we are in TWI we all still hesitate as if it may have changed since yesterday.

The afternoon tutoring was successful, and by that I mean it was not as hot as usual and the kids seem to like to learn and we enjoy watching them.

The market, complete with smoked fish, was OK. The highlight for me was running into Esther’s sister, meeting her husband and Jon and having her ask if Connor and Chris were my boyfriends. Patty found the soccer cleats she needed and Rose and I bought wine…..I think everyone is tired and midnight is too late to go to sleep.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

contributed by Conor

“I’ve got something in my pocket
It belongs across my face
I keep it very close to me
In the most convenient place
I bet you wouldn’t guess it
If you guessed a long long while
So I’ll take it out and put it on
It’s a great big GHANA smile!”
- Madame Annie, former volunteer

Another hot day under the sun. What a surprise. We all dragged ourselves out of bed for another forced-upon breakfast. Surprisingly, Rose was on time this morning. After we ate, we began day three of our journey.

The day began with another treacherous walk towards the schools and/or clinic. Before school started, some of us got to experience a very lively mass. The children were dancing and singing at the top of their lungs. It was like no other. After the mass ended, it was time to go to class and begin teaching.

The class day went as usual. Lauren and I sharpened at least sixty pencils for the kids. I think some of the kids were breaking the lead on purpose just so that they could be like the rest of their peers. Besides Lauren getting an intense forearm workout, all the pencils that needed to be sharpened were sharpened.

After we left the schools and clinic, we all headed back to the house and took our much needed showers and naps. After we got some rest it was time for lunch. Lunch was good as usual. Cooked perfect by our five star chefs. After lunch we hung out for a while and picked out our fabrics that were either going to be created into dresses or shirts. Before we knew it, it was time to head back to school for another tutoring session.

Tutoring went well. We saw a lot of familiar faces from the day before. The children were eager to learn as usual. Once our van showed up, it was time for a trip to the Cedi Bead Factory.
At the bead factory, Mr. Cedi himself gave us a tour and showed how the beads were made. We learned a lot and it was actually quite interesting to watch the process. After we made our purchases, it was already time to head back to the house for dinner.

Dinner was delicious and of course we had our classic conversations. We were quite honored to have Esther join us for dinner. All in all it was another great day in New Akrade, Eastern Region, Ghana.