Ghana Team Journal

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.