Ghana Team Journal

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