Ghana Team Journal

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Quote of the day: Drink your water or you will be caned! – Esther, our loving country manager.

By: Daniel Chen

The morning began with a delicious breakfast of omelets, oatmeal, and toast. Esther quickly ruined my breakfast euphoria with news that Gary and I were unable to participate in construction today as the project manager had more urgent matters to tend to after the weekend’s vicious thunderstorms. As walked towards New Akrade, we were greeted by the local residents who were ecstatic to find that the team had begun learning some Twi.

We arrived at the school with sweat dripping from our faces. The headmaster welcomed us and invited us into the teacher common room, where he paired Jim, Judy, Billie, and Arla with their respective teachers. After a short tour of the school complex, we headed off to visit the Senchi Community Library where we would be spending our afternoons. The library was actually a product of 3 years’ effort of Global Volunteers.

We headed back to the school to get our first dose of teaching. Knowing I had no teaching experience, Esther tossed me into a classroom filled with energetic (and restless!) second graders. The children swarmed around me, each wanting a high five and to hold my hand. The instant the teacher came into the room, they rushed back to their desks to sit, which lasted all about 30 seconds. Note for future volunteers: if your children are misbehaving, just have Esther lay down the law! After observing the classroom for two hours, we headed back to the hotel for refuge from the blazing afternoon sun.

We departed for the library promptly while the clouds were hiding the sun. As we arrived I was overrun by a mass of children eager to touch my hair and play with my glasses. My spiky hair fascinated them; one child even threatened to follow me home to cut it off! The team quickly settled in their corners to read with the children. Judy even had a little girl sit on her lap for a full hour. Gary was entertaining his new friend with his disposable camera. I was trying my best to contain two kids who were battling for reading time. They eventually agreed to alternate between pages. Blazing through at least 6-7 books in less than 20 minutes, we eventually settled on reading the Lion King. That in itself was a reward, but more rewarding was seeing their eyes open with horror when Mufasa died and with glee when Simba retook his position on the throne.

We had to eventually say goodbye to the children and head back to the hotel for dinner. We learned more about Amo’s upbringing and his ambitions as we devoured the savory shepherd’s pie (which had some serious kick to it!). Everyone eagerly rushed back to their rooms to take a hot shower and rest up for the next day.

Quote of the Day: “Please have fun. But be safe. Or else.” – Esther

By: Gary Kennedy

Sunday was a very full day. We started with a very nice breakfast. Now our team was finally together. Esther wanted us ready to load the van at 9:00a.m. (We also exchanged our American Dollars).

We then were on our way to the St. James Guest House in New Akrade. Our ride gave us all a new perspective of how the people lived and worked in the area where our team would be connected in the next 2-3 weeks.

We got unpacked and then met up with Esther and Amo for orientation and then lunch. Amo led our Team in a Goal-Oriented Team Meeting. We established four categories: the most significant would be TO HAVE FUN!!!!, while combining the other three goals.

Esther then told us to rest until 3:30p.m.: at which time we would leave for orientation with school, the Mayor, the Chief, and Construction personnel. We learned their custom of Handshaking. Several people from New Akrade gave us an overview of their staff responsibilities. We then broke down into smaller groups: particularly the school and that of construction. We then planned to visit the school; however, a big storm came up and cancelled that activity! I think the downpour became a major thunderstorm. We returned to the Guesthouse and found no electricity! Some of us really got soaked getting in and out of cars! WELCOME TO AFRICA!!!

We met with Amo for dinner at 6:00 and good conversation. Oh yes, earlier in the day we had TWO Volunteers graciously step forth and accept leadership roles: Daniel: To Be WATER-CHIEF; and Judy: FREE-TIME ACTIVITIES COORDINATOR. After dinner the Team discussed the upcoming weekend activities to include an overnight venture.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Journal by: Gary Kennedy

Our Volunteer Team arrived in Accra. Daniel came through JFK-New York from Houston. Jim came from St. Paul / Minnesota, and Billie & Gary from Cleveland. The four of us connected at JFK/New York, however only Jim, Billie and Gary met at the gate before boarding for Accra. Daniel was on our flight, and even sat in the same row, but we didn’t know he was with Global Volunteers. When we landed and found Esther she said she was still looking for Daniel. Several minutes later here came Daniel. Esther explained that two more volunteers would show up later. So, we gathered our luggage, and went to the Airport Hotel to spend the evening.

Once at the Hotel, Esther told us to get checked in, and then rest until dinner at 6:00p.m.We actually met at 5:30.The four of us got caught up with each other. Esther explained that she had to go back to the airport to pick up the other two members of our team. Arla was flying in from Spokane, Washington. Judy was flying in from Chicago. Both were connecting through Amsterdam, where they were connecting with each other. We understand they enjoyed the LONG lines going through customs at the Accra airport. By the time they finally arrived at the Airport Hotel, it became too late to meet the other four volunteers.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Quote of the day:

"I always say to myself, what is the most important thing we can think about this extraordinary moment."

–Francois de La Ronchenfoucauld

Journal by: Janine

Today is my last day in Senchi Ferry. It is a sad but joyful day. I started my day at B’Akoto once again. I played and laughed with the students. They sang songs and drew me pictures. I was sad to say goodbye and so were some of the students. One of my favorites in the class, Samuel, told me he loved me and that he will cry when I leave. (I later saw him at the library). I said goodbye to Madame Esther. She has become a very good friend to me. On the way back to the guesthouse, I stopped in at the Catholic School to say bye to Madame Harriett, Denise, Emmanuel and Michael. I had my lunch with Esther then rested. Amo picked me up for the library. We played some games today and sang songs. When it was time to go, the children all jumped on me! I wouldn’t trade that for the world! As most of the kids left, I watched Samuel take his time walking away, looking back towards the library at me until we couldn’t see each other anymore. I had the most fun with that little boy. Amo and I played Oware when we returned. A quick dinner with Amo and Esther, then Harriett and Denise stopped in to say goodbye to me. They gave me a very special gift and we laughed about Amo and Emmanuel both wanting to marry me, but neither could afford the price says Esther! I went back to my room to pack and prepare for my departure tomorrow.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quote of the day: I love myself when I am laughing. –Zora Neale Hurston

Journal by: Janine

Like any other day, I had breakfast then made my way to the school. The plan for the day was for my to teach my lesson, then go to the computer lab at the library. Unfortunately the children were not paying attention or listening to what I had told them to do. So we did not go to the lab. I marked and watched Esther teach. Afterwards when my morning was done, Esther came and picked me up. We stopped at a very nice hotel on the water and had a drink. Then we went to the market. We looked around for a bit then came back for lunch. We ate then we rested. Amo picked me up for the library. Along the way, I stopped to buy some candy to bring home.

Today the weather was beautiful so there were more children at the library. We took a few pictures before we went in to read. I read a few books then we played. I love making the children laugh and I love when they make me laugh. By dinnertime, I was not feeling very well so I didn’t each much. I just lay down for a bit, and then felt a lot better. I started to pack a little and organize as I am leaving in a few days. L

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Quote of the day: To be simple is to be great. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Journal by: Janine

What a night! It rained non-stop, so I didn’t get much sleep. Accra is flooding because of so much water. The day was not a crazy one. The school was not very busy as some students couldn’t make it due to the rain. Since I was so tired from not sleeping well and playing ball with the children, I didn’t teach my lesson. Madame Esther left with us at noon as her friend was going into labor. Before lunch Esther and I went to a restaurant on the river where we chatted and had a drink. It was a very nice place. We ate our lunch then rested a while before heading to the library. Again because of the rain, the library was quiet. I read with a few children then played around with a little girl. The evening was easy going and quiet as well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quote of the day: Friends are the sunshine of life. –John Hay

Journal by: Janine

Another quiet breakfast by myself so I brought my book along to read. Esther and I left early from the guesthouse so I would be able to watch the students have their assembly. I was quite thrilled to see it. I watched Madame Esther teach her class math and some English. I did some marking for her. Then it was breaktime! I skipped and threw the ball to the girls and talked to some of my favorite students. After break, the teachers had a short meeting to attend so I thought my lesson to the students. Because the main teacher was not around, the children didn’t really listen. A few of them listened but it was chaos in the classroom. I sat for a bit as one student, Abigail, who is a beautiful young girl made the students sit and listen to me. She did a great job! I taught the lesson as best as I could under the conditions. I left shortly there after.

After my lunch of peanut soup and rice ball (no fufu today!), I was stuffed. Esther and I talked for a little while then we headed out to the Volta River Bridge for a walk. We had some nice laughs and a bit of exercise until it started to rain. We raced back to the car then she dropped me back at the guesthouse. Amo arrived soon after. As we walked to the library, we got a call from Samuel. The library was closed due to the rain. So Amo and I turned around. Amo took me into town on a tro tro to buy some cell phone minutes! The ride wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be since Amo was there to guide us. Upon returning, soaking wet, I made some phone calls back home to make sure everyone was fine. Which they were! We played some dominoes then ate dinner and had a very nice chat.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Quote of the day: When I first open my eyes upon the morning meadows and look out upon the beautiful world, I thank God I am alive. –

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Journal by: Janine

What a quiet breakfast! Since Rick had left yesterday, the day has started off very quiet. I had my breakfast then Esther met me after to take me to work. I went back to P3 at B’Akota. The students were very happy to see me and I was happy to see them. I marked math homework and listened to them speak Twi. I taught my lesson quickly as I had to leave for lunch. The students were eager to learn as I showed them the new lesson. They also remembered much from last week. That made me very happy. As I was leaving, the students asked me to bring a ball, a BIG one. I then replied that I would bring two; one for the girls, and one for the boys. They cheered. I went back to the hotel and read for a little then had lunch, which was Red Red (my fav) with Esther.

Before the library, it started to pour rain, so the taxi came and pick up Amo and me. The library was quiet but the children and me managed to play more than read today. I had a lot of fun. I headed back to the hotel in the taxi because the rain was coming down in buckets. Amo and I played a few games before dinner. We ate then retired for the night.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Quote of the day: If someone said, “Write a sentence about your life,” I’d write “I want to go outside and play.” –Jenna Elfman

I’m dedicating this quote to Rick because he was always ready for fun! He definitely seeks for the enjoyment in life and makes it contagious!

Journal by: Janine

Another early morning. Both Rick and Janine decided to walk along the beach before breakfast. They had met along the way. On the way back from her walk, Janine saw Amo. As they were talking, Amo got his shoes wet in the ocean. We me up for breakfast. We sat and enjoyed eating the food and talking while looking and listening to the ocean. A great way to start the day! After breakfast, we decided to play volleyball. It was more running after the ball then actually playing. Some passer-bys joined in and again more running after the ball. After playing for a while, we ended it. Rick wanted to go swimming in the ocean. As he did, Janine watched Bright and Amo play ping-pong. She tried to play but was not very good, spent more time running after the ball again! After our fun morning, we headed out to see our last stop at Elmina Castle. Again, a very interesting and emotional place to visit. When we finished we met up with Richard one more time, we took Rick to a bank then we had lunch. Our lunch took a long time to be served so we started on the road a bit late. We said our goodbyes to Richard, then left Cape Coast.

A few hours later we arrived in Accra. We dropped Rick off at the Airport View Hotel. Said a quick goodbye and finished our journey to Senchi.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Quote of the day: I finally figured out the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it.

--Rita Mae Brown

Journal by: Janine

The morning started very early today…5AM. We were headed to Cape Coast for the weekend. Rick, Amo and Janine were very excited. We hit the road and drove about 4 hours. When we arrived, our first stop was the Cape Coast Slave Castle. We were planning on meeting Rick’s friend Richard, so to kill some time we walked along the beach and took lots of pictures. Shortly after, we met Richard and his brother Paul. We went into the castle. We chatted about the slave trade, and really began to understand the emotion of the place. After our tour and a lot of picture taking, we drove to Kakum National Park. There we hiked up a steep incline, then made our way across 7 suspension bridges, the highest point of 45 meter. Janine and Rick had no problem with the height; Amo was nervous at the first bridge but was fine after it. Richard and Paul were chickens but they finished it and we were all happy! On the way back to the Coconut Grove Hotel, we stopped at a Crocodile Park. Rick and Janine had pictures taken with them, Janine even sat on one! We arrived to the beach resort, said our goodbyes to Richard and Paul, after sharing a glass of Palm Wine (ew!). We had our dinner, which was very yummy and listened to the live music. We then left shortly after. Rick stayed up and emailed back home, Amo wanted to see Janine take out her contacts, and then everyone went to bed.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Quote of the day: And we find at the end of a perfect day, The soul of a friend we’ve made. –Carrier Jacobs Bond

Journal by: Janine

Today, much like yesterday we had our breakfast then headed out to start out day. First before going to our jobs, we stopped at the Palace to offer our donations to the chiefs. It was a nice ceremony. Janine once again back in P3 at B’Akota and Rick at the Senchi Ferry Library in the computer room. He had a slow day but a few students popped in to learn about computers. The library was very hot today. Janine started her day with physical education. She brought 2 balls for the kids to play football and volleyball. She joined in the game of volleyball. It was a very hot day but the kids had fun. Janine taught a quick lesson and then it was lunch. After lunch the seamstress stopped by with the scarves made for Janine. Rick was to get his shirt later. Soon after we headed to the library. The library was quiet again today. The children sat and read many books; Mother Goose is a popular book to read this week.

After the library, Esther stopped by to say good-bye to Rick. It is his last day in Senchi Ferry today. He said good-bye to some friends he made too. He enjoyed his time here, and was very happy to feel welcome and apart of the community. In the evening, Rick and Janine headed to the Continental Hotel again for internet.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quote of the day: Happiness is not something you get, but something you do.

Journal by: Rick

In the morning, Janine was back to school for teaching and Rick was at the library waiting for a class from Nana Amo Preparatory to show up for “speed typing” on the PC’s. Class #6 paraded into the computer room after 9:30 AM with teacher Ernest. There were 5 students per computer to practice their speed on typing. Most of the students were using one hand to type the letter instead using 2 hands. After an hour on training, no one else showed up. I had time trying to finish reading my book.

After lunch, we headed back to Akosombo market to buy lots more stimulating beautiful fabrics for our friends. This time, Esther took us to the market instead using the cab. It took us to an hour to buy many fabrics from different sellers. It was a great afternoon to go shopping without the rain.

After the market, we spend the rest of the afternoon at the library to tutor the kids on their reading.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quote of the day:

Ask not that events should happen as you will, but let your will be that events should happen as they do, and you shall have peace. –Epictetus

Journal by: Janine

Breakfast started with a nice conversation with Esther. Then we hurried to start our days. Janine back again to P3 and Rick to the construction. When we arrived to our destinations, Rick found out that he was going to the computer lab at the library. He enjoyed helping the children learn how to use the computer. Janine was teaching the students again today. Before her lesson started, she and her class headed to the library to see Rick. While they all worked together on the computers, Janine snuck away to help clean up the books and chatted with Samuel. After computer class was finished they walked back and she taught her lesson. The students did very well. After our day we were suppose to be met by a taxi at noon, but he was 40 minutes late! Rick and Janine wondered where everyone was.

After having a fast lunch, Rick and Janine waited for the taxi at 2:OO to exchange some money. Bu he was late again! We were not happy about it. After a short ride, we made it just in time to read to the children for about half an hour. It was a crazy afternoon. Upon returning from the library, the seamstress stopped in, as both teammates wanted to have some clothing made. A fast dinner and then to the Continental Hotel for internet in the evening.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quote of the day: What’s important is finding out what works for you.

Journal by: Rick

After our breakfast with Esther, she got a cab instead her car to take us to work. We headed back to the same school from yesterday for construction under the burning sun for Rick and Janine had her teaching with class #3. She brought the soccer ball from the hotel to play a matching game with the kids.

After our quick lunch with Amo, we skipped our afternoon task to take a trip to Aburi for sightseeing and shopping.

The drive to Aburi was rough with lots of potholes. Our same cab driver from last Saturday, Bright was driving very carefully to prevent a blow out tire. The drive to the town was uphill and beautiful overview of the town.

When we passed thru the gate at the Botanical Gardens, there were 2 rows of towering palm trees. There wasn’t anyone at the gate to pay the cost to enter the park, we decided to come back after our shopping.

The town is well known to make a deal or not on the crafts. Janine and I had to bargain for our lovely gifts. I saw a beautiful colorful outfit for myself. The guy wanted 75 GH, Bright and Amo were laughing at him for being overpriced on the outfit. We walked away and the guy called us back for a price for 35 GH. I took it!

After buying a few gifts, we headed back to the garden for the tour without a guide. The garden was a peaceful place to review variety of tropical trees and plants. The most impressing of the garden is the Silk Cotton Tree, it is over 160 ft tall with a huge trunk. After walking around the park for an hour, we decided to head back to the hotel for dinner.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quote of the day:

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Journal by: Janine

Just another typical day. Rick had gone to the construction site again today. Hard work in the hot sun. Janine had started at a new school: B’Akota school, in P 3. Today was just an observation day but at break she got to skip and play games with the children. A lesson was brought home for teaching tomorrow. The library was unusually quiet today. A few of the regular children were there in attendance. A lot of books were read today! Rick decided to go to the Continental hotel himself in the evening.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Journal by: Rick

Amo took us to his worship, the “Presbyterian Church of Ghana”. We arrived to the congregation before the starting time. I was able to help the children to set up the benches for their ceremony outside of the church. While we were seated, we notice the men seated on the left side of the room and the ladies on the right side. The women were wearing their best clothing for the service. Their clothing was colorful with interesting style. The serve lasted for 2.5 hours with lots of beautiful music and speeches. Before the ending of the service, we were asked to intro ourselves to the front of the crowd. The people had trouble understanding our English, but they were glad for us to join them.

After our lunch break, we took a trip to the Volta River Hotel for a day of relaxing at the pool and had a loving dinner feast looking of the awesome dam. It was a perfect Sunday for our comforting before we head back to work tomorrow.

Quote of the day: life delights in life. –William Blake

Journal by: Janine

What a day!!!! We started with our usual breakfast! Then at 8am a taxi showed up. It was taking us on our first weekend journey! After about an hour and 45-minute drive we pulled up to a monkey sanctuary! That’s right monkeys!!! After a walk through the forest, dodging puddles and mud, no monkeys were seen. We were feeling a little sad we didn’t see any. But our guide Gladys was going to find us some. After a short break on a bench, we were told the monkeys were close by. So we hurried up and walked back in to the forest. Low and behold Monkeys! Gladys took out a banana and some monkeys jumped down from the trees and ate it out of her hand! Then while she passed Janine a banana, a monkey had jumped on Ricks back while he was filming. Watching the video he took is very funny! We shared holding bananas and watching the monkeys jump on our arms and eat them. We then just stood and watched them play in the trees, jumping and climbing up and down the branches. It was a great time. After we walked back to our taxi and then headed off to our next stop, Wli Falls! We were going to see the tallest waterfall in West Africa! Following a drive on a very bumpy road, we landed at our destination. Rick and I ate our lunch then we headed out on our hike. During the hike we found out our guide was a farmer named Gilbert, but he went by Happy. We shared our stories about our lives as well as he told us about the different plants and trees along the way. He explained how coffee was made, Rick and I thought it was very interesting. About 45 minutes later we seen it, right in front of us was Wli Falls. What a sight! Words cannot explain how amazing it really is. Absolutely beautiful.

After the hike and long taxi ride back, we arrived back to Senchi Ferry, where Rick didn’t sleep and Janine slept too much!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Quote of the day:

Every night before I turn out the lights to sleep, I ask myself this question: Have I done everything that I can……Have I done enough?

Journal by: Rick

After our breakfast with Amo, we walked to the school to drop off Janine for her matching game with the kids. After we left her at the school, I had my morning class at the library. I had to teach the students “Paint” on the PC’s. After working with them for over an hour, they were getting too noisy The library teacher came to the computer room to yell at them, it is a class and be quiet! After the teacher left the room, the kids got very quiet and left. I had to stay at the computer room for any kids who wanted to come in to play with the PC’s. There were 3 boys and 3 girls playing games until my lunchtime at noon.

Soon after our lunch break, Amo called for a cab to take us back to the library for the puzzle entertainment with the children. Since we arrived to the library, the teacher called the students to get together as a group of 4. Each group got a tray of Jigsaw puzzle (10 to 20 pieces). They were delighted to begin the puzzle and madly trying to put the puzzle together. It was fascinating to watch the kids trying to grab the puzzles from each other.

Our exciting tour started after the library to the beads factory. The cab greeted us at the library for the crazy & rough drive to the town of Somenye. While, the drive to the town, we caught sight of every blocks full with hundreds of shops. We never saw so many shops in the town. We made to the location to learn, discover and review the art of bead-making The owner, Mr. Cedi gave us the demo of making the bead. After he finished chatting the making of the bead, he took us to his gift shops for purchasing. The shop had a huge collection of beans for our review. There were too much items, we had trouble to pick them for gifts to our families and friends. After we selected the gifts, we were able to take pictures with Mr. Cedi. It was time for our voyage back to the hotel facing the unpleasant rough roads with lots of passionate drivers.

It was a peaceful Friday night staying at St James with no dancing and bar.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Quote of the day: We can accomplish almost anything within our ability if we but think we can! –George Mathew Addams

Journal by: Janine

Our day started as a typical one. Breakfast then heading out to our jobs. Today Janine was to teach a new lesson to the children. It was matching. After having Madame Harriett explain the lesson, Janine showed the children what to do. One at a time they would come up and make a line to the matching object. At first the students were confused, and started doing the previous days lesson. But soon on the children caught on. They liked today because they got to stand up in front of the class and show their work. After doing a lesson in their books. Janine helped them learn their colours. A parent teacher interview was to be held later on in the morning and Janine was to attend. A few teachers from the Catholic school walked with her to the meeting. During the meeting, Janine asked if she could put one of the babies on her back. The little girl did not like being on Janine’s back because she wasn’t her mother! Rick on the other hand was hard at work again today. Mixing more cement! It was a hard day for him shoveling and mixing. He was tired.

After lunch, the team had a fast walk to the library. It was starting to rain. The children, Janine and Rick all had a great afternoon reading to each other. A taxi came to pick up the team at the end of the day to go to the Akosombo Market. It was raining off and on while they were at the market. A few fabrics were bought then we headed back because everyone was leaving the market because of the weather. It was a busy day but lots of fun!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Quote of the day: Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get.

Journal by: Rick

Is today Wednesday? Oh gee! The day was running too fast since we arrived here. Janine and I met for breakfast at 7 AM. The meal for breakfast was oatmeal, egg and toast. This time, someone knew that I do not eat egg. My dish came without egg. Smile. It was getting closer toward 8 AM, we were getting concern because Amo and Esther didn’t show up to join us for breakfast. Janine and I left for our room to gather our things for our assignment for the morning. All the sudden Amo knocked my door to tell me hurry up to run to Esther’s car. They were all waiting for me. Esther took us to our jobs.

Today, it was my 2nd day at the construction site. The nice part about the morning, it was perfect for me to do the job because it wasn’t too hot. Our main task was to pour cement to the foundation for the wall. There were 3 guys to join me to mix the sand & gravel with cement. There were a pile of smooth sand in one location, a pile of gravel at another spot, and a pile of rough sand at a 3rd location. We had to use the wheelbarrow to cart the sand and gravel inside to the school’s room. After a few hours carting the sand and gravel to the school, the head master called her students to gather water to the room. It was cool to see over 30 students carry the buckets to the well to gather the water and brought back the buckets on top of their head back to us. We poured the water over the sand & gravel. It took 3 trips for the students to bring us the water. There were kids under 8 years can carry over 20 pounds of water on their head. Anyway, we had to mix the sand, gravel and cement back and forth before we can pour it to the foundation. One of the construction guys named Sey, he is very strong 18 years guy to mix the cement while we were watching him. Between breaks, Sey and I were talking lots about Colorado and USA. I had to tell him lots about Colorado so he can relay it to the other guys. They never seen snow and I had to explain to them about the word, “Skiing”. They love it when I told them. I also had a postcard from my backpack to show them a picture of Colorado. One of the guy ask me if Colorado is part of California and want my phone number if he travels to CA. I was laughing at him because it is 9,000 miles to travel there. Sey told me that I am his best friend. Isn’t that sweet for him to say that to me? Anyway, Amo came to pick me up and had to rush to walk to the other school to pick up Janine. We were late for lunch.

After lunch, we walked back to the library for our afternoon task. When we entered inside the library, the exciting kids were thrill to see us back for the 3rd day. Many of the kids were hugging us. The kids for my group wanted for me to teach them Paint at the computer’ room. I got an OK from the teacher to use the computers. While working with the kids on the computer, I notice they learned how to use the games on the PC instead using Paint. One of the head master walked to the computer room and got very angry to see some of the kids playing games. He gave me a lecture. Oh well, I ordered the kids to use Paint, no games!

After the library, Amo, Janine and I took a walk to the Volta River. While we were walking toward to the river, we saw unfinished buildings, a church and a huge hotel. We also saw lots of banana trees.

After the walk, we had an hour before dinnertime. It looked Janine was worn out for teaching all the kids for the day and had to retire for the evening. Have a nice night.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Quote of the day: When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. –

John Ruskin

Journal by: Janine

The morning started with the usual early breakfast at 7am. We read the journal entry and discussed plans of the day; Rick to the construction site and Janine back to the catholic kindergarten class. During breakfast Esther came by to check up on everything after a short hiatus. She made sure all is well for us. After we ate, we left the guesthouse in a car to pick up some supplies for the construction site. Then Janine was dropped off.

Her day was exciting after teaching a lesson, she played with the children at break. They held her hands and kissed her arms. She also threw a ball for the children. Back in call she helped the teachers hand out and mark the children’s work. They were always smiling and waving at her.

Rick on the other hand was put to some hard labour. He helped the other men dig out the foundation at the construction site. He drank an entire bottle of water! He let one of the workers use his work gloves. After a very long and hot morning, Amo picked up Rick and Janine. It was lunchtime!

After lunch and a quick rest, the team headed to the library to read and have fun with the children. Janine let some of the girls play with her hair. Ouch! While Rick took videos of them. All of the children went wild! Not too much reading went on today, but everyone had lots of fun. A taxi, later on, picked up Rick and Janine to go back to the Continental Hotel to use the internet. Around 6:45pm, the taxi returned to bring the team back for dinner.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quote of the day: I don’t go by the rulebook—I lead from the heart, not the head.

Journal by: Rick

Good news, I was up on time to meet for breakfast with Janine and Amo. We all sat down before the cook brought the meal to the dinning room. The breakfast for the morning was oatmeal, egg omelet with toasts, and drinks (orange juice and hot water for coffee or tea).

After breakfast, we left hotel at 7:45 am for the tour of the schools and able to meet the rest headmasters of the schools. After meeting the headmasters, they intro to us to their teachers who will be working with us for the next few weeks. We only had a few minutes to chat with them before they head back to the classrooms. While we were touring around the schools, lots of the kids were waving at us while they were trying to learn something from the teachers. They were very exciting to see us with happy faces.

After the tour, it was time for us to get the work for the first day. My first schedule was to help the kids on the lab tops at the library. The first class arrived to the library at 10 AM; they were kids under 7 years old and very exciting to touch the lab tops for the first time. After arriving to the computer room, the teacher put 3 kids per computer. The 1st thing the teacher asked the kids, the meaning of the “lab top”? The kids didn’t respond back to the teacher on the meaning of the computer. He had to explain them the meaning of “lap top”. After explaining the meaning, the kids began to learn “Paint” on the computer. They never touched a mouse and never learn how to click the mouse to draw a line on Paint. I had to help the children to draw a line, use color, shape of the “O” & “Star”, etc. I notice one of the boys was able to pull a game instead using “Paint”. I had to close the game and told him “No” on the game. Don’t ask me how he learned to open the game from the computer. After an hour working with them, they went back to the classroom and I stayed at the library waiting for Amo to pick me up. While I was waiting for Amo, I was able to watch a movie from one of the computer. (Shhh!!!) The name of the movie is “#24 hours”. It must be a TV show from Fox. Don’t ask me how the movie came with computer from USA.

Amo came to pick me up and walked to the classroom to pick up Janine. While we were walking to the classroom, we saw Janine sitting front of the classroom facing the kids. All the suddenly, the kids saw us and they ran toward to me trying to hold my hands. They all asked me for my name. The teacher had to pronoun my name to them.

After picking up Janine, we walked back to the hotel for lunch. Our lunch for the day was a bean salad, chicken and an exciting item. Guess what? French Fries! Oh boy…….

After we had our lunch, we walked back to the library for the afternoon story time. When we arrived to the library, the kids were waiting and exciting for us to read a book. It was real interesting trying to read them a book for a numerous of reason: lots of the kids do not sit at the whole time listening while I was trying to read them a book; they kept asking me for my name; they asked me “where I am from?”; they laugh at me trying to say the word, “Red” (I was reading a book, “The Book of Red”); they were rubbing my hairy legs; they love to listen to the sound of my hearing aids; etc. It was a real blast trying reading them a book.

After reading the kids the books, Janine and I decide to take a small trip to a hotel, which is located toward the river for a drink, and chat on line via my iphone and ipad. Janine was thrill for me to bring my Ipad from home.

The cab rider was supposed to pick us at 5:45 pm, but he came about a half hour late. We started to get worry and do not have the phone number for Amo. While we were discussing how we could get back to the hotel, the cab came. Thanks GOD.

After we arrived back to the hotel, we had our dinner, white streaming rice and chicken with vegetable.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Quote of the day:

It was only a sunny smile,

And little it cost in the giving.

But like the morning light, it scattered the night

And made the day worth living


Journal by: Janine

Today was the day we were going into the community. I had awakened early as we were leaving by 9. Amo came to make sure I was up. He had told me that Rick was nowhere to be found! He wasn’t answering his door or phone and we had to wait for the manager to arrive at the hotel to open his room. We weren’t sure if he went for a walk or was still sleeping. I finished getting ready and had my breakfast. Rick was still nowhere to be found. It was past 8am and we were getting worried. Low and behold around 9am, Rick showed up. He had over slept! We quickly got ready for the taxi and then headed out. After a short rest we had our first team meeting. We brainstormed characteristics for an effective team to help us through out the program. We then had lunch followed by another rest. Then the real excitement of the day started.

After a small trek into the community we stopped at the Palace to greet the chiefs. We were invited to walk with them to a funeral that was going on down the road. Rick and I were very fortunate to have this opportunity. So we strolled down and we walked around the funeral shaking hand with the guests attending. Having learnt a few phrases only at lunchtime, Rick and I had trouble remembering them, especially now with all these people talking to us at the funeral. Slightly overwhelming but we tried our best.

We sat for a little and watched the local tradition of the funeral. We watch people dance to the music that was playing and the children fool around. Then we headed back to the palace. The chiefs so kindly and respectfully welcomed us into the community of Senchi Ferry. We followed the customs of the ceremony by telling: who were are and where we were from. Janine from Winnipeg, Canada and Rick from Colorado, USA. During the service, we conversed with some of the local teachers from the schools. We learnt more of the area and regular practices. A few pictures were taken at the end of the ceremony and we then headed back to the guesthouse.

Dinner was served shortly after and then we called it a day. Well Janine did. Rick was up all night again!

October team arrives in Ghana!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Quote of the day:

“How does one become a butterfly?” she asked pensively. “You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.” –Trina Paulus

Journal by: Janine

We began our experience in Ghana by meeting one another at the airport. I had arrived a day early so I met the team consisting of Amo and Sonia first. As we waited for the next teammate I chatted about her experience with Global Volunteers with a past traveler, Sonia, who was leaving that evening. A little while later Rick had come through the gates. He had a box, which was full of toy cars for the kids, and his bag that had ripped while traveling. We introduced ourselves and piled into the taxi. Both Rick and I have never traveled to Ghana so this was a brand new experience for the two of us and very eager to get started on our journey. A short ride later, the airport view hotel was in front of us. We retired to our rooms. Rick went for a walk and Janine emailed her family. We later met for dinner. Rick and I learnt more about the program. After dinner it was time for Sonia to catch her plane. So we said our goodbyes.

Later that evening Rick, Amo and I sat at the pool and chatted for a short while. Before bed we agreed breakfast for 8 am. We, then, headed off to bed. Rick could not sleep and was up all night.