Friday, July 10, 2009
Volunteering - I love my new kids!
One of the school kids. She is so cute!!!
On Wednesday, I finally started volunteering. There was a slight hiccup in my plans as the school the owners of the guesthouse had assured me would like my services proved to be disinterested. From what I can gather, a contact of the guesthouse owner’s son assured him that I could work at the school; they then told me that everything was confirmed as though they had set it up with the school headmaster themselves and then it all fell through. So on Tuesday, Earl, the guesthouse owner’s son who is running the place while she is abroad, went to find me some volunteer work for me. They found a school that was happy to procure my services and on Wednesday it all began.
The school is lovely and I think caters to the middle classes though I think on viewing my pictures, many might be surprised at the facilities at the school. There is a roof and walls but then just open space instead of windows and concrete floors and ramshackle desks. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that the students are amazing: very welcoming, extremely well behaved and interested in learning. It's quite funny that they call be obruni or white person. To the Ghanaians, all foreigners are white, even little old me that's never been considered white in my lifetime thus far.
Corporal punishment is still the norm over here but despite the threat of canings, the students are very happy and precocious. The threat of canings also keeps them very well behaved. Another amazing factor is that all these kids speak Twi at home; however, for school purposes, they speak English and study in English and on school premises are not allowed to speak their native language. They study French as well and they do have classes in Twi though they’re only allowed to speak that language during the allotted class time. Can you imagine American or British kids having to live bilingually?
The school currently caters to kids from nursery school to upper primary (ages 1.5 to 14). According to Earl, schools are good businesses in Ghana. This school is quite good in providing breakfast and lunch for the students which is important as they can’t monitor what the kids would eat at home or if they might have breakfast at all. However, the kids do have to pay for it; daily, weekly or monthly. I’d think it should just be part of the school fees. I haven’t sussed it out yet but I worry that maybe some kids couldn’t afford lunch one day and so would just have to do without. It’s difficult to tell though as the teachers eat apart from the kids.
So far I’ve had very Ghanaian foods for lunch. Day before yesterday was jolof rice and a boiled egg. That was a bit weird. The jolof rice is normal rice, made spicy and red somehow. Then there’s a boiled egg plopped in for protein I guess. I think, meat or fish is too expensive so instead of just having plain rice, you have an egg with it. Yesterday, I had kenke which is maize mashed up and placed in a corn husk. You then eat it with your hands, dipping it in a pepper sauce. And you have a little smoked fish to go with it. Again very tasty though I need to work on eating with my hands a bit better. Today I had kenke which is fried plantains with beans.Very yummy and probably m favorite Ghanaian food so far.
After lunch, the students had cultural activity and they were performing some dances. A bunch of the boys drummed while some other boys and girls danced. It was quite fun and the drums were thrumming.
[I have tons of pictures of everything (the Ghanaians seem to love posing for pictures but sadly the internet connection is so slow that it's difficult to upload any of the pictures. It's currently taking me about 1 hour to upload 4 pictures. I'll need to go home and choose top three pictures for posting and add them to the blog at a later date.)
In other news, I’ve finished writing up the pattern for my cowl and have knitted a second prototype which I love. I asked one of the students to model it for me. Isn't she gorgeous? The pattern will go out to be test knit and hopefully soon I will have published my first knitting pattern; yet another of my ‘to do before I’m 30’ activities checked off.
Knitted in Malabrigo Merino Worsted - Sapphire Green.
I also got another student to model the first prototype of this cowl. It looks absolutely beautiful against her skin color.