Davey West and Liz Hopkins
(Post for Tuesday 6/21)
Today was an extremely busy day for the group. We began by going to Tuwohofo-Holly International School for the first time this trip. We were greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Baidoo and a chorus comprised of students welcoming us to their school. Celeste had the honor to receive a ceremonial bouquet from a young girl in tribal dress. This was truly a beautiful moment in the ceremony which carried both weight and significance to the people gathered around. The experience was emotional to say the least. Those returning felt an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude to have the opportunity to return to the place where a part of all of our hearts belong. Tears were not few as Dr. Clerico cut the ribbon to dedicate a new block of the school that was funded by his own daughter Dana. A plaque commemorating the event was unveiled which read, "To the glory of God this block is dedicated to Ms. Dana Clerico and the students of Alexander Graham Middle School." How appropriate for the Clerico name to adorn a wall of the school where our group leader has made such an overwhelming impact over the years.
Arriving at the school put me in the middle of what felt like a frenzy of joy and excitement. I arrived as an onlooker, but through the course of the day have already began to create the ties which so many before me are here renewing. This day is significant because it signals the start of the real work for our trip, but it is much more significant because it is the beginning of our true impact to Ghanaian children. I was scared among the masses of faces that seemed to know everyone but me, but friends are made fast when you are a visiting O'brunyi. Liz and I found ourselves sitting on a small wooden bench in an 8th grade classroom for several hours. I'm sure we had the least excitement since all the other groups were working with younger children bursting with energy and songs, but we found great joy in the realization that the subjects we will one day teach (Liz much sooner than I) are being taught so well in a developing country across the world.
We took a tro tro tour of Cape Coat after the long hot moring spent in the classrooms and schoolyard of Tuwohofo-Holly. At home going to the beach is a special vacation or a sunny weekend in Charleston at least, but here the beach sneaks up on you in the middle of a humid ride through the lives and work of Ghanaians. The beaches are littered with fishing boats and the occasional herd of cattle; a reminder that these beaches do not stand for fun in the sun but to many here they represent their livelihood. We ended our tour with a little shopping at Cape Coast castle. Many vendors beckoned us into their shops with a smidgen less zest than those at the Cultural Arts Center, but the TLG team was glad to have stopped to change more dollars to cedis prior to the visit.
We began another leg of our Ghana pentathalon this afternoon at Fante language lessons with Mr. Thomas Baidoo. In a matter of hours we shifted from teachers to students as Mr. Baidoo drilled us on pronunciation of introductory Fante terms and phrases. This is truly a Teaching and Learning in Ghana trip, although our learning seems to far outweigh our teaching thus far. The scales will balance tomorrow as we begin to take over our respective classrooms from kindergarten through grade 8 to teach alongside our Ghanaian educators.