Monday, June 27, 2011

The race is on!

Marcy Gasperson & Chastity White

Today began our last Monday teaching at Tuwohofo-Holly International School. Each morning as we walk into our designated classrooms we are greeted with a pleasant, “Good Morning, Madam” or “Good Morning, Sir.” The lessons today ranged from creating a favorite color bar graph to creating a number line and marking the given number to learning about baseball. Often you will hear the classrooms singing songs like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Head-Shoulders-Knees-and-Toes,” “He’s Got the Whole World in his Hand,” and “The Hokey Pokey.”

Our students are always excited to see us. Break time, or recess as we call it, is a fun time for everyone. You will often find us hanging out or practicing our Fante with students of all ages. Break is a time that gives us a chance to interact with students who are not in our class. We also began interviewing the students we are going to be writing our narratives about. Some of us had an easier time interviewing the older children because these students have had more practice with English. Some of the younger students had trouble expressing what they were trying to say. It was a wonderful experience to speak with the children about their lives at home and school, their aspirations, and learn who they are.

We were sure today it was going to pour rain on us. The looming dark clouds just told us the bottom was going to fall out, but as we drove back to the guest house the sun began to peek its head out. Part of the group went to the For-EX to exchange money. The group also exchanged their Ghanaian "day names" with the cashier. She greeted us and spoke with us in a very friendly way. Maybe these o’brunyis are starting to grow on her.

The group was reunited at lunch on the patio today. Our lunch consisted of Waakye (rice with black beans), sauce for the rice, bread, avocado, pineapple, and Laughing Cow cheese.

Right after lunch we had a writing session with Celeste. We started laying the ground work for our narratives. All you could hear in the common room were the keys of 8 or 9 laptops typing. All of us searched desperately for the words to adequately describe the teachers we have worked with. Everyone worked very diligently getting advice from their partners on what to write.

Next, we were off to Fante lessons with Mr. Thomas Baidoo, elder brother of school headmaster Ato Baidoo. On the way to our lessons the Grey tro-tro group convinced our driver, Eric, to go through the Cape Coast University campus while the Red tro-tro group went through Pedu village. The red tro-tro had no idea we were trying to get to Akotokyir faster, and the grey group beat them by a long shot. Some people stick to the same tro-tros and others switch it up every now and then. We have even given our drivers music to add to the collection on their jump drives.

Whenever we arrive after school hours there is always a group of students waiting to greet us. We often stop and talk with them and then Dr. Clerico has to call, “Yenko!” (Fante for Let’s Go). As we gather in the library for Fante the students are often standing at the door or peeking through the circles in the wall. Mr. Thomas Baidoo taught us a kid’s song about coming out to play. As we were learning the song, the students outside were singing along with us. After our lessons we traveled back to the guest house for dinner.

A special guest joined us for dinner tonight, Agatha Agyeman-Dua. She spoke to our group about women in rural and urban areas. She also told us about the differences between how women are treated in northern and southern Ghana. She has such a strong, powerful voice to convey her message about the treatment of women all over Ghana.

Until tomorrow...

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